When you walk back down the aisle after you’ve said your “I Dos” you’re in wedded bliss! The party is about to begin. I heard that there’s gonna be dessert… You celebrate with your family and friends. And then the long-awaited wedding night. It’s all over before you realize it and then the reality of it all sets in. For most of us, that honeymoon phase lasts quite a while. We love every little thing the other person does. Her feet aren’t really that cold. His snoring isn’t really that loud. A pile of underwear on the floor isn’t that big a deal. If you’re really lucky, you can make it quite a while floating through the times of marital bliss. But one day, it comes for us all. The day that we realize the other person isn’t perfect. We realize that they are so “not perfect” that they are, in fact, actually getting on our last nerve. But you’ve signed up for better or worse. With few exceptions, you’ve promised God that you’re in this for the long haul. So what should you do? Stress is inevitable in any relationship we have. There are healthy (and unhealthy) ways to deal with stress. This is what to do when your marriage stresses you out.
Stress is real
Stress is characterized as “…the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress.”
Living with another person brings its own level of stress and anxiety. When you throw in responsibilities, finances, children, work, in-laws, friends, church, community service, and everything else on top of it, you end up making a hearty stress soup. For most of us, it’s easier to take our stress out on the person closest to us. Got pre-teens or teenagers? They lash out at you because they feel safe with you. They trust that you’ll love them and allow them the space to be their worst. I’m not saying that it’s right by any means, but that’s part of the reason why they behave that way.
We’re the same way. It’s often the person who loves us the most who knows just the right buttons to push to get under our skin. Why our husbands can agitate us to a level that we didn’t know was possible. It’s why we can upend his world when he asks what’s wrong and we respond with the most inciteful word we know… “Nothing.”
We know that it’s real. We know that we’re going to have a response. Something has to be done.
But what?Let's be real. Some days we'd risk it all to get rid of the source of stress. Reacting in a negative manner is the wrong way to go. So what do you do when marriage stresses you out? Click To Tweet
Don’t go to jail
Let’s keep it real. Some days, we’d risk it all just for people and things to stop stressing us out. Stress is nothing to go to jail over. Reacting in anger as a response to stress is nothing new. There was that dude named Cain. See also, Herod.
Responding to stress in anger might feel good in the heat of the moment but it will have lasting negative consequences on your relationship and marriage.
Some of the obvious ways that we respond negatively are:
- Screaming and yelling
- Becoming physically aggressive
- Substance abuse
- Self-harming (including engaging in risky behaviors)
Less obvious negative responses are:
- Being passive-aggressive. We (maybe just me?) can do this by saying that nothing is wrong but then, in turn, have an attitude towards your spouse. The heavy sighing, not speaking to each other, moving away from each other or refusing physical connection; these are all examples of not confronting the stress or letting it simmer. Remember, a pot full of hot water will eventually boil over.
- Talking to other people about your spouse. I’m all for having marriage advocates. You need someone to help you see your partner and marriage the way that God sees them. But when you’re talking to someone about your spouse in a way that’s not constructive or productive, it’s sure to compound already present issues.
- Taking things into your own hands. This is a hard one because it is about the intentions behind it. Marriage is designed to be a partnership. When you’re taking over tasks, is it because you’re helping or because you think the other person is incapable? One response edifies. The other tears down. If you’re continually doing things out of selfish gain or ambition, you’re heading into a cycle of destruction for your relationship.
what to do when marriage stresses you out
As with everything in life, we can only control ourselves and our response to situations. Stress is no different. Our partners are going to get on our everlasting nerve. We are sure to return the favor. Manage yourself by proactively lowering your stress levels. Here’s what to do when marriage stresses you out:
I believe the hardest thing for us to do is admit when we’re struggling and need a break. Society reinforces that we have to give everything all the time. It’s seen as selfishness or failure if we realize that we can’t do it all and desire to change it. When your physical, mental, and emotional being tells you that you’re stressing, listen to yourself. Becoming short-tempered, tired, frustrated, confused, lethargic, apathetic; these are all signs of your body’s stress response.
Talk about it.
Stress magnifies when you hold it in. When you’re feeling like you’re stressed out and feeling like you’re going to blow, let people around you know. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself to re-center. To keep your connections healthy, you will need to be vocal about what you need and why you need it. As much as we want our loved ones to be mindreaders, they’re not blessed with that gift.
If you have trouble voicing your concerns, try this helpful tool. It teaches people how to have the conversations they may be hesitant to have; when people who are important to you, the relationship matters more than the fear.
Take a break.
Be intentional about lowering your stress levels. Read a book that encourages personal growth. Establish boundaries for what you need to be able to function in a healthy manner (for example, designate an hour each day that’s only for you.) Go for a walk. Practice yoga. Dance. Take a nap. The body will continue to increase its stress levels if you don’t allow it to rest. Quarantine escalates our daily stress levels, as we are not able to take the mental and social breaks that we would normally enjoy.
I mean, it works! In addition to the obvious benefits, sexual intercourse releases the chemical compounds dopamine and oxytocin. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you feel happy. Oxytocin is the chemical that makes you feel bonded to another person. Both directly counteract feelings of stress and anxiety. When your marriage stresses you out, this is an exercise that will help to bond you together again.
Go to sleep.
After completing the above activity, it’s often a given. But sleep doesn’t require sex. Allowing both your body and brain to rest and regenerate is important for lowering your stress levels. Most people need anywhere from 6-9 hours of sleep a night. Getting an adequate amount of sleep every night will ensure that your organs are functioning optimally. It will help to keep your emotions level, as you’re physically well-rested.
Whether we want to admit it or not, having a healthy diet does more than ensure we can still fit into our favorite pair of jeans. Eating for good health will alleviate the stress on your body and aid in the process of lowering emotional and mental stress. Ever heard of the phrase “stress eating”? Studies have shown that prolonged stress can cause the body to secrete a hormone that makes it want to eat. In some cases, stress completely suppresses the appetite.
what it takes for a Stress-free Life
Life will never be completely stress-free. But we can completely control how we respond to the stress in our lives. The first step is to acknowledge when and why we are stressing. Then we move forward with a positive way to remove or lessen the stress.
Be sure to pin this:
If you related to this post, you may find these useful as well: