Love You More

Love You More: Stress & Marriage

From Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg

The Effects of Stress

There are many studies that show a link between stress and how marriages are doing. It is clear that stress leads to difficulties in marriage and that difficulties in marriage can be major stressors that can lead to depression. When stressed out, most people give others less benefit of the doubt and are quicker to react to frustrations with their partners. That negativity, in turn, diminishes the happiness of closeness that two people have together.

All kinds of stress can fit this pattern. One that has been studied particularly well is economic strain. When couples are under financial pressure, the partners become more negative with each other, damaging the marriage.

Just when you need to be most supportive of each other, stress can lead you to turn against each other. Work hard during those times to be teammates against the stress rather than opponents against each other.

 

As newlyweds, my hubby and I have encountered a fair amount of stress: merging our families, merging our closets (!), learning new jobs, learning how to cook something other than omelettes, keeping a busy schedule and a clean apartment… Add to that my decision to continue pursuing my MFA in creative writing in the evenings, Dave Ramsey’s financial principles, and trying to make time for date night each week no matter what, and we’ve got a recipe for a stressful disaster.

The blessing of our marriage is that we’re both naturally optimistic people who see the silver lining in tough situations and we make time for each other above everything else. But sometimes that’s not enough when we’ve had a rough day or too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Sometimes it’s easy to nitpick, it’s easy to avoid doing the right thing because it’s tough, it’s easy to just tune out.

When we took our premarital counseling class last fall, we learned so much from those who walked the same path of marriage before us. Everyone from other newlyweds to those who had been married for decades shared the same core belief: fight for your marriage, not with each other. While stress hands both people a sword to spar with, clear communication and treating your husband or wife with love and respect no matter what allows you to put that sword down and re-center on what’s most important.

It’s such an invaluable concept and one that is crucial for a strong marriage, and one that we work on all the time. Thankfully, practice makes perfect, and this is no different: you can’t walk away from fights, pick each other apart, or put in your headphones and just Netflix instead, no matter how easy it is to do.

You have to fight for your marriage, not with each other.

 

You need to be able to manage stress because hard times will come, and a positive outlook is what gets you through. {Marie Osmond}

 

What stresses you out? How do you get through it together?

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