by Jewell R. Powell
Life is busy. Life is stressful. These are facts of life, but how we handle that busyness and stress makes all the difference in our lives and especially in our marriage. A common scenario for busy couples is for the husband and wife to get wrapped up in their individual projects and issues. Instead of managing the stress together, they may find themselves trying to deal with it all alone, which can actually create space between husband and wife, rather than creating unity. Being able to identify when stress may be damaging your marriage is the first step for taking control, so you and your spouse can work together to focus on protecting and strengthening your relationship.
The Bible actually addresses stress and anxiety many times and for good reason. Our human side, our flesh has a tendency to give into stress, so we NEED the reminders and promises from God to help us keep our Godly focus and know where to turn when challenging times come. Can you identify certain issues in your life that create the most stress? Whether they are problems within the marriage itself or external stressors, the same promises from God apply.
Stressors Are To Be Expected
In Isaiah 40: 30,31, we can read,
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This verse shows us that YES stressors will come, you will grow weary, you will fall, but when you place your trust in the Lord, your strength will be renewed and you will soar.
So don’t get down on yourself or your marriage if you and your spouse are experiencing stress. This is normal and to be expected. However, allowing stress to damage your marriage relationship is where you have to draw the line. While we cannot control the stressors we encounter in life, we can control our responses. Choosing the right responses to stress will minimize or even eliminate problems it can create in marriage.
Signs Stress May Be Damaging Your Marriage
None of us is perfect, and the human side of us may allow stress to do some damage. Below are some warning signs to look out for in your marriage relationship:
* Arguing or “snapping” at each other
* Tension that seems to hang around continually.
* Rarely spending time with each other.
* Difficulty communicating without arguing or disagreeing.
* Decreased intimacy, both sexual and otherwise.
* Financial struggles.
* Critical comments or even just critical thoughts about each other.
If one or more of these seem to be a common occurrence in your relationship, it is time to seek some spiritual healing for your marriage as well as the Godly insight to help you learn to cope with stressors together as a couple. The good news is that God is more than capable of helping you through this stressful time. Trust in Him, connect with God and each other through prayer, and you will find your relationship bond is strengthened and you have the firm foundation you need to withstand the storms that life can bring.
5 Ways to Deal with Stress as a Couple
Whether you are newly married or have been married for years, learning how to deal with stress as a couple is a learned skill. Rarely is it something that people just know how to do intuitively. Instead, it is a choice that one must make. However, it is never too late in the marriage to begin making good choices and learning new coping skills.
Unfortunately, too many people rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms that do not strengthen the marriage and in most cases do nothing to alleviate stress and may even cause MORE stress. Alcohol, drugs, sex, affairs, gambling, overeating and shopping are some of the activities that may seem to improve stress levels for a moment, but the repercussions can be devastating.