One of the most common problems I’ve seen that appear to affect otherwise successful marriages is the issue of introducing outside stressors and retroactively creating life problems.
Allow me to explain – for many people, a negative emotion can be somewhat overwhelming. Stress at work will bleed into every area of their life, and ultimately they end up having problems with their partner.
The problem is that most of the time, the individual that is experiencing stress doesn’t feel they’re unfairly taking it out on their partner. Instead, they generally find a reason to be upset, such as “you don’t do the dishes enough” or “you don’t appear happy enough” and they claim that is why they were upset. Once they claim it, it becomes what I like to call “retroactively true.” Meaning, once the partner believes that any of those reasons is the reason they’re stressed (even if it wasn’t the initial cause), it can’t be shaken. It becomes a genuine reason they’re stressed, and something their partner needs to fix in order to prevent it from affecting the marriage.
This is unfair to both the stressed person and the partner, because the partner is being blamed for something they didn’t necessarily cause, and the stressed individual now has more stresses in their own life. It’s important to find a way to stay positive – to make sure that you’re able to compartmentalize your stress in a way that ensures that what stresses you will not affect your marriage. Here are several tips to control that outside stress.
Tips to Control Outside Stress in Marriage
- Journal Your Stress Cause – As soon as something is causing you stress, write out what it is in a journal. This will ensure you know what is causing your stress, and that you blame that cause for what is making you stressed. Then, if you feel like other things are stressing you out, you can look back on the cause you wrote in the journal and remind yourself what is really causing you issues.
- Journal the Positives – It’s also important to make sure that you successfully write out the positive things going on in your life as well. The point of this is to make sure that when you realize you’re stressed, you prevent it from overcoming you and your relationships. Writing out all of the positive things that are going on at the moment you’re stressed focuses your mind on the fact that other things are genuinely good, not just stress related.
- Overdo Your Affection – When you’re the one that’s stressed, it’s not uncommon to become silent and expert your partner to make you feel better. But this can be a bad habit for your relationship. Instead, overdo your own affection. This will get you used to the idea of making your relationship stronger even when you’re stressed.
- Exercise – Often you’ll feel like you need some alone time. Alone time in general can be damaging to relationships. But exercise can be helpful for stress, and also provides you with a bit of alone time. When you’re feeling stressed, go for a jog as quickly as you can.
- Set Reminders – Take advantage of technology. Set up reminders on your phone that, every hour or so, let you know that you’ll get over your stress. It may seem corny or unusual at first, but remember that when it comes to dealing with outside stress, the more important thing you can do is control how it affects your relationship. Only then can you reduce the stress itself.
There are plenty of specific stress reduction strategies that can reduce your stress in general, but first you need to control the way you let stress leak into your marriage. Do that, and the stress itself will become less impactful.