Marriage Killers #1: Marriage Stress


Page Highlights: 5 practical tips for dealing with stress including a free stress test

While the marriage killers in this series are in no special order, most would agree that one of the main causes of marriage problems is stress. And if not dealt with, unfortunately stress and divorce can have a cause and effect relationship.

So how can a couple prevent marital stress from getting out of hand and damaging their relationship? That’s not an easy question to answer since stress comes from many different sources. It’s partly in understanding the origin of the stress that you find the solution.

While this is not a comprehension list, we want to offer below some tips for dealing with stress in relationships from different causes.

One, let go of the idea of a perfect marriage.

Since there are no perfect husbands or perfect wives, there will never be the perfect marriage.

There might never be a more important time to make this point than now. Why?

Expectations for marriage satisfaction have gone up significantly from what they used to be. That’s not all bad. Long marriages are good, but we also want marriages that are happy and satisfying.

But higher expectations for a happy marriage can put added stress on the marriage.

So, you may find a time when you just need to back off and remember that you both are imperfect human beings, and that everyday is not going to be stellar.

She isn’t going to look as cute as Princess Kate everyday,

and he isn’t going to have the listening skills of Dr. Phil.

Two, take your pulse – that is, you stress pulse.

Knowing your own level of stress can help you evaluate what you need to do to reduce your own stress levels. Not only will you improve your physical health, but you prevent your stress from bleeding over into your marriage.

There are free stress tests where you can see within a few minutes your stress “score” and get some insight into any changes you need to make.



Three, beware of the arsenic hour.

I owe this concept to something I read by marriage therapist Paul Faulkner years ago. The idea is that there is a time in the day when it’s very easy for a couple to get into an argument. That’s most often at the end of the day after both have worked all day and are exhausted to the bone.

The fatigue and stresses of the day have both at their low point physically and emotionally. In such a physiological state, it’s too easy to say something that they wish they hadn’t said.

It may only be a small negative comment, but it’s enough to trigger the other tired partner to react with a negative statement of their own. The whole thing can spiral downward quickly and before you know it, there’s a big heated argument.

This is one reason the online premarital course has couples talk about “stupid arguments” they have had. Often these arguments happen when couples talk about things at a stupid time.

It’s about knowing what “state” you are in, and being very careful what you say and how you say it. Make a concerted effort when you first see each other at the end of the day to say something nice.

Four, separate life stresses from choices that you make in life.

This is back to the idea of understanding what the causes of stress are in your life. Some stress just happens and there is little we can do about. A job loss may just happen. That creates stress and can impact a relationship.

But keeping things in perspective, and trying to look out further down the road can help. You recognize the event for what it is, something you don’t control, and pull together to deal with it rather than let it tear you apart.

Other stress is self-induced – maybe by one or the other spouse, or both at the same time.

Financial stress in marriage is a biggie. If it is caused by unwise financial choices by the couple, then this is a time when the couple has to make some decisions about their spending.

Said bluntly, a couple must make a choice – their marriage or keep spending money they don’t have.

Marriage and money problems is a big topic to itself, and a couple may find that financial counseling is needed.

Finally, keep having fun.

Probably one of the big things that brought you together in the first place is that you had fun when you were together. You couldn’t wait until you were together again having fun.

With the demands of jobs and life in general, you have to make a greater effort to have fun. While that may sound strange, it’s true.

Find a time to sit down and remember the things you did together before your marriage that was so much fun.

Make a list of those things, or other things you’d like to do together to bring back, or maybe bring more fun to your relationship.

A stressful marriage is no fun, and worse it can destabilize and even destroy the marriage. Take a good hard look at stress in your life and/or marriage, and take the steps needed now to get stress under control.

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1 comment to Marriage Killers #1: Marriage Stress

  • Dawn and Mike

    We can both relate to the concept of stress induced arguments. We know it is easy to lash out at each other after stressful days at work. This section and the helpful tools that are provided will greatly reduce any misunderstandings that could occur.

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