While marriage can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience, no lifelong commitment is likely to run smoothly at all times.
Life can be full of ups and downs which can sometimes challenge the strength of your marriage.
What are some of the common causes of stress in a marriage?
Finances can very easily become a source of stress and worry within your marriage. In difficult economic circumstances couples can have worries about issues such as employment, mortgages, bills, childrearing, healthcare and child minding. The resulting stress and strain can impact on both individuals and as a result the relationship can be under pressure.
It is important to be able to discuss financial matters with one another in a supportive and constructive manner in order to be able to manage them in the best possible way.
Having children can be one of the most wonderful experiences in life however parenthood can also put a strain on a marriage.
Deciding when to have to children can be difficult for couples. One of you may not feel ready to commit to having children early in your marriage or may want to wait until a later stage for a variety of reasons including career prospects.
The birth and rearing of children can also stress you out at times. Parenthood brings with it a change in lifestyle. In addition to the joys of having a baby, parenthood can involve sleepless nights, concerns about feeding and managing a baby which can all be a shock to the system for couples.
Fertility difficulties can be very stressful for couples wishing to have children. This can be a very difficult predicament for couples to find themselves in.
Some couples have miscarriages which can be very traumatic experiences. Parents can also lose a child which is every parent’s nightmare.
Sometimes children are born with special needs or experience illnesses in the short or longer term and will as a consequence require additional care and attention which has the potential to increase the workload and pressures on parents.
It is important that you are able to be open with and listen to one another, express your feelings and needs about planning a family. It is also vital to make every effort to understand and support one another in difficult times such as infertility, miscarriage, the loss or illness of a child.
3. Work Commitments
Whether you’re very career-focused working full or part-time your job can demand a lot of you. Work can take up time that you would like to spend with your partner and children. Pressures at work can impact on you and you can find yourself irritable or upset by the time you arrive home.
Your job may also require you to spend periods of time away from home or abroad, this can be very difficult for you and your husband/wife. In such cases, both partners can experience a huge sense of loneliness. This can be particularly difficult for parents who have to spend lots of time away from their children.
Keeping in regular contact by phone, email, SKYPE or other means of facilitating long distance contact can help to alleviate that sense of loneliness.
4. Difficult Behaviours
It is likely that you and your partner may go through a difficult period at some stage in your lives together. Whether it's the impact of relationship issues, work related issues, family difficulties or personal trauma, these stressful circumstances can sometimes lead to individuals being difficult to get along with.
Husbands and wives who have been relatively easy to get along with can become withdrawn, depressed, aggressive, defensive, argumentative, or secretive when under pressure and this will inevitably impact on their relationship.
Stress can also result in individuals becoming involved in behaviours that can become destructive over time. Drinking, self medicating, and gambling are some examples of behaviours that can get out of control and make matters even worse.
It is preferable that couples identify and talk about any behaviours that are becoming problematic and support one another to work to resolve them.
Think about the person you were when you were a teenager or young adult, which may be completely different to the person you are today. Imagine how you will be when you’re twenty years older than you are today. Although you may hold the same core values, you will have grown and changed as a person in other ways due to the aging process and your life experiences. This will also be the case for your partner.
Both of you are likely to change in some ways over the course of your marriage. You are both growing into the persons you were born to be, so you can’t expect anyone to remain the same forever.
Be open to the changes in yourself and your partner. Many of them will be positive as generally people mellow and become wiser as they mature with age and experience.
How can stress and pressure be managed?
Communication (talking and listening) is key to healthy relationships and marriages. Open, honest and respectful communication will help you to deal with the trials and tribulations you experience in the course of your lives together. Without a positive pattern of communication, husbands and wives may become unaware of and oblivious to their partner’s thoughts, needs and feelings. Lack of communication can result in couples lacking understanding of each other, being inconsiderate towards one another and becoming distant from one another.
Ensure you make time to talk with your partner every day. The more you listen and talk to one another, the closer you can become. The closer you are, the easier it is to discuss, share and work to solve problems that arise.
Pay attention to one another. Notice things about one another. Has your husband /wife been quiet, withdrawn, preoccupied or less talkative lately? Do they seem stressed or under pressure? Are they spending a lot of time at work, or are they feeling emotional a lot of the time?
Although the above may not be reasons for major concern, they can sometimes be signs of worries that a person is experiencing and finding it difficult to share.
If you think that your husband or wife is stressed or worried, make time talk to them and reassure them that you are there to listen and support them. This will help them to appreciate that you are willing to help in any way you can.
Spending Time Together
Spending time together is an essential ingredient for maintaining and nurturing your marriage. It can help you to appreciate one another, enjoy one another’s company, have fun, deepen your understanding of one another, communicate more, connect with one another and relieve stress. The amount of time you give to someone is an indication of the value you have on them.
By spending as much time as you can together, you can remain connected emotionally, physically, cognitively and spiritually and this connection can deepen as time goes on.