Stressed out people are usually tired, cranky, and busy. Stressful situations take precious time away from building our relationship and handling issues as they arise. Stress also reduces our sex drive. How can that be good for a marriage?
As with many things, it all depends on how you respond. Does stress push you apart or pull you together?
One couple has three kids, one who has special needs. Taking care of the kids, doing housework, and keeping up with job responsibilities already give each partner more than enough to do. A special needs child, with the extra demands on time and energy, leads these partners to feel chronically overwhelmed. How do they respond? In this case, stress pushes them apart. They blame each other for not doing their fair share. Tasks remain undone because each waits for the other to do them. The relationship is threatened.
Another couple is facing the stress of unemployment. No matter how hard he tries, the educated, experienced husband cannot find a job. With each passing month, he feels more like a failure. The couple has to make tough choices about how to spend the money they have. The husband is discouraged and feels like a failure in his role as breadwinner. Yet both the husband and wife agree that this experience has pulled them together. They turn to each other for emotional support and look for win-win solutions to financial decisions. When they feel overwhelmed and discouraged, they turn to each other for emotional support. When they make financial decisions, they strive to honor each other’s wishes.
Stress is here to stay. Whether it pushes you and your partner apart or pulls you together is up to you.