August 22, 2008

Be Ready to Handle Stress


How can we stress-proof our marriage?

J.E., Evansville

Stress seems to be a big part of our culture. Stress actually releases toxins into our systems. Stress can rob your relationship of joy. It is also the sixth leading cause of death.

One way to eliminate stress in marriage is to laugh and keep joy in your relationship. Find ways to have fun together. Take at least one time period a week to just enjoy each other's company.

Make time to get away together to rest and recoup. Too many hours at work can put stress on you and that will stress your relationship.

Take one day at a time. Determine today that you will be the best spouse possible. Keep an open mind and spirit toward each other. Respect your spouse's opinion, even if you do not agree.

Say "no" to outside activities that keep your marriage from being a top priority. Make sure you are not financially overextended. Work as a team to set financial goals. Each of you should have your own "fun money."

Develop friendships with other couples in a healthy marriage. Set boundaries for your own marriage. Do not spend time alone with someone of the opposite sex. Unfaithfulness usually begins when a spouse begins to confide in someone other than a spouse.

Make time for sexual intimacy. Talk about your needs and expectations. Men and women must understand that men need sex to feel intimate and women need intimacy to enjoy sex.

Unrealistic expectations will put stress on your spouse. Communicate honestly and listen carefully. Ask questions and clarify your expectations when misunderstandings arise. Resolve those situations as soon as possible so you can have a fresh start.

Be prepared for conflict and learn how to resolve it. Remember that stress will come from outside your marriage, but only the two of you can manage the stress within.

Ann Gries can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

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