STRESS – “The degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable.”
As of late, the statistics are showing that people everywhere are stressed out. In fact, with 8 out 10 adults saying that they are under significant stress, it is currently considered a growing mental health crisis in America. Not the best news.
As marriage counselors, if there’s anything we know, it’s when there’s individual stress, there’s also marital stress. But how do you know if stress has creeped in on your marriage?
Let us count the ways—well, 5 of them anyway.
5 Ways to know if your marriage is under stress
- You’re alive and you’re married, right now!
This past year and a half has been a doozy! So much change has been forced on you as a couple. Perhaps you’ve become an unexpected homeschool mom or dad, you’ve had some changes at work, you’re now trying to work from home with toddlers under foot, or you’re just experiencing the extra stress and anxiety just like a large portion of society is. If you’re feeling all of this, it’s a total normal response right now.
You feel depleted or drained. 75% of adults recently said that they had days of sitting around doing absolutely nothing. 74% of them were finding it difficult to concentrate or focus. Fatigue and stress will do that to you. If this is you, that’s a clue you’re under too much stress. When your body and mind are so exhausted even simple things seem difficult, you lack bandwidth and everyday things are harder to handle, which leads us to the next clue…
You and your spouse are fighting more. When stress increases, so does irritability—it actually makes you more hostile even. When stress amps up it becomes harder to listen, show interest or even be empathetic, thus things spinning into fights easier.
You’re using unhealthy coping mechanisms. Under stress, you begin to crave relief no matter what form it comes in. These are the times you reach back out to food, social media scrolling, pornography, alcohol, or perhaps some Amazon shopping. If you or your spouse are doing any of these things, it’s time to address the stress,
You feel physically worse than normal. Stress can be draining and depleting to your immune system. Your cortisol levels rise, weight goes on easier, you get more headaches, want less sex, and have chronic muscle tension.
If you haven’t noticed by now, stress is not your friend, and although some seasons it’s unavoidable, many it’s not.
If you’ve identified yourself or your marriage with any of these stress clues, it’s time to take some action.
It’s time to come together as a team and tackle your stress.
Learn to be in each other’s corners during periods of stress.
If you’d like a great and practical way to do that, check out the Expedition Marriage Stress Rescue.
For further discussion on this topic, head on over to Episode 22 on the Expedition Marriage podcast, Marriage Under Stress and subscribe and listen.
Enjoy the Journey!
Chris & Jamie