With demanding work schedules, kids and household duties, managing stress can be a challenge. “Stress can make both of you less tolerant and more impatient, making it harder for you to support each other and problem-solve,” says Catherine Cohan, PhD, research psychologist at Penn State University. She shares four things you can do to stop stress from straining your marriage in the September issue of Woman’s Day.
Empathize: You may feel so stressed out that the last thing you want to do is hear his problems, but acknowledging your partners feelings at the get-go of a conversation enables you to have a discussion without fighting. It can be as simple as saying something like, “I hear what you’re saying and can see how stressful that is.” Helping him feel understood decreases the chance that the conversation will turn into an argument, and lets him know you’re on his side, say Dr. Campis.
Show him that you’re really listening:
Put away the smartphone and TV remote. Focus on him, repeating back what he has said and allowing him to clarify things if necessary. Doing this validates his feelings and helps you feel closer.
Use collaborative language:
Use we instead of I or you, suggests Dr. Gore-Felton. Instead of saying, “You never help out and I’m sick of it,” try: “Let’s come up with ways we can help each other get things done.”;
Keep in Touch:
It’s easy to zip through your day with little contact, and if you’re stressed out, the last thing you might want to do is hold hands or give him a hug. But “reconnecting in a basic way with skin-to-skin touch helps you bond and can relieve stress,” says Dr. Gore-Felton. So even if you’re irritable, push yourself to reach out with a gentle touch on the arm when you’re both going about your daily tasks. Or, if you’re not nearby, send a quick text message to let him know you’re thinking of him.
*Disclosure – This information and photo was obtained through Women’s Day and Hearst Magazines. For more information please visit Women’s Day Magazine.