Causes of Stress in Marriage

Stress is a part of life.  There is simply no getting around it completely.  However, the more you learn about the causes, effects, and symptoms of stress the better you will understand how it impacts your life and your marriage.  Armed with this information, you can then take steps to manage stress more effectively, thereby strengthening and protecting the relationship between you and your spouse. [See related article.]

Causes of Stress
The first thing you need to know about stress is where it comes from. External pressures are a part our human existence. A mistake people often make, however, is supposing that stress is always caused by negative or unfavorable circumstances. This is often true, but it can also originate from otherwise positive situations. The birth of a child, moving into a new home, starting a new job, and preparing for a celebration or vacation are all examples of exciting events in a marriage that can bring some level of tension – and, with it, potential for problems. Stress, then, is simply the “wear and tear” that we experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment.

Effects of Stress
Another erroneous assumption is that stress always results in negative or unpleasant experiences. As we have seen, above, positive stress adds anticipation and enthusiasm to life. In fact, most tend to thrive under a certain amount of stress. Working under a deadline or participating in a competition can be exhilarating and gratifying experiences. As odd as it may seem, frustrations and sorrows can add depth and enrichment to our lives. Indeed, successfully working through difficult times together in marriage can increase bondedness, intimacy, and commitment. Stress doesn’t always pull you away from your spouse. If channeled wisely it can draw you closer together.

Symptoms of Stress
Not everyone experiences the exact same symptoms to the same degree as others. But, the general symptoms are common and well known. Examples of emotional symptoms include irritability, mood swings, and disinterest in interpersonal and/or social activity. Examples of psychological symptoms can include feelings of being overwhelmed, sleep disturbances, memory problems, compulsive or obsessive behaviors, and feelings of anxiety. Physical symptoms may include unexplained weight gain or loss, chronic fatigue, nausea, gastro-intestinal difficulties, and even ulcers. It’s easy to see how the products of many of these symptoms can adversely affect both you and your marriage.

Stress in Marriage
Stressful circumstances come in all shapes and sizes. Common stressors in marriage include: finances, parenting concerns, extended family issues, and conflict in the marital relationship itself. Other stressors are not unique to the marriage but originate from outside sources. But these external stressors still have potential to eventually affect the harmony between husband and wife. Examples include work problems, health concerns, legal issues, loss and grief, and many others. Basically, any significant life adjustment has potential for personal pressure and marital tension.
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