Although the actual level of stress in your marriage varies depending what you happen to be dealing with, being married is considered a highly stressful experience. Frequent arguing, lack of intimacy, difficulty in solving problems, financial concerns, child raising issues, illness, and living in a tense environment can all increase marital stress. So what can you do to help each other enjoy your relationship more?
Here are some strategies to handle stress as a couple.
1. Plan meals together so that you both eat healthy foods. This is a good way to show each other that you care.
2. Make time in your schedule for exercising together. This could be just taking a brisk walk together around the neighborhood or finding an athletic activity to enjoy with your spouse. Try hiking, golfing (walk the course, not ride!), tennis or swimming!
3. Have fun and laugh more with each other. Laughter reduces stress, decreases lines and wrinkles and makes even brief moments of together time much more memorable!
4. Arrange a date night or some way to spend some time alone together on a regular basis.
5. Support one another. Take the time to listen to each other. The most common complaint in marriages today is that spouses state their partner doesn’t “listen”. Listening is a skill and one that anyone can learn. Try short periods of time, 5 – 10 minutes, when one partner talks and the other actively listens (no electronic equipment allowed). The listening partner maintains eye contact, and really hears what their partner is saying. The biggest rule – don’t interrupt and don’t offer advice or criticize. Just hear what your partner is saying. Then reverse the roles providing equal time and attention. After each spouse has a chance to be heard then go back and ask each other what is needed to support them.
6. Create a good sleeping environment so that you both get enough sleep. Life is busy place and lack of sleep is a critical component of emotional health.
One of the easiest ways to reduce stress in your lives and in your marriage is by making time to breathe together. Really! Take five minutes and follow the instructions below
a) Find a comfortable chair for each of you. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Don’t slouch or cross your legs.
b) Don’t have anything on your laps.
c) Don’t wear tight clothing.
d) Take a few deep breaths to settle yourselves.
e) Breathe deeply through your nose. Let the air out through your mouth. Repeat five to ten times.
f) If you are breathing correctly, your tummy should move out about an inch or so.
g) Also try focusing your attention on each part of your body to relax. Most folks start with their toes.
h) A good way to end the breathing session is to look right into your spouses eyes and say hello, I’m glad you’re here.
©2017 Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation