Managing Stress Effectively within the Couple Relationship | Communication | Blog | Better Marriages | Educating Couples - Building Relationships

Managing Stress Effectively within the Couple Relationship

by Priscilla and Greg Hunt, PhD

Want to understand how to manage stress more effectively? Check out the self-paced, on-demand, online course: https://courses.closecompanions.org/p/managing-stress-together-online-course/

Stress – it’s a concept with which we are all familiar. As individuals living in 2012 we each have our own personal experiences of stress. Deadlines, pressure, anxiety – we all know what it’s like. With technology, stress is never far away – it’s as close as our tablet or smart phone. It’s our constant companion.
The stress we experience as individuals carries over into our couple relationship. We can become irritable, fidgety, preoccupied. When asked what’s wrong, we often can’t even identify what it is that’s going on inside of us. But, know that those closest to us can tell that something’s not right.
When we develop strategies for managing stress effectively, it has a positive impact on our partner and on our relationship. It also does us a lot of good!
We don’t have to look very far to identify sources of stress. They’re as close as our daily newspaper, the evening news and l-i-f-e.
Sources of Stress
There are external sources of stress – things that are happening around us. Things we can see, touch, hear, smell:

  1. State of the world
  2. Unpredictable/uncontrollable events
  3. Environment
  4. Work
  5. Family

There are also internal sources of stress – things that are happening inside us. Things we think, feel, believe:

  1. Negative attitudes and feelings
  2. Unrealistic expectations
  3. Perfectionism
  4. Unresolved anger/grief
  5. Personal habits and behaviors

Managing Our Stress
The first step to managing our stress is to identify the current sources of stress. Developing self-awareness is indispensable. The second step is to identify life-affirming activities that replenish, re-energize and restore us. The third step is to engage in at least one of these life-affirming activities every day. Is it reading a book? Going for a walk? Taking a nap? Whatever it is for you, make time for it, make it a priority and act on it. Enter it in your Outlook calendar if that helps justify the time.
We each need to build self awareness in order to understand what our unique sources of stress are. When we understand them, we’re in a better position to manage our stress, share it with our partner in a healthy way, and take care of ourselves.

  1. What are the current stressors in my life right now?
  2. How am I managing this stress on a day-to-day basis?
  3. What do I need from my partner to help me better manage my stress?
  4. What do I need to do – what are the life-affirming activities I need to build in to my day – to effectively manage my stress?

Stress is no stranger. We all experience it. When we develop self-awareness, share our stress in a healthy way with our partner and build life-affirming activities into our day, we have a better chance of effectively managing our stress. When we manage our stress effectively, we will reap positive benefits within our relationship – our partner will thank us!