Early Marriage Stressors

From USAToday:

Good advice?

Don’t let stress sabotage your relationship, says Thomas Bradbury, co-founder of the UCLA Relationship Institute. His advice:

1. Get stress on your radar. Learn to recognize when your partner is feeling stressed, and cut him or her some slack.

2. Step up. When your partner is tired and stressed, that’s your signal to step up and do more around the house, Bradbury says. “But if you crow about helping, you are making your partner feel worse, not better.”

3. Build a firewall. Partners in healthy relationships “know how to prevent ordinary frustrations from spilling over to erode the good feelings that they have for one another,” Bradbury says. “So build a firewall around all of the great things you and your partner share, and protect them against minor annoyances.”

4. Strengthen the foundation. Good relationships are fundamentally about two people taking care of each other. Figure out what your partner needs to feel secure and happy and do your best to give it to them, and on their terms, not yours.

5. Get active. If stress is eating away at your relationship, get on your feet and invite your partner to a walk, a class or a movie.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • David Himes

    sound advice … not only good for a marriage, but good for your general health as well. My wife and I mentor marriages regularly, and we are constantly reminded of how many marriages suffer from, in the words of Cool Hand Luke, “a failure to communicate.”

  • Jeff Martin

    Good except number 4 is not worded good enough. Sometimes what makes a person feel secure and happy is not good for them (like a 1/2 gallon of ice cream)

  • Kyle

    There is no mention here of how a partner can, with great discretion, facilitate a deeper awareness of the sources of stress and structures of thought and behavior that perpetuate this stress. I decreasingly suffer from clinical levels of anxiety, and an important reality on my road to recovery has been a recognition that most (but certainly not all )stress is generated by misinterpretations of evidence regarding the “problem”. For far too long I had defined love as merely the other accommodating me through superficially pleasurable and attention-diverting activities, and so I turned my partner into an enabler who came to believe that stress is mostly the result of some unfortunate external thing. To me the trip to the cross perfectly encapsulates this concept of proper internal orientation defusing the external dilemma, through redefinition. Being stressed-out can be a denial of the ultimate powerlessness of the stressor, and I have come to believe that a partner who keeps me sober here is a partner who will directly reap the fruit of my more accurate perspective.

  • DanO

    FWIW, having a sense of humor can help. But not at your partner’s expense. I think it’s important to have fun (if possible). Even when broke and unemployed .

    Kyle, good point about internal orientation. Heb. 12:1-3 who we focus on helps us gain better perspective.


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