Work is a stressful thing in a marriage.
There are deadlines to meet, money to make, uncomfortable office politics, or even back-breaking labor.
Whatever your spouse is facing at work, you can show love and support when they get home. Not only is this a kind thing to do for your partner, but it is beneficial for your marriage.
The Journal of Marriage and Family highlights that stress will take a cumulative toll on a marriage, building over time until the relationship is on the brink.
Stress can have a more immediate negative effect on marriage by causing partners to:
- Resent one another
- Close off communication
- Pull away emotionally
- Stop being intimate
- Lash out in anger
Don’t let stress be the downfall of your happy marriage. You can support your partner during stressful times and use the unhappy situation to get closer as a couple.
1. Express compassion
When you express compassion for your partner, you’re essentially showing them that you understand and sympathize with what they’re going through, but you also want to do something to help.
Even if it’s beyond your power to fix whatever is stressing your partner out at work, showing empathy will validate their feelings and bring them comfort.
2. Ask questions
We all know that healthy communication is one of the essential characteristics of a healthy marriage.
Getting your partner to talk about how they are feeling is essential to understanding why they feel stressed and how you can help them cope.
However, not everyone is a natural-born communicator.
If your spouse isn’t keen on opening up with you about what they are feeling, you can draw them out by asking open-ended questions like:
- Is there anything going on at work that you would like to talk about?
- How does (XYZ) make you feel?
- Do you think it’s time for a change?
- Is there anything I can do to make your life easier right now?
Asking questions is a great way to draw your partner out and give you a better idea of how they feel and what is causing them stress.
3. Look for little ways to be helpful
One of the biggest ways you can help your spouse cope with work stress is by making their home-life as positive as possible.
A happy home life will bring more positivity in your lives and help your partner to look on the bright side.
When you’re under stress at work, even a minute’s task at home can seem daunting, so why not help your partner with the little things?
- Greet them with a smile when they come home
- Text them sweet things throughout the day to remind them that you care
- Making their morning cup of coffee
- Cleaning up around the house
- Take care of the kids
- Give them a massage
- Plan a fun date night/activity
These simple activities will show your partner they are loved and give them less to worry about when they come home.
4. Focus on intimacy
Sex is a quick way to reduce any stress your partner is bringing home.
Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during physical intimacy, especially after orgasm. This magical hormone naturally reduces stress. Oxytocin is also responsible for boosting emotional intimacy – among a myriad of other great emotional and physical health benefits.
Studies suggest that stress can reduce sexual desires, which might make getting your partner in the mood a little more difficult than you intended.
If your partner isn’t feeling frisky, don’t despair. There are still plenty of ways you can boost stress-reducing oxytocin.
Scientific Reports by NatureResearch shows that the very act of touching your partner can release stress.
Hugging, giving a massage, stroking your partner’s arm, and cuddling can help reduce cortisol levels and make your partner feel at ease.
5. Learn to identify the symptoms of stress
Everybody reacts to stress in their way, so it’s a good idea to get to know if your partner is exhibiting any signs of stress and how your partner is handling the work-related stress.
This can help you take the initiative to reduce your partner’s anxiety and stress before it becomes unmanageable.
6. Encourage your partner to seek therapy
You can only do so much to help your spouse cope with work stress. If you feel that things are getting out of hand, it may be time to have a serious conversation with your partner.
Not only can stress impact your marriage, but it can also affect your partner’s mental and physical health.
If your spouse is suffering from work stress, you can help them cope by suggesting that they talk to a professional about what they’re dealing with.
If they aren’t comfortable talking with a therapist or counselor, suggest using a therapy app or online counseling.
7. Practice self-care
When you have empathy for your spouse, their worries become your worries. This is sweet and all, but excessive empathy can make it difficult to maintain a healthy marriage as you’re both stressed out all the time.
To be a more supportive spouse, it’s important to practice self-care. Hence:
- Take time for yourself
- Have a bath
- Visit with friends
- Exercise regularly
These things may sound selfish when your partner is dealing with so much stress, but you can’t be a loving and supportive partner if you have no energy left.
8. Be patient
Unless it is an extreme case, odds are the stress your partner is dealing with will resolve itself.
In the meantime, it’s important to be patient with your spouse. They are under an immense amount of pressure and may not be acting like themselves for a while.
Be patient and forgiving if your partner seems distracted or unappreciative of all the work you are putting into helping them.
You may not be able to remove stress from your partner’s work life, but you can help prevent stress from ruining your relationship.
Help your spouse cope with work stress by expressing compassion, validating your spouse’s feelings, and looking for ways to help your partner.
Rachael Pace is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.