In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. A 2020 survey, near the beginning of the COVID pandemic estimated the prevalence of symptoms of depression was 28% and symptoms of anxiety 21%.

Stressors being external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction can be handled in 2 basic ways:

  1. Eliminate the stressor or
  2. Change one’s reaction to stress.

When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.

Married Couples and Stress 

Note the item rated as the number one stressor by married couples is Your spouse. This was the number one stressor cited by both men and women.

Married couples who take PREPARE/ENRICH are often being seen in a counselling situation. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing relational conflict to believe their problems would be solved if their partner would only change. Not only do they believe this, they often express it. Experienced counsellors are used to the finger pointing which often accompanies the initial sessions of marital therapy.

Unfortunately, one partner cannot change the other and this approach can leave individuals totally disempowered in the relationship. In fact, the more one individual focuses on the other person’s behaviour, the more resentment, anger, and resistance they typically receive in return.

It is much more productive to help these couples work on things that are in their control including the way they speak to one another, the way they resolve conflict, and the way each individual chooses to react to their daily stressors and interactions with their spouse.

When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help you grow closer as a couple.

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

Tune in next week for practical ways effectively manage conflict… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.relationships online.com.au or www.intentional-relationship.com