Managing Stress Together

There are times in most people’s lives when they find themselves dealing with stressful situations. We are living at a stressful time. Many people right now are dealing with job loss, financial worries, or other uncertainties in their life. Such stressors will test the best of relationships.

Dealing with stress can bring couples together if they get through this period feeling supported by each other, or it can drive them apart it they resort to accusations and blame, instead of working together to come up with solutions.  Here are seven tips for dealing with stress as a couple:

  1. Let each other know that of course you are anxious and worried.  It is an appropriate response to uncertainty.  Own your feelings and try to identify your biggest fears. Remember that fears are about something that you imagine occurring in the future.
  2. Pull yourself back into the present. That is very important since it is the only place where you can begin to look for solutions. Stay away from blame and criticism, because it will only sidetrack you from your task at hand.
  3. Take time to clarify your individual values with each other.  You are two separate people and you may find that some things may matter very much to one, and not so much to the other.  It is important for couples to know how each really feels, so that together they can come up with a plan that both can support.
  4. Remember that you will add additional stress if you work on cross-purposes. If you are each insistent on having the right answer, you need to begin anew.  Your goal has to be to come up with ideas for taking action that both of you can support.
  5. Some of the decisions you may have to make may require some sacrifice. If you can count on the fact that you have a partner who is there with you, it will be easier. It may even end up being an opportunity for strengthening the couple relationship.
  6. Keep a “we will get through this” attitude.
  7. Remember to live with gratitude.  If your heart is grateful, you will find it easier to discover a new path forward together.

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