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Stress? What stress? Whether you’ve been married for ten minutes or ten years, you’ve experienced some kind of stress along the way, right? Maybe it has been finances, illness, accident, injury, disease, or some other earthly trouble. Marital stress exists in all forms. The question is:
How do we cultivate a thriving marriage in spite of stress?
On Sunday afternoon, the girls and I went to watch the movie, Cinderella, while the guys of the family went to play footgolf and frisbee golf. The movie visually stunned me and in spite of knowing the storyline, I felt myself anticipating the glory of the pivotal moments. In case someone reading plans to go see the movie, I don’t want to disclose too much. But essentially both Cinderella and Prince Charming journeyed through stressful times, before they ever even made it to the marriage altar. Even the fairy tale marriage is not exempt from tension.
Today I wanted to share 5 ways to cultivate your marriage in the midst of stress. Each of these hints have been gained through my own experience. My husband and I have endured the death of a parent, the death of family members, the death of friends, financial struggles, terminal illness of a child, job changes, miscarriage and the list could go on.
1. Keep the communication open in the midst of stressful times.
It’s so easy to get centered on the daily grind when extra stress has entered the picture. The focus to get through another day can cause our voices to disappear. My husband and I are not big morning talkers. We joke at the fact that we can both say nothing for the first hour of the day and be perfectly content. Regardless, remembering to talk to each other is a courtesy you don’t want to lose, especially when life is stressful.
2. Schedule time to be alone together, even if it’s only for a half hour.
When a loved one is in the hospital, someone usually stays with him or her. If your spouse is staying away overnight for a stressful reason, then be sure to schedule time together the next day. Even if you just take a quick lunch break together or take a walk to relieve a little stress, this short time can be rejuvenating.
3. Determine that the stress is going to draw you closer.
My daughter’s sickness has taken a toll on our family more in the last year as she has declined. Although we have in-home healthcare to help with her needs, even this can become stressful. People are always coming and going and sometimes we crave sitting down to a meal without an “outsider.” While our current staff is mostly family or ladies we’ve grown to love, we’ve gone through many stages of trying to find the right balance to caring for Taylor ourselves and having help. In the midst of all the transitions, we’ve determined that the stress will not tear us apart, but draw us closer.
4. Make the most of “small” moments.
Write a note, buy a card, be sure to pick up his favorite coffee at the grocery store…put a letter in his lunchbox, make an easy dessert for a normal weeknight. Embrace life on a daily basis.
5. Plan hallmark events to create purposeful memories.
This tip is not as simple as the ones listed above. It takes a little more time to figure out what event you’d like to highlight or when you can obtain the resources and time needed to create a lasting memory. Whether you have a married getaway or anniversary celebration, take the time to plan an event that will give you the opportunity to laugh and love without dwelling on the stress.
What do you do to cultivate your marriage during stressful times?