This year has been hard on all of us – financially, emotionally, and physically. Being forced indoors much of the time due to social distancing and lockdowns can put a real strain on close relationships. In addition, stress in your daily life can leave you feeling irritated and short-tempered – which can be unfortunate when paired with a marriage that is already feeling strained.
If you feel like you’re on the brink of divorce, but you want to give it a shot, read on. We hope this blog will give you ideas and resources for how to handle marital stress during these undeniably turbulent times.
What Causes Stress in Relationships?
Let’s start by looking for the root cause. The most common leading sources of stress in a long-term relationship are:
- Finances: Finances are, understandably, a massive stressor. When times are tight, two people who have different opinions about things like personal spending and employment, or who both are struggling under heavy financial burdens, can have difficulty finding a middle ground or agreeing peaceably. That’s why finances are often cited as the number one leading cause of marital strife and divorce.
- Children: Children, especially in the first few years after you welcome a new child(ren) into your life, can be a major cause of stress in marriages. Differing parenting styles, sleepless nights, and an imbalance of caregiving schedules can all cause strife and arguments.
- Traumatic Events: Any event that leaves trauma on one or both members of a relationship can have lasting effects on that relationship, even if the event had nothing to do with the relationship. Everyone processes trauma differently, and sometimes trauma can cause distance between two people instead of bringing them together.
These are just a sample of the issues that can cause stress in long-term relationships, and even lead to divorce. But divorce doesn’t have to be the only option. Many of these issues can be worked out with open, honest communication.
Marital Stress Caused by Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, caused a lot of stress. Social distancing measures make a lot of people feel isolated and trapped, and worrying about the health of yourself and your loved ones during a pandemic is stressful and worrying. Even if you weren’t experiencing marital stress before the coronavirus hit, you may be experiencing it now. That’s completely normal. The combination of political and health-related stress, combined with feeling “trapped” in a small area (your home) with another person could cause anyone to snap.
The important thing to remember is that you have options. If the relationship is important to you, there are steps you can take to get back on track, to face your problems with your partner. But if you’re sure you want out of the relationship, there’s a path forward that will help you separate amicably with minimal stress.
How Do You Handle Marital Stress? How Do You Handle Difficult Times in a Relationship?
If you’re experiencing marital stress or going through a rough patch, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
- Open & Honest Communication: It seems simple – and it is – but healthy communication is important in long-term relationships. Schedule a time to have a sit-down chat where you can both freely express yourselves and be honest about things that are bothering you. Make sure there are as few distractions as possible, so you can both focus on each other. Having a third party, such as a marriage counselor, helps greatly with communication, especially if you are prone to fighting or misunderstanding each other.
- Take Some Time to Be Apart: Though it may seem counterproductive, spending time away from each other is very healthy in long-term relationships. Many people may feel “suffocated” if they feel they are spending too much time around another person. In addition, getting space can help you think more clearly – not to mention that it is healthy to take some time to focus on yourself.
- Prioritize: Make your relationship a top priority in your life. Make a point to spend quality time with your partner, to speak with them honestly and remember the good times you have had. Marriage is hard work – if both parties aren’t willing to put in that work to make sure the marriage succeeds, it may be worth considering that you would be better separated.
We at Affordable Mediation sincerely hope that this blog has helped you feel more confident that you can tackle the stress that is eating at your relationship during these trying times. Call 602-714-7447 for a free consultation today.