I was watching a program on television where a dog’s leg got caught in a trap set for a wolf. The dog’s owner was camping and noticed footprints that he assumed to be that of a wolf so he set a trap for the wolf and the dog got caught in it. The interesting thing is that while the owner attempted to release his own dog from the trap, the dog kept making noises showing that it was in excruciating pain but at the same time kept biting at the owner. It is hard to help an animal that is wounded and trapped.
There comes a time in every marriage relationship where one spouse may be feeling trapped in emotional stress, whether from work, kids, or just about anything from the stress from everyday life. Often times it has nothing to do with you but you just cannot sit around and not do something to help. After all, it is your partner for life. It hurts to see your spouse hurt. Just like the owner of the dog, you feel the need to help remove that trap of stress so you can have a great moment, day or night. If not careful you start thinking more about how it affects you and not your spouse. I have experienced this very thing and had to learn how not to aggravate the pain but to help Michelle through the pain. Is your spouse showing signs of stress? You can help without causing more stress. Here are four effective ways.
Choose Your Words Wisely
It is of utmost importance to not down a stressed out person for being stressed out, especially not your spouse. Never let your spouse think you are bothered by them being stressed out, even if you are bothered by them being stressed out all the time. Remember, it is not about you. Expressing displeasure only makes it worse. Ask “how can I be of help” rather than “what’s wrong now, you are always stressed.”
Be A Great Listener
Sometimes your spouse just wants to vent and not asking for a fix for the cause of the stress. Allow your spouse to get it out, even if it is about you. Trying to interrupt the venting tells your spouse you only care for them to shut up. A listening spouse shows the other spouse that there is care and compassion. You will get the opportunity to try to resolve it once the venting ceases, not while the venting is going on.
When the opportunity comes, and it will, ask if you can pray with your spouse. Even a none believing spouse welcomes prayer when going through a hard time. Offering to pray with your stressed out spouse spells care that you may not be able to give but God can give. Praying with your spouse in hard times creates an atmosphere of peace and love. It actually helps your stressed out spouse to be in a place of calm as they listen to you praying or even engage in praying with you.
Sex in marriage is one of the greatest ways to relieve stress. God created sex to be enjoyed within the marriage bed. He did not create sex just to have sex, he created sex for enjoyment. If your stressed out spouse is interested at that moment then use that moment to enjoy sexual pleasure as husband and wife and help your spouse forget about the cares as you enjoy each other and become one flesh. As a word of caution though, never force it if your spouse does not want to at that moment. You will only create more stress.
Every marriage can be better when both husband and wife understand the fullness of what marriage really is. It is you and your spouse coming together with an intentional force to commit to the vows you both made when you said “I DO!” Great marriages are the ones with husbands and wives who mean “FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, TILL DEATH WE DO PART!” Michelle and I continue to pray for every married couple that you will enjoy marriage God’s way, the only way marriage can be enjoyed to the fullest.
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