How Important Is Stress Management for Your Marriage

couple under stressBy now, it has been strongly established that a major culprit for various diseases – mental as well as physical – is stress. Stress can contract your blood vessels, muscles and nerves, and thereby give you various illnesses. But, up to this, you might know everything. The more surprising fact I am going to tell you is, the stress of your spouse can negatively affect your health even more! Got surprised? But it’s true. It is the research done by Youngmee Kim and colleagues that has proven this fact. The team of researchers studied 168 couples; each of them had one spouse diagnosed with prostate cancer or breast cancer before two years. It’s interesting to see the findings of this research.

If One is Stressed, the Other will be Stressed too

As stated earlier, the stress of one partner actually did affect the health of the other partner. For both the partners, the spouse under stress had a noticeable impact on their own wellbeing. Kim says, “Whether the stress is mine or my partner’s, the resulting psychological distress may affect my quality of life”. (Learn how to manage stress from Colleen Hurll, expert in Marriage Counselling at Castle Hill, Sydney).

relieving stress together

Wife’s Stress has a Greater Effect

Kim further explains that they found that the wife’s psychological distress seemed to cause a greater impact, regardless of whether the wife was acting as a caregiver to prostate cancer patient husband or herself a breast cancer sufferer. If the wife has greater amount of psychological distress, the husband will suffer from greater amount of psychosomatic problems. It’s obvious that if the wife’s stress is relieved, that will affect both partners significantly.

wife in stress

Husband’s Stress Manifests Itself in Severe Ways

Another surprising finding of the study was that, while men seemed to suffer more because of their partners’ stress, they tend less to report such an impact. Men were less likely to report an emotional reaction; however, their bodies told something different.

“Men are inclined not to say that stress was correlated to cancer diagnosis and it’s problematic to treat it; but they somatize the stresses, and reported backaches and headaches. Perhaps, men are not habituated to convey those delicate feelings. So, they are inclined to show them through their bodies” explained Kim.

A reason for wife’s stress affecting husband more may be her inability to offer enough emotional support while being stressed. One more reason for this may be wives are inclined to help their partners keep up healthy habits.

couple stress management

Message for Couples

  1. Kim and team’s research gives some important messages to couples.First and foremost, it teaches us that we should manage stress not only for ourselves, but also for our loved ones. Since we touch several people during the day, managing our own stress effectively can offer peace to us as well as people around us.
  2. Secondly, we should learn to identify when our bodies are undergoing stress and implement strategies for managing that stress. If we are able or unable to do this, it may have a remarkable effect on our and our loved ones’ health.
  3. Thirdly, it’s also important to understand the fact that everyone cannot show their emotions in the same and ideal way. So, even though your loved one says that s/he is fine, s/he might be under a significant amount of stress. Having ways to relieve our loved ones’ stress at hand, like depression counselling and supporting them in critical times may be required regardless of whether our loved one has asked for help or not. This is true not only for spouses, but also for our other family members, neighbors as well as friends.

offering support

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