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Turning a Stressful Marriage into a Stressless One

Posted on: July 29th, 2017 by Dr. Angela Bisignano

Turning a stressful marriage into a stressless one can benefit both you and your spouse. Reducing stress has an impact on health, longevity, and mental wellbeing according to research. Many marriages today are experiencing stress often leaving both spouses feeling overwhelmed. Learning a few tips for your marriage toolbox can make a difference for enriching your relationship.

3 Tips for Turning a Stressful Marriage into a Stressless Marriage

Understand How You Were Modeled Love and Comfort

Learning how you were modeled love and comfort can help improve your marriage. Our families of origin provide the blue print for how we interact and engage in our relationships. Understanding how you were modeled and demonstrated love matters. It may provide the keys to how you are relating to your spouse today. Oftentimes couples are unaware that their families of origin and early relationship experiences are directly impacting the way they interact with people today.

Here are some key questions to consider:

  • How did your parents and family members communicate their love?
  • Did your parents use the words, “I love you” on a regular basis?
  • How did your parents demonstrate their affection towards you?
  • Were they present?
  • Did you feel a sense of value and that you were understood?
  • Did your parents provide a safe place where you felt comfort when upset or afraid?

Looking at how you were modeled love and comfort is a great eye opener when it comes to understanding your own relationship style and dynamics. A good possibility exists that you and your spouse were modeled love and comfort in different ways. Perhaps one or both of you have never felt you had a safe place to experience comfort when distressed. The following tip can help you create a safe-haven in your marriage for comfort.

Provide a Safe Space for a StressLess Conversation

Providing a safe-haven for your spouse to feel comfort when they are overburdened or stressed is essential. If you are not sure how to do this try introducing a time for a stressless conversation. This is a time where you can let your spouse talk about things that are stressful or bothersome. Try using the acronym less as a reminder of what to focus on in the conversation:

  • Listening
  • Empathizing
  • Supporting
  • Standing with your spouse

Having this type of conversation on a regular basis, can help your spouse to feel comfort. Providing your spouse with a healthy way to reduce stress in their lives is beneficial. Most of us need a safe place to go with our stress. Are you providing one for your spouse? If you’re interested in more information on how to have this type of conversation, see the article entitled, “Helping Your Spouse Manage Stress Matters.”

Create a Culture of Gratitude and Appreciation

Focusing on what your spouse is doing right as opposed to wrong can make all the difference. If you want your spouse to feel valued and appreciated be proactive in pointing out their strengths and what they are doing well. Words of appreciation carry significant weight. They can make or break someone’s day. Try finding one thing to appreciate about your spouse every day and be sure to communicate this to them.

Demonstrating a spirit of gratitude is another great way to create a healthy home environment. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have focus on all the blessings you and your spouse do have. Beginning your day with a prayer and meditation can help establish the emotional tone your day will take on. The following verse is from the Bible and is a great way to begin your day; “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, English Standard Version).

Changing your mindset and thought processes can help change the neuropathways in your brain. If you continue to think about more positive things and people that you are grateful for you will begin to rewire your brain for better mental health and wellbeing.

Note: The stressless conversation is adapted from John Gottman’s stress reducing conversation.

Dr. Angela Bisignano is a licensed clinical psychologist in the South Bay of Los Angeles. Dr. Bisignano serves the communities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Redondo Beach, Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. Dr. Bisignano’s therapy practice is located in Palos Verdes Estates. Dr. Bisignano specializes in marriage therapy, couples therapy, relationship issues, and the treatment of anxiety and depression. Please contact Dr. Bisignano for more information.

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