I violated my own advice and wisdom I’ve supposedly learned from past bad experiences. I opened up the subject at the exact moment we were lying down in bed. A good night’s sleep was just about to slip through my fingers and, worse, I was about to ensure Jennifer didn’t sleep that night as well. For some stupid reason, I opened up the subject of Jennifer’s stress level right at bedtime.
The argument that ensued and the awkwardness in our relationship over the next few days caused me to consider the reasons for my wife’s stress level. Over our twenty-three year marriage, we’ve dealt with high stress on several occasions. My self-reflective nature kicked into high gear as I considered the reasons for Jennifer’s stress.
I’ve identified six areas of our relationship that I’ve contributed to Jennifer’s high-stress level. I’m certain there are more areas, but let’s just start with these six. I share these from experience, not hypothetical conjecture.
I’m going to speak in a very direct manner in this article for the sake of clarity for my male readers. Guys, I’m not trying to be rude or judgmental. I’m just trying to be clear, because “to be unclear is to be unkind.” -@DaveRamsey
Your wife is so stressed because…
You don’t talk
Guys, imagine if you went to work every day, but your boss never spoke to you. You wouldn’t know what he wanted or needed you to do. Furthermore, you wouldn’t know how well he felt you were doing in your current work activities. It seems reasonable the uncertainty would cause a little stress. Right?
This same lack of communication creates stress in a marriage relationship. Now, I’m not suggesting you are the boss of your wife. Marriage just doesn’t work that way. When you are willing to talk openly, honestly, and often with your wife, uncertainty begins to melt away and the stress level is reduced.
You judge rather than care
Oh boy, this is a big one! This is the mistake I recently made when I decided to talk about stress at bedtime. Rather than really caring about my wife and reasons she was stressed, my attitude was focused on making sure she was aware of the symptoms of her stress.
Facts about the impacts of your wife’s stress never convey a message of caring. They only convey a message of judgment. Judgment heaped atop an already high-stress level will either send the stress level into orbit or break her spirit needed to persevere through the stress.
You don’t help
Wait, did I say the last item was a big one? Well, this one is bigger. In fact, it’s so big I’ll break it down into a few categories in which you don’t help. Regardless of how much you feel you help, it isn’t enough to hold her stress level at bay. We are called to sacrifice for our wife, here are areas you can sacrifice for her daily.
We seldom appreciate the work, planning, and consideration involved in feeding a family. Pick a day of each week, one week a month, or some other cadence and take responsibility for feeding the family. Give her a break from this never-ending responsibility.
When I mention sacrifice in marriage to men, I often get the response “I’d take a bullet for my wife.” To which I always ask, “when’s the last time you took a kid?” Hopefully, very few of us are given the opportunity to take a bullet for our wife, but we can all take a kid.
The house is her domain. She deserves help in managing her domain. Being this is her domain, she has rights to specify when and how it is managed. Grab a broom, vacuum, or dusting clothe and use it the way she wants you to use it, not as if it doesn’t fit in your hand.
Kids are stressful enough when they are being double-teamed by both parents. Important parenting tasks like discipline, teaching life lessons, and protecting the children should never be relegated to one parent. Get in there, engage with your children, and help her parent them well.
You don’t give her time
We go play golf or hunting or fishing. What does she do for personal time? If the answer to that question doesn’t immediately come to mind or it’s a list of activities she does every day, you don’t give her personal time. Take the kids, make arrangements for all her responsibilities to get done, and give her time on a regular basis to escape for some much needed personal time.
Your priorities are out of order
When she isn’t your first earthly priority, uncertainty creeps into the mind. When work, hobbies, or friends seem to take precedence over the family, her security dwindles. Security is a mega need for women. Her stress level rises exponentially with the decrease in security.
You’re all talk
I know this one seems to contradict the first reason. This one has more to do with the lack of action or change than it does with how many words we use. In fact, the fewer words we use the better. If you really want to reduce her stress level, take action and change your behavior related to the previous items. In this case only, you don’t have to talk about it. Just do it.
Ladies, what do you think? Do you agree with these reasons for your stress? Did I miss any? Share this with your husband. I’m sure he’ll consider me his best friend after reading it. Let me know in the comments below.
Guys, are we clear? Can you see your contribution to her stress level? Let me know in the comments below.
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