Stress. Every marriage experiences it. And you can be sure that the devil will do all he can to leverage the stress you and your spouse experience to his advantage.
Like you, we’ve experienced most types of stress. We’ve also walked with couples undergoing stress in their marriage. One tactic of the Enemy is to make you think you’re the only ones going through your situation. Don’t let him silence or isolate you from others because you’re embarrassed about your situation. We’ll present some antidotes to stress next week, but here are seven of the most common types of stress couples face. See how many you can identify that are pressing on your marriage.
Financial stress presents itself most often when we’re in debt and struggling to make ends meet. Or there simply isn’t enough income to live on. At one point about a decade ago between the two of us we were working six different jobs to make ends meet–including Brad selling his plasma! Thankfully we’re out of that season, but it was stressful.
Some financial stress comes from figuring out what to do with the money already have. Are there big purchases to be made? Home upgrades? Medical bills? What about tithing? (for more on tithing, see this article) Usually one spouse is a spender and the other a saver–how do you handle the stress of that tension?
The responsibility to raise a human who has a will and sinful nature is bound to create stress. Some days just keeping your children ALIVE can be a win, right? Children can exhaust parents and they can, at times, work to divide parents.
In some marriages different parenting styles can create stress. One spouse tends to be strict and the other lenient. Or different values and spiritual perspectives between moms and dads can cause stress.
During COVID, if both spouses work and they work from home, navigating those dynamics can be stressful. Furthermore, it’s hard to know when work is done because you never leave the workplace.
The lack of personal socialization with coworkers can create a subtle depletion in our emotional health that makes us susceptible to increased stress. Compounding the isolation is an increase in demands from one’s employer and simply working hard to keep a job can bring new stress into a marriage.
Some marriages wrestle with one or both spouses facing a health crisis. Currently we have three different friends who are facing critical health issues.Their spouses are heroically supporting and serving them through it in a Christ-honoring way. Even so, those situations create stress in the marriage.
5. Family and Friends.
- Family and friend dynamics can bring a lot of stress. Consider some of these scenarios:
- Someone you care about is going through a crisis and you feel their burden.
- Perhaps a family member created a crisis and dragged you into it.
- A friend repeatedly breaks your personal boundaries and takes advantage of you.
- There’s a rift between your political position and theirs.
- Someone has a different spiritual worldview than you.
- The way they raise their child(ren) is antithetical to how you would raise a child.
- Holidays bring stress to families and marriages.
Family and friends can be a powder keg of stress in a marriage and Enemy loves to leverage these relationships to bring stress on a marriage.
It’s late to bed and early to rise when you are constantly pushing to fulfill responsibilities with work, home, finances, chores, parenting, and kids’ activities. Burning the candle at both ends without a break and no room for margin in the rhythm of a day isn’t healthy in the long run. Nerves get frayed, frustration mounts and unintended words are said. Over time each spouse can think the other is the cause of their exhaustion.
When a spouse sins (like adultery, embezzlement, theft, lying, etc.) there are consequences on the marriage and even consequences from the sin itself. Dealing with those consequences will strain the relationship. (If you or a couple you know has faced adultery in marriage, our book, Ruined to Recovery, is a great source of practical next steps.)
Satan will do what he can to drive a wedge between the two of you. Talk about these stress points in your marriage. Resolve to “resist the devil” (James 4:7) together so he flees from your marriage. Next week we’ll provide six antidotes to stress. This week, stand firm, pray for each other, and you will see the stress points become strength points as you build your marriage.