Wifey Wednesday: Do You Help Your Husband Through Stress?

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all chime in by linking up your own marriage posts to the Linky below! Today Jennifer of Unveiled Wife shares honestly about helping her husband through stress.

Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

do you help your husband through stressWhen Sheila invited me to write this article I accepted with enthusiasm.  I thought sharing a few tips on how to help your husband through stress would be a simple and fun way to encourage wives in this area of marriage.  But if you allow me to be honest with you, when I sat down to write, I was confronted with a question:

Do I help my husband through stress?

In an effort to self-preserve and avoid looking like a horrible wife, I pushed the question aside and decided to start this article with the definition of stress and continue on to encourage you.  However, one glance at that definition and my heart dropped.  If there had been a picture next to the google definition it would have been my portrait.  I was confronted again.  The first thing that popped into my mind of the most stressful thing in my husband’s life is me and my never-ending demands.

I humbly admit to you today that I am not very good at helping my husband through stress.

In fact, I know I add more stress to him because when he is stressed I take it personally.  I feel as if he is ignoring me, as if he is not interested in me, as if he does not love me.  In my hurt I retaliate.  This doesn’t happen every time, but often enough that The Lord has convicted my heart of the issue in our marriage.  My eyes are self-focused in those moments.

The heart wrenching part is that I know what my husband needs in times of stress:

  • He needs a wife who will affirm him with words of affirmation.
  • He needs a wife who be selfless and serve his needs.
  • He needs a wife who will be confident of his love for her despite his weary heart and the other demanding circumstances that steal his attention.
  • He needs a wife who will rub the tension out of his shoulders.
  • He needs a wife who understands the burden of stress and does what she can to not add to the stress.
  • He needs a wife who will be gracious to him when he acts out as a result of his stress.
  • He needs a wife who will cheer him on and cheer him up!

I cannot be that kind of wife if my eyes are focused on myself.

I need to live with the compassion of Christ dwelling in my heart.  The kind of compassion that comforts with overwhelming peace.  I need to reach out and calm the storms.  I need to love like Jesus!

I could have written a “How-to” article that would have encouraged you and given you some tips to better your marriage…but I hope my transparency does more than that.  I hope my honesty shows you that you are not alone as you grow into your role as wife and you are not alone in the struggles you face in marriage.  I don’t think we’ll ever hit a plateau of growth, for there will always be areas of our character that we can strive to improve.  Writing this article has opened my eyes to this area of my marriage that I need to be more intentional about.  I need to be better at helping my husband through stress.  By doing so, my husband will feel loved and our marriage will be blessed.

Will you do me a favor and ask yourself the same question I was confronted with:

Do I help my husband through stress?

When you answer, whatever the answer, will you commit with me to be a wife who is willing to go above and beyond to help her husband through stress?

If you will commit with me to being better in this area of marriage will you comment below and say “I Commit!”

Unveiled-wife-portraitI hope you have a beautiful day!

– Jennifer Smith    Unveiledwife.com

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Leave the URL of a blog post about marriage in the Linky below. And be sure to link back here so that other people can read this great marriage advice!

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  1. Thank you for this post this morning….it is exactly what I needed this week. you see my husband’s daughter (age 33) passed away last Friday and it has been difficult for me being “only the stepmom”. I have felt very invisible and definitely took this personally. thank you for giving me the encouragement I needed today to encourage my husband and not to burden him with how I am feeling during this awful time, but rather that I am there to support him and not add to his stress. Thank you, just simply thank you for reminding me to be confident of his love for me despite his weary heart and the other demanding circumstances that steal his attention and also to be gracious to him when he acts out as a result of his stress. I cannot thank you enough this morning for these words Jennifer and Sheila. What a blessing you have been to me today, and I hope my husband feels less stress today because of the changes I am going to make today in me!

    • Oh, Tammy, I’m so sorry about your step-daughter! What a horrible tragedy. May God give you the strength to be a strength to your husband, and may He heal both of your hearts and carry you during this really difficult time.

  2. I’m not great at it either, Jennifer. But I have been more consciously working on it. What my own husband most needs when he’s going through major stress is for everyone to leave him alone and let him have time to defuse. That’s especially hard for me when my primary love language is quality time. However, it’s that moment of asking yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice a little of yourself for a lot more marital bliss. When I do back off, handle the household responsibilities, and let him have that time, he can relax and then come to me in his own time when he’s able to really give himself and make our time truly quality.

    (And by the way, wives, no, he doesn’t get a bye on his marriage and father duties. Yes, I also need time alone. But if neither one of us demands and both give, we each eventually get what we, and our family, and need.)
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Favorite Books for Christmas GiftsMy Profile

    • So true, J! I have a hard time not taking it personally when my husband retreats because of stress, too. It’s that moment where you have to step back and take the long-term view: I know my husband loves me, I know he’s just stressed right now, and I’m going to let it go.

    • Thank you for this reminder. I commit! I really needed this reminder as my hubby has a very stressful job, and I want him to be able to de-stress and relax at home.

  3. Lonely wife says:

    Wow did this post ever hit home! While I agree that a wife should be there to comfort her husband in times of stress, there has to be a line somewhere. How many days does a wife have to run around trying to look beautiful, have a hot dinner on the table, trying to do nice things for her husband all to go to bed lonely, horny, craving adult attention and conversation and being a good wife that only wants those things from her husband? How many months of watching your husband laugh and talk with the people at work when you visit him to try and cheer him up and being him lunch in a way he no longer laughs with you? How many nights will you ask him to rub your back or sit and talk with you before you give up? How many days will you wait all day for your needs to be met and wait for him to come home like a good wife before your heart fills with lust for someone who makes you a priority? How many days do you let him use you as a punching bag for all the stresses he takes in during the day before you finally give up? My husband used to be my one true love, now he’s a stranger. I never thought I’d say this, but I am finally ready for divorce and I’m tired of being someone he can’t even bother to hold a conversation with when he gets home. It’s very sad because we have a baby together now, but you only live this life once and I refuse to spend it crying for someone who doesn’t want me anymore.

    • Lonely wife, I’m so sorry that you’re feeling so alone. To feel cut off from your spouse is definitely one of the loneliest things in the world.

      I just want to say a few things. First, sometimes we set up a dynamic where it’s easy for our husbands to walk all over us. We turn ourselves inside out trying to please him, but we don’t act in such a way that commands respect. And then we become almost doormats. I don’t know if that’s what’s going on in your life, but I’ve seen that happen with so many women. They become more and more timid and sad until one day they just erupt and leave.

      I think it’s better to try to change the way you’re interacting with him first. What you’re doing isn’t working. The answer isn’t to leave; it’s to change what you’re doing. Start drawing some boundaries and make it clear that you expect things, too. An excellent book for this is Boundaries in Marriage.

      Also, I’m not sure if your reference to punching bag is literal or not. If it is, please get out now! Your safety, and that of your child, is paramount.

      But if it’s not, what your child really needs is for two parents to try and to make it work. Your child needs that security. While you think you would feel better if you left, your baby will be so much worse off. Please think of her, and instead of leaving, try changing how you act and talking to a third party, like a counselor, for some insight, help, and tools to help you stand up to your husband and draw those boundaries.

      I’m praying for you!

  4. Lonely wife says:

    Thank you, to hear some adult advice is comforting as I am reaching out in deep pain this morning mourning the relationship I used to have with him.

    I am not sure how to make these boundaries or how to command respect. I have tried speaking to my husband about what is going on several times. Sometimes he gets very angry and defensive, sometimes he apologizes and tries to say some nice things to me, says that he will make it up to me. The problem is that his actions don’t match his words and he doesn’t follow through and things never change. He doesn’t physically hard me in any way, he just becomes very snippy and grumpy and takes out his day on me. Every day of my life I feel like I am being punished.

    I don’t know how to make things better short of all the things I have tried so hard to do. When IS it time to give up? I worry that my child will have a mother who’s marriage makes her depressed and hate herself, who is lonely and sad. The only times I can muster up some happiness is when I think of how things used to be. Through it all, I have been 110% faithful and loyal to him, even when he hasn’t been to me. I was hoping one day that would count for something.

    • In 2001 I was in the same boat you are now in. I want to give you encouragement to not give up.

      Sheila talked about the dynamic where it’s easy for our husbands to walk all over us. My husband wasn’t the problem when this was happening, I was. He was going through some things so he wasn’t tuned in to our marriage and I was feeling abandoned. I turned myself inside out trying to be the wife he would finally love the way I wanted to be loved and needed. All that happened was I became MORE disillusioned, bitter and resentful. Ultimately it was being the wife and mother I wanted to be, not what I thought would make hubby happy, that created less stress in our marriage. Trying to make hubby happy was causing additional stress on him, on me and on our kids. Hubby recognized that I had turned him into a god, an idol, and that he couldn’t live up to this expectation. Turning back toward God to fill the unfathomable depth of love that I need, instead of expecting my husband to be able to do this has relieved an underlying, unseen tension that had invaded and lived in our house for years.

      Is our love the fairytale love I dreamed about as a teenager or a 20 year old? No. However it is better in so many ways. My sense of who I am is no longer tied up in how I’m being treated at the moment. I am extremely confident that my husband loves me and he hasn’t uttered those three words since 2008. Does he hurt me sometimes? Yes, and I sometimes cause him hurt, but I know that it is not intentional on either of our parts. We are both just people doing our best and choosing to see that the other is doing their best also. Would I trade the hard times that we went through for easy? With no reservations, I say no. I wouldn’t have what I have now without the hard times and I don’t know how long it would have taken me to grow as a Christian.

      If I had abandoned ship, like I was tempted to do so often, I would not know the blessings that I have. It took almost 10 years, but I am content. I am happy. I am loved.

  5. I commit!! I have been committed to this for quite a while now! Hopefully my commitment will help restore my relationship with my husband.

  6. Lonely wife says:

    More than anything I would just like to be someone that makes my husband happy, makes him smile or laugh. How can you be that in times of constant stress? I feel like I’m the one who makes him miserable.

  7. I commit to loving my husband and helping him when he is stressed. This is a great post, Jennifer and thank you so much for your transparency! I, too, sometimes take it personally when my husband is stressed. Your bullet points on how to handle my husband’s stress are very helpful. They are obvious, but very often in my selfishness I forget to do these simple things for him.

  8. I commit. I needed this today :)

  9. I Commit!! I really needed to see this today, this is something I need to work on starting now!! Thank you for posting & making me look at my own marriage & what I can do to help him through stress not make it worse!!

  10. Denise in Texas says:

    I commit. It would certainly make it easier to help my husband through stress if he would openly communicate to me when he is stressed. That will likely take some time and practice, so in the meantime, I commit to better read my husband’s cues to help me identify when he is stressed so that I can help him through it. Thanks for your encouragement and fellowship.

  11. I commit! The crazy thing is my husband found this first and read through it. He told me he realized some of the stuff he does doesn’t help me. He then encouraged me to read it to. During what has been a stressful year this was the perfect thing for us both to read. I commit to being better at asking less of him when their are already to many demands on his shoulders. I commit to being gracious, something I have slacked on when thinking about my selfish needs instead of what he needs from me.

  12. I commit !!!!!

  13. Thank you so much for this! I know I have not been helpful to my husband during this stressful time for him at work. His company had a huge layoff lastweek and even though we are thankful his job was spared, it has made his job even more stressful. This is just what I needed to read today!

  14. I really needed this today. My husband is a college student and this semester has been really rough on him. Especially the past few weeks in preparation for job interviews relatives unexpectedly dying and final exams. He is also an introvert and I’m very extroverted. I’ve learned that he needs about three hours to recharge by himself after social interactions with people all day. At first it hurt my feelings that he wanted to stare at the TV and play video games when he got home. I wanted him to notice me talk with me and to do things with me. (I’m not a gamer) I’ve learned to either give him space to recharge or to just sit down and play games with him. After a few hours he is fine again.

  15. Hi Jennifer first I would like to thank you for being open and obedient to God’s leading when you were writing this post. It was definitely an answer to prayer for me and I am sure many other wives. Recently my husband has experienced overwhelming stress from work. He also often works from home, so I have been doing all I can to help him through this stressful time. Just this week I was praying that God could allow me to have wisdom in this area. I can see that my husband is somewhat comforted by my actions, but I know I can always do more. I liked the idea of giving a massage. It’s such a simple act but, at the end of my busy day I don’t always think of it.

    I also noticed, often I fall into the trap of wanting to just take the stress away from my husband, since I hate to see him this way.
    I have to remind myself that I can’t solve the problem or take away his stress, only God can do that. I must lift him up with my prayers and make sure I’m not adding to his stress. I also think sometimes God may be using these times of stress to work in our husbands hearts and I wouldn’t want to hinder that process.

    Thanks again for this post and I COMMIT!!! ~Sherri
    God Life Happy Wife recently posted…Waiting on the LordMy Profile

  16. I commit…this was helpful, as we are going through infertility stuff, and just the other day I was getting self-absorbed while my husband was stressing out. And instead of telling him it would be ok and that God is taking care of us, I got snippish in my responses. :( My husband is an amazing tower of strength. I pray the Lord shows me how to support and encourage him during his moments of stress.

  17. I commit. This is spot on for me today. God sends a word when it is needed in whatever way He can get it to you. Thank you for this.

  18. I commit! Thanks for the reminder!

  19. I commit. I need this as we are going through some issues where he has been actively looking for someone else. I’m dealing with insecurities and trust issues and helping him with stress might help singer of the problems. Thank you for this and all the other advice.

  20. I struggle with this also…. sometimes when my husband is stressed he uses that as an opportunity to “take digs” at me… (or perhaps I just feel like he is because I’m also stressed!)

    I commit… :)

  21. Jennifer- I had the same realization when we first started dating. My personality is a list maker and a doer- well before it ever needs to be done. My husband however works better under pressure and a deadline. So often times he gets labeled as a procrastinator. I realized because of our differences in the way we worked I would begin to nag him about tasks. Which then stressed him out. I had to realize his tasks don’t effect me so don’t worry about it. And if it was something I needed help with I needed to let him know by when I would like to receive the help. This has helped to eliminate me inducing stress on my hubby. Thank you for the open honest post!
    Cassie recently posted…Applying the Gospel to Marriage- Kassie PratherMy Profile

  22. Hey Jennifer, great post! I commit! My husband and I just went through this. He was feeling a great deal of stress at work, and I was feeling very unloved and unwanted. This caused me to be grumpy and not very supportive. Quite frankly, I was being selfish. I thought he wasn’t attracted to me anymore, and I felt so alone. Through all of my self-pity I finally turned to the Source of true joy – God – and once I started praying and listening, I realized I was a big part of the problem. My own attitude. My husband eventually shared that he so longed to come home to a peaceful home, and he felt like coming home was just as stressful – or added stress – as being at work. He did not say this to hurt me – he was being gentle about it and sharing his heart. I felt so badly! Someone pointed me to the book “Love and Respect” which was very helpful. My husband and I have had some great talks since then, and my mom came up to watch the kids so we could spend a weekend away – alone! (something we haven’t done in over nine years!!!) It was wonderful! We both see that although we’ve been married almost 20 years, we BOTH have a lot of areas where we can improve. And working on it has been fun! God is so good! I am so thankful for this blog. Thank you so much for your post!

  23. I commit! We recently moved to a new area, after ny husband had lived in the same place his entire life. I’m loving the adventure, but with a new job, a new home, a new environment, it was too much for him abd he began having panic attacks. My husband has always been very calm, collected and in control, so this is very very difficult for him. He began seeing a counselor, which was a hard step for him, but me being a support is vital. I look back at our last 10 years and I can see that I have added much more tlstress than I’ve alleviated.

    One of the hardest things for him is how it makes him feel like less of a man to need the extra support. So sou g these things without letting him see they are “out of my way” is vital. Thanks for the article and the transparency. Praying for all of us wives today!

  24. I commit! I needed to hear this! My husband started a new job; he’s the lowest seniority with stressful inconsistent hours. I’m so happy for this blessing of a job but at the same time I am not used to being with my daughter all day and night six days a week so he can work and decompress and sleep. I’m working on lining up a few teenagers I can call for babysitting but I’ve spent the last seven days snowed/iced in…it has been taking it’s toll on me and I haven’t been very supportive.

  25. I commit! I’ve been married for only a year and stress has been a huge challenge for us. I used to take very personally my husband’s stress, and that only led us to more and more stressfull moments. Learning to put even that in prayers, God showed me that He made me Romain’s wife to be his anti-stress therapy :) it is actually better (and quite easy) to spoil him a little while he’s bad mooded: cook something he likes, give him a back rub while he complains, than getting cheek-kisses for 2 days for fighting with him and think he doesn’t love me anymore. God bless all of your marriages!

  26. I commit. I am so wrong in this area. I’ve added more stress to my husband. I want to be free from taking it personally. I want to have a quiet and gentle spirit.

  27. Amanda Mcmillan says:

    I commit to being a better wife during stress and helping my husband rather than cause more strain and stress

  28. I commit- I dont think there is a single issue that another marriage has not faced at different points of the relationship.The only difference that sets each person apart is how we deal. This is an inspirational article because it lets the rest of the women out there know that they are not alone! God bless you :)

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