I love to cook. Cooking is an opportunity to turn a vision into reality. And I love to watch cooking shows when the hosts add secret ingredients to challenge the chefs. At times, the final plate is mind-blowing and special. Other times, the chefs miss the mark. The foundation of a great dish is great ingredients, but what happens when you have to work with an unexpected ingredient? Now let’s apply that to stress in marriage. What are the ingredients you and your wife are working with?
Communication, intimacy, expectations, finances, to name a few. Next, add an unforeseen ingredient: stress. How you adapt to stress in your marriage will either draw you closer in a beautiful way or add frustration and tension moving forward. We all want a healthy and thriving marriage and we all will experience stress in marriage. Here are 5 questions to ask your wife when life is stressful (Invite her to ask you these questions, too!).
1. Do you trust me?
Don’t just answer with a yes or no. Explain why or why not and give examples. Do not attack each other or be defensive. If the answer is no, discuss with honesty and openness what you’d need to see in order to be able to trust each other. Amid stress, having the peace of knowing you trust each other will give you the resolve to face any situation. If you find that trust is weak, you have to talk through everything and create some action steps to rebuild broken trust.
2. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our communication?
Explain your rating to each other by giving examples. You are not allowed just to say, “You stink.” A good example would be, “I would appreciate it if you added things to the calendar with more notice so I can plan my week better.” And don’t hesitate to encourage your wife if she already communicates well; tell her what you love about how she communicates and how it is helpful for you. Chances are, neither one of you is going to say “10,” so each of you can work on something. Decide together what would need to change in order to give your communication a higher rating.
3. What do you need from me that I haven’t been giving you?
This may take some time to consider. Do your best not to be reactive when your wife answers. She may say something that you do not agree with, but allow her to vocalize what she is thinking. Allow each other to be honest and receive the answers. Wait before you respond. Find common ground in each other’s needs and make those a priority in the days ahead.
4. What are my blind spots?
Giving your wife permission to share what she thinks your blind spots are shows you trust her and that you’re willing to work and grow. A blind spot is typically connected to emotions. Maybe every time she brings up finances, you feel anxious. That creates a blind spot. Nobody wants to feel anxiety. So if we feel anxiety when we admit a problem exists, many of us learn to minimize, dismiss, or deny the problem instead. That makes it so you no longer can see the money problem your wife sees. Letting her tell you what she sees—and agreeing to look at it and work on it with her—may be painful, but it is vital for a healthy relationship.
5. What is your dream for our future?
Spend more time on this question than on any of the others. Dream together. Talk about the future hope you have together. Make a list. Create a vision board. Regardless of the added stress and what we have been through, our futures can be bright if we are willing to fight and put in the work. by dreaming of the future, we will put into perspective just how short a stressful season can be.
Earn some points: Give your wife a “stress in marriage” cheat sheet by sharing iMOM’s 3 Ways to Support Your Stressed Out Husband with her.
Sound off: What have you found helpful when dealing with stress in marriage?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What stresses you out?”