In my Houston marriage counseling office, I like to talk to couples about all the possible sources of stress in their lives and their relationships because I know that stress can be a major source of relationship problems. Some stress is healthy, but when you become too stressed out, you’re more likely to act or behave negatively around your partner, which will only increase their level of stress. If this negative cycle continues, you’ll end up fighting more and feeling disconnected from one another. However, there are many healthy ways that you and your partner can cope with stress.

Houston Marriage Counseling Offers Tips for Dealing with Stress

Recognize when you or your partner are getting stressed out. When partners lash out, become withdrawn, or aggravate previous relationship problems, it’s probably a sign of stress. That doesn’t justify unpleasant behavior, but it is an indicator that the two of you should dialogue with one another and process the problem so that you can feel more connected to one another.

Listen to your partner. Sometimes the best way to cope with stress is just to have someone who will be a sounding board for you. Many people feel like they’re better able to work through their problems if they verbalize them, so allow your partner to get whatever’s bothering them off their chest.

Find activities that will help you and your partner relax. You and your partner might have different ways that you like to relax, and that’s okay. Figure out what works best for each of you individually so that you can manage your stress level.

Ask what you can do to help. It can be hard to know what’s going to be best for your partner unless you directly ask them what they need to be less stressed out. Maybe there’s not a lot you can do, but maybe even just holding your partner or getting a sitter once a week so you can go out will make them feel better. You won’t know unless you ask. And of course, both partners have responsibility. Your partner won’t know what they can do to help you unless you open up to them as well. Hence the eternal importance of the dialogue!

Come in to Houston marriage counseling. Sometimes stress can get so overwhelming that you don’t even know how to begin coping with it. If you and your partner are struggling with relationship problems because of the stress in your lives, it is a very good time to come into Houston marriage counseling. A trained therapist can serve as a good listener and help you come up with effective ways to deal with stress.