In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. Stressors being external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction can be handled in 2 basic ways:
- Eliminate the stressor or
- Change one’s reaction to stress.
When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.
Top 5 Stressors for Couples
Based on results from the first 20,000 couples to complete the Customised Version, the top 5 stressors for each relationship stage are listed below. Overall, married couples report higher stress levels than dating or engaged couples.
- Dating Couples: Your job, Feeling emotionally upset, Inadequate income, Your partner, Too much to do around the home
Engaged Couples: Your job, Financial concerns, Cost of wedding, Lack of exercise, Lack of sleep
Married Couples: Your spouse, Your job, Feeling emotionally upset, Inadequate income, Too much to do around the home
Married Couples and Stress
Note the item rated as the number one stressor by married couples is Your spouse. This was the number one stressor cited by both the men and the women.
Married couples who take PREPARE/ENRICH are often being seen in a counseling situation. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing relational conflict to believe their problems would be solved if their partner would only change. Not only do they believe this, they often express it. Experienced counselors are used to the finger pointing which often accompanies the initial sessions of marital therapy. Unfortunately, one partner cannot change the other and this approach leaves individuals totally disempowered in the relationship. In fact, the more one individual focuses on the other person’s behavior, the more resentment, anger, and resistance they typically receive in return.
It is much more productive to help these couples work on things that are in their control including the way the speak to one another, the way the resolve conflict, the way each individual chooses to react to their daily stressors and interactions with their spouse.
Tune in for part 3 next week – Wedding planning and stress levels.
If you have any questions regarding Stress or the Couple Checkup, please call us on (02) 9520 4049.