We all get stressed. For most of us, work is stressful on a pretty regular basis. In most marriages, one spouse is usually stressed about something work-related at any given time. While it’s important not share your stress with your spouse and allow them to support you, it’s equally important to keep work stress from damaging your love life. Work stress and romance can coexist, but you need to work at it, no pun intended.
A recent article on Match.com’s Health page addressed this very issue. In “Stress is Ruining Our Romance,” experts offer these six tips on work stress and romance.
1. Explore what’s really causing the stress.
Look under the carpet and make sure you’re not missing any other issues that might be disguised as ‘work stress.’ If you’ve simply fallen into the habit of stressing and obsessing over work, then focus on changing your behavior first.”
2. Develop an “Us vs. It” mentality.
Nourish the overworked relationship by developing an ‘us versus it’ mentality,” suggests Bryan E. Robinson, psychotherapist and author of “Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them.”
“That way, work stress doesn’t slither its way between two people that have become a couple — which, believe me, it will, if folks are not alert.”
3. Create anti-work-stress plans for two.
If couples can help each other with their stress levels, everything becomes easier, so why not build a date around stress relief?” asks relationship and wellness coach Elizabeth Scott.
She suggests soothing music and a mutual massage or blowing off steam with a yoga or martial arts class.
4. Hug it out.
Beate Ditzen, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland who has studied the effects of stress on relationships, says that hugging has been shown to be an effective way for couples to get through work stress without stressing each other out.
Our research suggests that hugs and intimacy between partners seems to buffer the negative effects of work stress on physiology, as measured through the stress hormone cortisol,” says Dr. Ditzen. “This effect was shown in the laboratory as well as in a study by Hoppmann & Klumb in couples’ everyday lives.”
5. Put your tech away at night.
Dr. Robinson says that plugging in to work via our tech toys just brings that work stress straight into your home.
Our wireless devices have blurred our boundaries. Many of us think we have to answer a cell phone or text message immediately when it pops up, no matter if we’re in the middle of an intimate conversation. I advise that all working couples have a verbal agreement that during certain times, thinking and talking about work and using electronic devices are off-limits — during intimacy (no, I’m not kidding), on vacations, and during fun date nights.”
6. Develop some individual stress-relieving habits.
Dr. Robinson says it’s just as important to relieve stress on your own as it is to relieve stress as a couple.
Each party in a relationship needs to have at least one activity or practice (a self-care plan) to pursue in order to combat work stress,” says Dr. Robinson. “Good examples include vigorous exercise, mindfulness meditation, a hobby, or other pastime.”
Work is a necessity for most of us. Work stress happens. But it doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your romantic relationship with your spouse. Try these tips next time things get a little rough at work.