MANAGING MARITAL STRESS AND STRAIN IN DIFFICULT TIMES
We feel stressed when we are subjected to unusual situations or events that are not in alignment with our day to day experiences, first as human beings and then as couples. If there is any time that anyone could be stressed, the time is now. These are exceedingly difficult times no doubt.
The broadcast media and other forms of news gathering sources are not helping matters. The mere fact that couples are locked up under the same roof for longer period of time is unprecedented at least in our lifetime.Husbands who hitherto are used to the hustling and bustling of fending for their families are forced to remain indoors owing to the world wide lockdown of economy.While many are gradually adapting to the reality of the times,many are finding it exceedingly challenging.For some it is akin to imprisonment with the extensions of the lockdown sounding like an extension of a prison term. Locked up with your spouse or families could be stressful especially if you barely got together to do things in common prior to the lockdown.
It is for this reason that either consciously or unconsciously,we become very stressed even in our thoughts and emotions towards others.
Sometimes,this consciousness results in anxiety, sleep difficulty and overthinking. The resultant effect will be either to fly or fight.
While highlighting the cause and effect of stress on the family at this time,it is imperative to sympathise with families who have lost loved ones due to the pandemic or other reasons . No doubt this can further aggravate stress or strain on relationships.
It is also stressful for those of us still alive ,going by the rise in the wave of new infections and death recorded.
In the news, the most dominant headlines are anxiety provoking, fear triggering which at times can lead to mood swing or outright panic. Media experts and analysts at some point adviced against consuming too much of the news as this can have negative impact on individuals as well as families, whether consciously or unconsciously.
However,it is imperative to state that in the times we are in, you will be anxious, it is human to be anxious but there is need to know when and how to draw the line.
There are predictions of the economy, social life and others things facing a meltdown or recession, meaning that things will never be the same again thus life will be different especially for those who have lost their jobs.
The impact of all of these on families affects everyone.However as Christians, it is our believe that God has a way of making us overcome and manage in the times we are in and to bring us out in a victorious way.
Anxiety is a result of placing too much focus on our problems or our fears. Therefore as Christians, how do we overcome this challenge?
One way to overcome is by spending time on the positive. Let’s think about the things that are uplifting and talk about the goodness of God in your home. Instead of thinking of the possibility of losing your job in the coming months why not think about those hard times that God has brought you out from. Think of what God has done and is still doing for you and your family. This is the way God wants us to think about our past journeys and how he has helped us to defeat “the Goliath” . Never look at the “wall of Jericho “ ahead.
Talking about meditating on the goodness of God, it is imperative as families to look inwards because at times what we see is the global negativity, we refuse to look at the little mercies of God that we have received.
For the things some of us consider as ordinary,for others it is not. For some of us God has delivered us from crashes and other accidents that would have claimed lives,HE spared us. Some people never pull through. Even to sleep and wake up is not ordinary as some sleep and don’t wake up .
Some of these things are things that we shouldn't loose count of when thinking about God's goodness. God is still the same and HE is able to pull us through the challenges we might be going through.
In relation to human reactions to anxiety, we either put up a fight or fly, As a spouse going through a challenge, or anxiety provoking situation how do you deal with it? Do you put up a fight or you press the flight mode.?
For instance by fighting , some spouse become argumentative, some become verbally or physically aggressive.
On the other hand,some spouse activate the flight mode. They can withdraw to themselves in the house or ultimately results in them packing their bags and leaving the family they once promise to provide and protect .Just like getting on a plane and turning your phone to flight mode , all access to communication is disabled.They break contact with family,friends and loved ones including their chldren.This is not what God wants us to do in times such as these. Stress, challenges and problems are part of life . They are not meant to destroy us but to strengthen our relationship with our creator and It should bring us closer in fellowship as couples and families. Couples should not fight each other or take a flight from each other .
Worth mentioning that sometimes some couples don’t even know the reason behind certain action or reactions.Some spouses have taken off and walked away from the home with little or no information about their whereabouts. The only indication that they are alive is when they make cash withdrawal at the ATM machine.
This is a classic example of a spouse who has activated the flight mode out of anxiety . It is therefore important that as Christian couples we need to put this in check before it gains ground.
During stressful situations it is very important to meditatate on the word of God ( Bible). Studying God’s word would often bring about clarity to what you are going through.
When you take time to study and meditate on the word of God you see life in a different form and perspective.
Know what God wants you to do in such instances and remember that HE doesn’t change, HIS promises aren’t subject to time and season, it is forever settled in heaven . The bible says that HIS word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119 verse 89. It does not depend on the happenings in the world neither does it require the economists to forecast his blessings for the righteous.
There is no doubt that countries are going through difficult times now, but as believers, the faithfulness of God is not dependant on anything but God alone. That is why it is important to spend time reflecting on the goodness of God and his faithfulness .Remember,If God has helped you in the past he can help you now, and in the future. All you need to do is trust him and see what he will do when this is all over.
Don’t allow the devil to make you react carnally, A carnal man will do thingys using his instinct.Don't do it because that’s what the devil is telling you to do.Don’t run away from home , don’t fight each other or be angry with anyone. It is not the way of God.
Studying the word of God is an important step at managing stress. Make daily meditation a cardinal part of your day as a family or couple.
It is important to have a daily time for studying the bible and praying together as a couple and as a family, especially now that the children are not in school. It is a good time to allow the word of God to build us up as a family. 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 24, God is faithful. So, we can rely on the faithfulness of God and we will not be put to shame ; Psalm 50 verse 15 God says we should call upon him and he will answer us. You will begin to see joy and peace return to your lives and your home.