Struggles

Every person encounters stress daily. Stressors occur throughout the day: getting up and getting ready for work; getting the children dressed and fed and ready for school; in traffic—think rush-hour traffic; working—think working with others, especially those who are difficult to work with; running errands—notice the word  “running”; going grocery shopping; taking the car in for maintenance; budgeting one’s paycheck and paying the bills; cooking and cleaning up the kitchen; cleaning the house; yard work; reading to the children; getting the children bathed, ready for bed, and in bed; getting ready for tomorrow. Marriage multiplies the stressors. Married persons have the same stressors as single persons plus additional stressors. Married persons have manifold relationship stressors such as:

  • One’s spouse (“Is he in a good mood?” “Is this a good time to bring it up?” “What will she think?” “What if it just makes him angry?”);
  • One’s parents-in-law (“The things they say.” “The things they don’t say.” “Are they bringing that up again?”);
  • One’s siblings-in-law;
  • One’s parents;
  • One’s siblings;
  • One’s aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Married persons also have a major stressor that differentiates married persons from single persons, and that in a perverse way almost defines marriage, namely: joint finances. Money management is the greatest single source of stress in marriage. Marital conflict stresses every marriage and every married person, women more so than men. Researchers at Ohio State University conducted a longitudinal study of married couples and published their findings as Marital Stress: Immunological, Endocrinological, & Health Consequences. They found:

“pervasive differences in endocrine and immune function reliably associated with negative or hostile behaviors during marital conflict, and these differences were apparent even among very happy couples in their first year of marriage. Women showed greater physiological change than men. These physiological differences were particularly noteworthy because marital satisfaction was very high on entry into the study.”

 

 


Inside Struggles