Sometimes, our husband’s can be majorly stressed out, and we might not realize it, and start assuming that they are being unloving,un- affectionate, or possibly even angry at us or distancing themselves from us, yet we don’t know why.
Because men are not usually verbal like women are, they tend to NOT come right out and make their stress known.
Instead, they may start to do things like:
- Talk even LESS than usual
- Look very weary and tired
- Sleep a lot more or want to sleep more
- Lose interest in sexual intimacy
- Want to be alone whenever possible
- Not smiling at all or showing signs of happiness
- Not paying attention to you or the family when they are around
- Forgetful of things you asked them to do
- Drink alcohol
- Become irritable and easily angered/short-tempered with you/kids
- Speak negatively about their job, their life, circumstances, etc.
- Don’t respond to encouragement from you
- Emotionally withdraw and not talk about what is bothering them at all
If a husband is doing any of the above, chances are he is stressed out!
Reasons that husband’s may become stressed:
- work drama
- money issues
- worry about work/money issues
- ex-wife/kids drama
- expectations from his wife that he can’t seem to live up to
- lack of sleep/improper nutrition
- not getting any time to himself or with God
- personal struggles with addictions
I’m sure there a a million other reasons, but those seem to be the most common, especially WORK-RELATED stress.
What should a wife do when her husband is clearly stressed out?
- If he doesn’t want to talk about what is bothering him or what is on his mind, we can let him be, and not continue to ask him, “what’s wrong?”
- We can offer him a drink of water/soda (whatever he likes to drink) and anything else he might want to eat
- We can let him know that we are here for him in any way that he might need us, and then let him be
- We can smile at him, and let him know that we care about him and what he is going through
- If he does talk about what is bothering him, we can listen to him, without interrupting, and support him by letting him know we understand what he is going through (show empathy), without taking over and trying to tell him what he needs to do about his stress
- If he is off from work and is super tired, we can let him sleep in and make sure not to wake him, or even take the kids out for a few hours to let him have some quiet time, alone
- We can seek to cook healthy meals and pack him healthy lunches if he likes that
- We can keep an orderly house and make sure that we do not put any extra pressure on him when he is majorly stressed out by doing our own jobs well
- We can give him grace if he is unable to be intimate, and not pressure him or become upset if he rejects us in any way physically
- We can think about what is true, pure, right, honorable—Philippians 4:8 things, and pray for our husbands privately
- We can seek to have a servant’s heart towards him, with compassion for him, and love
- We can focus on Christ and His Word, and allow His Spirit to fill us up, so that we might have His joy and love flowing from our bellies onto our husbands and families
- If we are tempted by thoughts of self-centeredness– “He doesn’t care about me!”, “He needs to get over it and love me how I want to be loved RIGHT now!” —— we can shoot them down and remember that when we are surrendered to Christ as Lord—it is no longer about what *we* want or need—- but rather what the Lord wants and needs us to do for His Name’s sake!
If all we care about is ourselves, and what WE want, and what our husband’s are NOT doing for US–we are going to be very miserable, and end up pushing our husbands away even more then they might already be due to stress related issues. It is not easy being a man, especially if he is working solely to provide, many long hours, and he doesn’t get much time to sleep or be alone.
I have had to learn the hard way and by many mistakes and suffering what to do in this situation that would glorify God.
Being self-centered doesn’t work. It only makes things worse for him, and for you. But when you seek to understand him, and focus on God and others, not yourself, you open the way for him to see you as his true helper and companion, and he will be more open to telling you about his stress, and he will feel respected and loved when we give him the space and time he needs to deal with his stress.
I Thought My Husband Was Not Allowed To Be Stressed
I remember after we had first been married, there was a time where we were really in a “honey moon” phase, and things were GREAT! There was nothing but love, joy, and peace between us! It was AWESOME! And then one day, my husband was dealing with something very stressful in his life, and he switched off towards me in an instant. He was withdrawn, focused on something else, and basically ignoring my presence.
At that time, all I could see was what HE was doing to HURT ME!
I asked him what was wrong repeatedly, told him to get over it with an attitude in my voice, criticized him for caring so much about X, and basically started a huge fight all due to my OWN SELFISHNESS!
I really had NO CLUE what I was doing when we first got married.
All I cared about was MY needs, MY desires, and MY interests!
I held onto every little thing that I thought he was doing wrong that was hurting me, and I had absolutely no interest for him, his needs, and I had zero compassion for him and his situation going on. It was pitiful, looking back. And all that selfishness did was turn my husband totally off from me, and make him not want to be around me, AT ALL.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Lord was trying to show me the plain idolatry in my heart, and pride! He was trying to reveal what was in my own heart, but I couldn’t see it yet. I thought I was justified in my bitterness and anger and disrespect back then. I didn’t care about anyone but ME.
HIS GRACE IS ENOUGH
Looking back, I see how going through these mistakes and reaping the marriage problems was the ONLY way for the Lord to get me to run to Him!
I ran to the Lord for years it’s been, and as I ran to Him, He started revealing Himself to me, and showing me that the problem was not with my husband, but in my OWN heart. I really was devastated over that, and at the same time, so thankful for His grace and mercy and love!
And things are different now! Anytime that old self tries to come back up and care only about what it wants and its own interests in my marriage, I realize it VERY quickly, and I shoot it down! There is no place anymore for this.
Instead, even if my husband is being grumpy because he is stressed, I have come to realize what “repaying good for evil” really means, and the effects it truly has. By loving him when he is most unlovable, the grace of God is shown to him, and he is convicted in his spirit—- and there is mutual helpfulness in love, instead of destruction in selfishness.