Modern stress comes at you from a lot of different directions, and trying to have a baby is only one of them. Regardless of where your stress comes from, here are ways to keep your relationship serene and happy in the midst of it all.
You just failed another pregnancy test. You’re worried about losing your job. You spilled your latte on your favorite pants. No surprise that now you’re hollering at your husband. Your marriage is often one of the first casualties of the irritability, frustration, and anxiety you feel when life just gets too stressed. “Stress is a relationship killer,” says Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress (Jossey-Bass, 2008). “Because if you’re feeling tired and depleted, who are you going to take it out on but your significant other?”
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a healthy relationship can actually work as a buffer against both daily stresses—of the “I’m late for my doctor’s appointment” variety—and chronic ones, like infertility and job loss. “When we have strong relationships we’re inoculated against the effects of events that might otherwise be stress-inducing,” says Kory Floyd, Ph.D., a professor of health and family communication at Arizona State University, in Tempe. “It doesn’t mean we don’t have stress, but we tend not to overreact.”
The best way to make sure you’re both able to weather the storm? De-stress together. Here, experts and happily married couples share how.