You know you’re not at your best when you’re stressed out, anxious, or afraid. And your internal state doesn’t just affect you; it affects your marriage also. Your internal emotional treadmill can leak damaging fallout onto your spouse and the relationship between you. But if you learn to care for your internal world it will transform your marriage.
There are times your marriage itself is your largest source of stress. Some marriages are toxic. If your spouse has an evil heart or is manipulative and abusive you are not powerless, but you’ll need a different approach than this article describes.
If your spouse is basically a person of good will you have a significant impact on them. What’s it like to be married to you? If you are irritable, negative, anxious, and not fully present your spouse will become defensive and pull away. But if you are resilient, hopeful, and engaged in working together to solve challenges your spouse will naturally be drawn toward you.
In a healthy marriage you can expect each of you to support and encourage the other when you need it. When you both are down you keep working together one step at a time. But your spouse cannot fill you up. Your spouse cannot be your primary source of life. You will need to take responsibility for your own emotional wellbeing and embrace the tools you need so you can bring your best self to the marriage.
Here’s how you learning to manage your anxiety will transform your marriage.
You will be less dependent
You and your spouse need each other. That’s healthy. But it’s easy to make your spouse your thermostat, so you can only have a good day if your spouse is having a good day. If your spouse doesn’t meet your needs as you wish you either collapse or lash out in misery. But your spouse is not responsible for your emotional wellbeing; you are.
As you learn the tools to exercise the individual authority God has given you over your body, mind, and soul you’ll be less dependent on your spouse as your source. You are learning to feed yourself. You feel energy and joy you when you learn you have the choice to be happy regardless of what your spouse does or doesn’t do.
This does not mean you keep your negative feelings or needs hidden from your spouse. But being less dependent means you can embrace and accept what your spouse can provide without becoming demanding or manipulative.
You have more to bring to the marriage
Looking for what you can get out of your marriage is always disappointing. Focusing on what you can give, what you can bring to the relationship, brings goodness.
When you learn how to manage your own internal world instead of expecting your spouse to do it for you, you become much more of a giver instead of a taker. You are less reactive and more able to choose your responses to challenges that come. Your anxiety is less of a drain on your spouse. You can distinguish better between the small stuff to let go of and what needs focused attention, forgiveness, or change.
Life and marriage present more than enough problems. “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV). As you develop your own personal pattern of emotional wholeness you’re better able to engage in productive problem solving together. You have more mental clarity to imagine and creatively work toward solutions.
You and your spouse come closer together
Gratitude, vulnerability, and resilience are attractive. Neediness or manipulation is not. Learning to manage your own thoughts and feelings keeps you from pushing your spouse away. You learn to talk about your thoughts and feelings when appropriate without demanding your spouse fix you, agree with you, or feel the same as you do.
And taking responsibility for your own internal world means you can be present when your spouse feels vulnerable. When two people are growing in personal responsibility you can come together with real intimacy. You are both giving all you have without trying to keep score.
Caring for Your Internal World
If you’re not used to caring for your internal world in a mature healthy way this can seem a difficult task. You feel at the mercy of everything–your thoughts and feelings, your spouse’s behavior, and external stresses.
But you don’t have to stay that way. You can learn to retrain your brain so that you can overcome stress, leave worry behind, and experience lasting emotional wellbeing. And I’d love to show you how!
We have just released our new online course Defeat Your Fear and Anxiety which will show you the powerful tools to build new pathways in your brain and not only overcome the current stress you may be feeling, but to develop a lasting lifestyle of joy and peace.
And developing new brain pathways to manage your anxiety is likely to transform your marriage.
Join me in this course now!
Questions? Contact me here, and I’ll respond personally.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- You don’t bring your best self to your marriage when you’re anxious, upset, or stressed out. Doing what you need to manage your anxiety and stress, and care for your internal world, can transform your marriage. Tweet that.