Do you ever walk through the door and instantly recognize that your husband is stressing out about something? Maybe he’s quick to snap about whatever you just said or he’s sullen and stone quiet. Either way, you can feel the tension around your stressed man.
It’s inevitable. Stress is something that everyone deals with and there’s a point where the stress gets to everyone. Me? I cry. My husband? Not so much lol! We all have our own way of dealing with our stress. The question is – how do we handle it when our spouse is the one stressed out?
There are usually two choices when dealing with a stressed out husband. One, in the process of wondering why he’s so moody your feelings get hurt and the tension between you turns into defensive altercations or resentful distance. Or, recognize the outside stress triggers, validate his coping with the stress, and be there for him while he works through it and comes out of it.
Of course we want to do the latter! Who wants to feel hurt, tension, resentment, and hostility?! But how do we manage to stay positive and nurture our husbands when they’re strained under stress?
I’ve been with the same man since I was 15 years old. I handled his stress very differently then than I do now. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way from my mistakes. Here are my practical strategies for handling my husband’s stress that I’ve learned in almost 20 years together.
Listen to Him Vent
Listen to him vent. My mom always taught me that we have two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth for a reason. I don’t join in and vent too when my husband is stressed. My venting just adds to his stress! When we as wives start venting too, something triggers in our husbands’ brains and they feel obligated to try to solve the problems we are venting about. I simply listen, empathize with how he feels, and back his opinions.
I don’t offer him tips on handling the stress. All he hears when I do that is that I don’t think he knows how to handle the situation. He hear’s that he’s incapable. No man wants to think that is his wife’s opinion of him. Whether I agree or not on how he’s handling the situation, I just agree with him. I adore my man and I know how intelligent he is. I always take his side.
Respect His Space
If he’s not in the mood to vent, give him space when he shuts down and stays silent. Sometimes a man just needs to blow off some steam on his own when he’s saturated in stress. My man will play a video game where he’s mowing down the Nazis with some massive virtual weapon. He’ll watch a scary movie. I’ll catch him asleep with ASMR in his earbuds. He’ll work on something around the house that requires a hammer or mow the grass with loud rock music in his ears.
As women, what do we normally want to do when we’re stressed? Talk! We want to talk it out because it makes us feel better. Well, our hubs don’t always feel that way. I take all of those instances above as cues that he’s not in the mood to discuss it. So I respect that and leave him alone. After he’s worked the stress off, he always comes around for a laugh at his sarcastic wit or a boob grab or something. Then we’re back to normal! 😉
Put Food Out
Hangry men react to stress differently than well nourished men. When I know my husband has had a stressful day at work I try to make sure he’s well fed. A cheese and meat tray, chips and salsa, or a bowl of cut fruit will definitely disappear shortly after he’s come home if waiting on the table for him.
Of course, I can’t force it. He doesn’t want to be nagged or mothered about eating. But I can try to have one of his favorites set out. A large pot of coffee is also a good idea. It’s basically energy and comfort in a cup for my hard working man. Then I simply pack it up or pour it out if he doesn’t touch it. No harm, no foul.
Tackle the Annoyances
Doesn’t it always seem to snowball when you’re stressed out? Little things add up and make the stress seem all the more unbearable. One of the things I try to do (hurriedly too) is take care of his pet peeves when he’s in a stressed out mood. Is the house messy? Is the schedule too busy with stuff that could wait? Try to avoid any aggravations. Fix any annoyances that have easy solutions.
This doesn’t mean you’re walking around on eggshells. However, getting the dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher takes two minutes. The amount of annoyance a sink full of dirty dishes adds to my husband’s stressful days makes those two minutes well worth it!
We all get stressed out. Especially in today’s world, stress is just a normal part of everyone’s life. Our men do so much for us. Even though it feels like their stress is sometimes taken out on us, the tips I shared above can show him that we understand how hard he works, that he’s responsible for many things and people, he’s stressed out, and we’re there for him in love.
Take Care Friend (of both you & your man!),