5 Top posts of the week: Marital Stress

Marital stress is something that every couple will have to deal with at some point. Stress can come from anywhere: the workplace, a sick child, individual insecurities, marriage problems, and more. Many times these problems start in the individual and grow to impact the marriage. This week I’ve picked the best articles on marital stress that focus on healing and helping the individual. We’ve got a post on identity crisis, the efficacy of marriage education, culture shock, supporting a stressed spouse, and lastly, how to give a great, loving gift. Enjoy!

Impression management and identity: who are you?

Via Good Therapy (http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/excessive-impression-management-identity-0608125)

In every social moment we subtly alter our behavior to be in advantage of the situation. We watch what we do, say, and how we dress. Knowing how to selectively present ourselves–and be self-aware–is an important social tool. What happens when we become to wrapped up in keeping up the presentation? “[When] we are overly invested in impression management, our sense of self has little substance. We become the person we believe the other wants us to be. This thought-provoking Good Therapy article examines the lines between being true to yourself and navigating the social world.

Marriage education works!

Via Healthy Relationships California (http://www.relationshipsca.org/blog/2012/05/research-shows-couples-can-increase-marital-happiness-even-those-on-the-brink/)

There’s been a lot of back-and-forth this month as various studies proved and disproved the effectiveness of marriage interventions for marital stress. Sadly, a Birmingham University study found that many marriage intervention programs aimed at low-income couples were not effective. Happily, another exhaustive study by Healthy Relationships California found that marriage education courses increased happiness significantly. At the end of the program, the number of couples rating themselves happy in their relationships rose by 55%. The subjects of the study were not specifically low-income or people of color. My takeaway? Marriage intervention is not one-size-fits all–couples from different walks of life have different marital stress and need different areas of help. Pick a marriage intervention, like PO2, that is tailorable to the individual couple–and is backed up by sound scientific evidence.

Navigating culture shock

Via International Couples (http://www.internationalcouples.net/blog/2012/06/cultural-shock-the-emotional-roller-coaster-ride.html)

If you and you spouse come from different cultures and you decide to relocate to his or her country (or simply decide to relocate), be prepared for the strain that culture shock will put on you an your marriage. “My family has a long history of cross-border marriages and geographic mobility,” writes guest blogger The Global Us. “Despite this seemingly “cultural-shock proof”background, I lamentably failed to pass the cultural shock test without going through an unexpected and unstoppable roller-coaster ride.” The article continues with great insights on how to navigate these uncertain waters with your spouse and avoid marital stress.

7 secrets for supporting a stressed spouse

via Alisa Bowman (http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2012/06/7-secrets-for-supporting-a-stressed-spouse/)

Alisa always comes out with straightforward, grounded advice, and this article on marital stress is no exception. Read as she lays out secrets of how to communicate in a relationship to support your stressed spouse…and keep yourself sane too!

How to pick the perfect gift

via Family Focus Blog (http://familyfocusblog.com/the-ultimate-gift/)

Fathers Day is coming up, and with it the eternal conundrum of what I’m going to get him this year. We feel obliged to give gifts, and at the same time, if they are meaningless (like that #1 Dad ribbon I bought last year) then what’s the point? An important way of addressing marital stress is to always show that you are supportive of and full of love for your spouse. A meaningful gift can do this and make a huge difference for the receiver. So what makes a good gift? Read the article for tips on picking an appropriate gift for the occasion and the message you want to convey.