Being a supportive spouse when your husband is stressed is essential for a healthy marriage and for the family's well-being. According to Florida State University researcher Wayne Hochwarter in a 2012 "PsychCentral" article, individuals suffering from work-related stress who have supportive spouses reported 50 percent higher rates of marital satisfaction. You can help your spouse adopt a more positive and cheerful outlook.
Ask your spouse how you can be supportive or helpful to him. People have different ways that they like to be supported. You might want to discuss a stressful situation as a way of showing support, while another person might feel that is intrusive. Research by the University of Iowa identified different kinds of support: emotional and physical, informational, esteem and tangible. A hug or listening to your husband are examples of emotional and physical support, while providing resources or giving advice are forms of informational support. You can provide esteem support by giving your partner words of encouragement and believing in him. Helping your husband solve a problem and providing assistance show tangible support. It is important to identify how you can make your spouse feel better by talking to him. This way, you will show that you want to help and you can avoid complicating the situation more.
Create opportunities for distraction. Plan outings, such as going to the movies, taking a camping trip or exercising together, that will cheer up your husband and take his mind off stressful situations. Make sure that he agrees to your plans and that these activities will not cause further stress. If your husband is worried about the family's finances, you want to make sure that the activities you plan are free or inexpensive. If possible, plan some activities that involve the whole family and others that allow the two of you to spend time alone as a couple.
Add humor and a positive outlook to your family life. When a person feels trapped in a stressful situation, everything seems negative and irreparable. Be that ray of sunshine for your husband in that bleak situation. On the "Gratitude Power" website, psychology professor Robert Emmons of the University of California, said adopting an "attitude of gratitude" has been shown to improve emotional and physical health, as well as relationships. You can help your husband and family adopt this attitude by frequently discussing what you are grateful for as a family. Adopt an attitude of solution-focused thinking rather than constant complaining. Your husband will soon start seeing things in a different light if everyone around him is very hopeful and encouraging.
Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.