A new project has landed on her plate at work. Her mother is sick. Her commute is tiring. Whatever the reason, your wife is tired and grouchy. You want to cushion her from the negative effects of constant stress. It is important first to understand her stress style. Then you can work on strategies to support her while also taking care of yourself so that the relationship doesn't become one-sided.
Understand Her Stress Style
It is important to understand how your wife deals with stress and accept her method. She may be an introvert who hides her stress. If your wife won't open up, prompt her to engage in conversation, says couples counselor Elly Prior on her website, professional-counselling.com. Gently ask her to tell you what is making her anxious. If she vocalizes her anxiety, just listening may not be enough. Instead, help her find a solution. Therapy or a lighter schedule are good starts.
Discuss Division of Domestic Labor
Your wife feels overwhelmed. This is your opportunity to reevaluate how you divvy up domestic duties, recommends psychologist Thomas Bradbury in the article "Couples' Best Strategies For Managing Stress" on the PBS.org website. Sit down and plan your schedules. Perhaps it is easier for her to pay bills and shop for groceries, while you cook dinner and take the kids to after-school activities. You may have to take on extra duties during an especially stressful time.
Do Something Different
Get active together to help your wife shake off stress. Take a dance class, join a running group, take a walk in the park or go skating at the local rink. Opt for a relaxing activity. Massage each other at home or buy a spa package for her. Indulge in a bath or shower for two. Treat her to dinner and a movie. You don't need to spend big bucks on a vacation -- even booking a night at a nearby hotel can work. Your thoughtfulness will likely help her just as much as the planned activity.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of your spouse can also mean taking care of yourself. If you are continually supporting her, your batteries may become depleted. Plan stress-busting activities for both of you. Schedule time to connect over the day's ups and downs. Your wife can complain, while you are supportive. Roles should then reverse so that you talk while she listens. It is important that your spouse learns to communicate her needs. This makes the job of being a supportive partner easier.