Let’s face it: In today’s society, stress is inevitable. From the constant pressures of work and kids to the daily demands of paying the bills and cleaning the house, we all have a lot to do and only so much time to do it in. Because of this, it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed, particularly when additional tragedies or unexpected bad news happens and we don’t know how to cope. And for many couples, these ongoing and unplanned stresses suck the joy out of life and by extension their marriages. Does this sound familiar to you? If you and your spouse are finding yourselves in an especially stressful season of life — or if you just want to work proactively against new stresses that could come — here are three specific activities to try. By spending time together while also relieving stress, you can cultivate greater intimacy and improve your overall quality of life. Here is how:
1. Getting a Good Laugh
Finding funny things in life is about more than hilarity — it’s also a powerful weapon against tension and stress, according to Mayo Clinic. “A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure,” it says. “The result? A good, relaxed feeling.” So with that in mind, ask yourself how you and your mate could get more humor in your routine: go to a comedy show, poke fun at yourselves, read comics alongside breakfast in the morning or watch your favorite sitcom once a week. Remind yourself that a merry heart is as good as medicine, and work more laughter into your normal days.
2. Going on Long Walks
Health professionals have been touting the benefits of a good workout for decades, but if hardcore exercise scares you off, take heart — regular, moderate-paced walking is actually one of the best things you can do for your body and its stress levels. One UK study actually found that walking through green spaces calmed down the brain. What’s more, walking is a stress-relieving way to get active, and it’s easy to enjoy with your mate. Find ways to work regular walks into your lifestyle and enjoy the chance to lower your stress levels and bond with your spouse!
3. Taking It to the Bedroom
It’s fun, it’s free and it’s found to be a great stress reliever, according to research — no wonder sex needs to be a regular part of your marriage relationship. When life gets busy, it’s easy to think you don’t have time to connect in the bedroom, but the truth is that the benefits found in regular intimacy far outweigh the effort it can take to make it happen. So whether you have to schedule sex in your calendars or book a weekly date night, make this activity a priority. From the endorphins it creates to the hormonal releases you’ll experience, making time for sex is worthwhile.
In the marriage relationship, stress can either be a tool to pull you and your spouse apart or a tool to push you closer together — and part of what makes the difference is when you know how to respond to pressures and surprises that come. So use the three activities above as a great starting place for relieving stress together, and enjoy the relational benefits that result!