Managing Marriage Stress

Jun 21, 2016

My job is to marry people. My ceremonies usually include advice and suggestions for making the marriage a success. How much the couples remember of my words, especially with all the other big day distractions, I don’t know, but at least they will have the wedding script that I send them, and there may be a video. Thus they are able to revisit my words.

So what do I, a civil celebrant, know about marriage, successful or otherwise?

I have gleaned quite a lot of experience from my own marriage (we are approaching 20 years together) as well as those of my circle. I do see a number of my friends in unhappy or broken marriages. I read a lot. And I know that there are plenty of statistics that bear out the truism that you have to work at marriage.

I’d like to look at one area that can certainly damage a marriage.



A marriage can be damaged by jealousy, finances, differing life styles, health issues, sex, in-laws, infidelity … the list goes on.

How should you react to stresses like these?

One surprising answer is to take care of yourself.

If you are going to address your relationship issues with clarity, you need your mental and intuitive faculties to be in balance.

You also need to be aware that you are part of a two-way relationship.


The habit of meditation can produce a calmer mind-set. Another useful thing is taking time-out. “I don’t want to react stupidly, so I’m leaving the room for a moment to think about my reply.” Ten seconds out before riposting, can be very valuable.

In more serious cases, you need to be able to manage your reactions. Keeping calm and being reasonable (rather than flying off the handle unthinkingly) can be so beneficial. Discussion, give and take, listening to the other are all techniques that can help resolve crises successfully.

Sometimes there may be a problem that is (inadvertently, or not) of your causing, and if it can be acknowledged, it will be easier to resolve. Often there is a major misunderstanding, which, once expressed, becomes trivial.

If you’re upset with your partner, your tendency may be to avoid him/her, but it can be useful (particularly if you share a pastime) to spend some more time together. I don’t mean sitting in the same room, posting on FaceBook or playing electronic games, but doing things where you interact. You may have to schedule actual dates, but showing your partner that they are a priority can only be to the good.

Remember that it is so much easier to talk to and understand your partner when you are calm and centered.

You have the tools and skills to handle whatever may transpire in your relationship, and this should give you the confidence that you can enjoy a happy, long-term marriage. Combine it with love, and you will have every reason to anticipate a wonderful marriage!