What Dealing with Stress Taught Me About Marriage

How can we grow toward contentment in marriage?

For a little over a year and a half, my life has been full of plenty of stress. It has often seemed non-stop, with one new difficult situation arising before the previous one has even been resolved.

I’ve taken my own advice to tend to my marriage. (See How Does Stress Affect Your Marriage?)  I’m happy to say that I’ve been spending time in God’s Word, extending myself some grace, praying, breathing, and having sex enough that my marriage is strong and healthy. It is one area of my life that has not felt stressed. My marriage has provided a sanctuary of contentment and rest for me.

Although my marriage has been doing fairly well, I wasn’t doing so great. A few weeks ago I realized that I am completely depleted. My mind isn’t functioning well. I’ve been forgetful, small frustrations that I used to be able to set aside now render me useless for hours, and I’ve known that I am just not myself.

I’ve had the sense that my internal resources are being depleted at a faster rate than they are being restored.

It’s so easy as women to put ourselves last. We sacrifice for the ones we love, we deny ourselves pleasure, we push ourselves past the point of physical and mental exhaustion—until we have nothing left to give.


I came to a decision: I was going to be intentional about replenishing my internal resources. I can’t remove the stresses in my life, but I can strengthen myself so I can better deal with those stresses when they come along.

I’ve been making a point of doing things that feed my heart. I’ve taken some nice walks at the nature center. I take pictures and use the ones I like best as a screen saver on my laptop. I make a point to sit outside several times a day, not doing anything but closing my eyes and soaking in the warmth of the sun. I spent several hours over the weekend planting flowers and tomato plants. Several times a day, I wander around outside and look at the plantings to see how things are going.

These are small things, but they help me experience contentment and restoration. About halfway into my flower pots the other day, I realized that at that moment, I was feeling absolutely no stress. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and simply embraced the feeling.

The contentment has allowed me to realize three important lessons:

What I invest myself in gives me great contentment.

We reap what we sow. When I sow my effort and my time into something, what I reap always gives back to me in restorative ways.

Although my flowers aren’t aesthetically pleasing in an artistic way, the sight of them touches my heart. I think about the rest and quiet I experienced in the planting. I consider how lovely it is that God allows me to participate in the continuation of his creation by planting and nurturing, and I admire the beauty in the sight and scent of a flower.

The time and effort of taking a walk gives me an infusion of life as my senses are surrounded by God’s creation. The longer my walk is, the more mentally refreshed I am—even though I may be physically more tired.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6

When I seek quietness, I find quiet.

I can’t remove the stress from my life—but I can find ways to temporarily remove myself from the stress.

God knows the value of rest. I, however, often forget its value. As I seek the quiet, I find the rest that I forgot to give myself. The quiet restores me.

All the things I have implemented to help restore myself remove me from the distractions of other things in my life.

I look for quiet pursuits, and I find the quietness that my heart needs.

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6

Resting in God restores my soul.

My restoration efforts not only remove me from the distractions of my life, they also allow me to withdraw from the presence of other people. In doing so, I am better able to feel God’s presence.

Jesus often went off alone to pray, and that is a good example for me to follow. Although my intentions are just to get away from things and do something refreshing, my solo pursuits always result in time with God. I appreciate what I’m doing. I begin to take relaxing breaths. And suddenly, I know I am with God.

Connecting with God satisfies and restores in a way nothing else does.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish. Jeremiah 31:25


What does all this have to do with marriage?

Those lessons I learned in my pursuit of restorative contentment?

What I invest myself in gives me great contentment.

When I seek quietness, I find quiet.

Resting in God restores my soul.

These lessons are the very things that have made my marriage an island of contentment in the midst of everything else.

I am reaping what I sowed. I invested myself in my marriage—and it is giving back to me.

What I sought, I found. In actively seeking a better marriage, that is exactly what I discovered.

Intimacy with my husband is a spiritual experience for me, and our shared connection helps me feel connected with God. It restores my soul.


It is normal to experience seasons of stress in life. Even during less stressful seasons, we sometimes view our marriages as a source of stress rather than a sanctuary away from it.

How do you see your marriage? If you see it as stress rather than sanctuary, what if you were to apply these lessons?

How can you invest yourself in your marriage?

How are you seeking growth in your marriage?

How do you connect intimately with your husband?

Invest yourself in your marriage. Seek growth. Connect intimately with your husband.

Grow toward a place of contentment in your marriage. When the next season of stress comes along, you will have a sanctuary away from it—and you just may gain some tools to help you deal with some of that stress.

Images by  Chris Taylor

Shared with Real Food and Real Life – Let’s Get Real Friday Party #143 

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One Comment on “What Dealing with Stress Taught Me About Marriage”

  1. My husband got me a hammock for Christmas. We got a new puppy about two months ago which has added to my stress level. So I take the puppy outside to play and when he gets tired I get in the hammock and he lies under the picnic table to chew on his bone. He has also discovered that he likes the hammock too and sometime comes over to have me pick him up to join me. We rock and just soak in the peaceful quietness of the day. It has become my solitude and a time I look forward to each day. In the afternoons I have started taking what ever Bible study I am currently working on, by that time of day the hammock is in the shade so it’s not to bright or hot from the sun. Other members of the family have learned the hammock is a place of peacefulness and take time to themselves there too. It’s amazing how a frame and some cloth can transform your day.

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