The Marriage Stress Test
The following ‘Marriage Stress Test’ puts our belief systems into four categories, perfectionism, control, people-pleasing and competence. What is your belief system? What we believe will influence how we act and react in life’s circumstances. The belief systems below may not be your usual pattern of thought but may be a pattern you fall into when you are experiencing stress. Answer the questions below honestly. Is some of the stress you experience in marriage the result of your belief system?
- Do you put pressure on your spouse or upon yourself to achieve?
- Do you frequently criticize ore blame your spouse or yourself?
- Do you struggle with disappointment in yourself or in each other?
- Do you feel you are not a good enough spouse no matter how hard you try?
- Do you feel that any lack of control is a sign of weakness or failure?
- Do you have to be perfectly in control at all times, this can also include controlling your emotions?
- Do you find you take on board your spouse's jobs in the home or are you uncomfortable with your spouse's role in the home?
- Do you worry about how your marriage appears to others?
- Does your self-esteem depend on your spouse's opinion of you?
- Do you sometimes avoid doing jobs around the house because you are afraid you will disappoint your spouse?
- Are you better at caring for your spouse or children than caring for yourself?
- Do you keep most negative feelings inside to avoid displeasing your spouse?
- Do you feel you can never live up to your spouse’s expectations?
- Do you rely on your spouse to make all the decisions because you feel your judgment is poor?
- Do you feel you lack the ability to be a good spouse?
- Do you feel like your spouse is lying when they praise you?
Look back over your answers. If you have answered yes to any of the questions then you have encountered an area that could stop you from having the marriage God intended. Our belief system affects our behavior and therefore affects our relationships. Dennis Rainey of Home Builders says “Much of the pressure we feel each day is unavoidable –it’s a part of life. But the decisions we make in response to the situations that cause pressure are critical. We can make decisions that reduce pressure and help us cope with it. Or we can make decisions that make the pressure worse than we are presently feeling.”
When we fall into the traps of perfectionism, control, people pleasing and competence we become reactive instead of proactive.
Be proactive today, together as a couple bring the things that cause you stress to God in prayer. Don’t wait until the problem is at your doorstep. Ask God to help you discern what to do to ease the stress in your lives.
Pause for thought
Matthew 6:25 -34 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
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