Many married couples lose sight of what a happy and stress-free marriage is when they run into problems - loss of employment, financial difficulties and problems with their children or a sick relative. These situations can suddenly turn a relatively calm marriage into an overwhelming one.

In the eight years of marriage, my husband and I experienced our share of unpleasant situations which caused a high level of stress. In the midst of trying to resolve the matters, we forgot how to have fun and enjoy marriage. We allowed these situations to consume us. Even the littlest thing caused stress and tension. The last time we ran into an unexpected incident with our house, we realized stressing the situation wasn't going to resolve anything. It actually makes matters worse. We mutually decided to change our position on how we handled the issue and tackle it with a stress-free attitude.

Being stressed does not allow you to think or react clearly. One bad situation causes everything around you to appear just as bad. Instead of living a stressful marriage, exercise the following four tips toward a stress-free marriage.

1. Do not exaggerate the situation.

My husband and I were guilty of exaggerating a few matters. If something broke around the house, we immediately turned on our dramatics. We reacted as if the end of the world was near and there was no solution. Now, if something happens around the house or with a family member, we take a few steps back and discuss the situation calmly. Even when a situation is of a serious nature (a family member is ill) we try not to panic. Without a clear mind in place, we will fail to find the best solution at that moment. If you and your husband come across a problem, try not to overstress. It will definitely not help in the solution process.

2. Tell the truth.

Sometimes you say half the truth to your spouse. Perhaps something occurs with your child that you choose not to discuss because you do not want to worry him. However, that's not a good idea. What happens if your spouse discovers the entire truth down the road? Negative repercussions will follow. Stress will build along with lack of trust.

3. Together, keep a close eye on the budget.

Finance is a key stress factor in a marriage. Many couples have one person in charge of the budget. If that is the case, the other person should familiarize himself with the budget as well. It's important both parties be involved in all financial decisions to avoid budgetary conflicts.

4. Make time for each other.

If you have children, find a trustworthy babysitter and go out on a date. Put your problems aside for a few hours and have fun. Enjoy a romantic dinner, take a nice stroll in the park or have a movie night at home. Bring back the spark in your marriage. Just because you are having a little fun and enjoying each other's company, does not mean you are undermining your problems. You are simply giving yourselves a time out.

Marriage is a beautiful sacrament that should not endure anything other than peace and tranquility. When you feel the stress building, take a step back and think things through before reacting. As long as you and your spouse are on the same page and clearly think things through, everything will work out in the end.

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