Life is stressful. Even if you have a good job, good health, and a good home, everyday tasks still cause tension. When you’re married, the stressors of daily life can slowly take its toll on your relationship.

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A little preventive action might make the difference between a marriage that withstands life’s hardships and a marriage that is lost. If you’re beginning to feel the exhaustion of burnout, or noticing signs that your marriage is weakening, take these steps to de-stress your union and your life.

Comfort First, Solve Second

According to PsychCentral, many spouses fail to prioritize their partner’s emotional needs when facing a conflict. Rather than trying to understand how the other person feels, some partners try to fix the underlying problem immediately. Though root problems should be addressed eventually, take a moment to be emotionally supportive of one another. Before suggesting solutions, first let your partner know they are loved, and try to de-stress. You might notice that brainstorming sessions go more smoothly after a hug and some verbal affection.

Practice Healthy Habits Together

A huge part of stress management is handling your physical well-being first. Take time as a couple to practice healthy nutrition and exercise habits. Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep is also essential to stress management; after all, most Americans (82%) find one extra hour of sleep somewhat or extremely valuable. Eating right, staying fit, getting enough rest might help you and your partner power through your daytime tasks with less stress.

Get Control of Your Material Life, Too

Of all stressors, money and financial issues is the biggest cause of marital tension. Once you’ve cared for your spouse’s emotional and physical health, take the time to get your financial health under control, too. If you can, start working together to develop a savings account with enough cash to cover emergencies. Then, begin working towards other savings goals as a team to achieve sustainable prosperity.

Practice Healthy Communication

Poor communication also causes a huge amount of unnecessary marital tension. In some scenarios, one partner does not even know that the other feels overwhelmed simply because they never told them explicitly. Practice setting aside a few minutes each day to talk about your stress levels and how you feel about your marriage. Avoid handling conflict at night, and instead choose to discuss problems when you both feel rested and have the time to talk, such as a weekend morning. Speaking kindly to one another daily can open the communication pathways necessary for handling stress as a team.

Consider Counseling

Finally, don’t be afraid to enlist professional help. Hiring a counselor early can help mend your relationship before small conflicts become serious rifts. According to BYU psychology professor Scott Braithwaite, some studies have found that premarital counseling decreases the likelihood of divorce by 50%. In other words, counseling even before you get married can prevent divorce, so it is never too early to seek professional advice.

Life is stressful, and sometimes, so is marriage. Take the time to care for your spouse’s emotional and physical wellbeing, and let them do the same for you. With effort and open communication, any couple can become a team that takes on life’s stress side-by-side.

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