If you were to ask married couples, who’ve been together for a number of years, that if it takes a lot of work to be in a marriage, they would 100 percent say yes. But being in a marriage while managing anxiety can take even more work. I know because I live it 24/7/365. I’ve lived with anxiety my entire life and will probably always live with it. To be quite honest, I didn’t think I would ever meet anyone in my life that would want to handle the packaged deal that is me and my anxiety.
But then I met my husband and fell in love. For the record, my husband is the the most kind, gentle and patient man. He loves me for who I am — anxiety and all. He has held me when I couldn’t stop my limbs from shaking, practiced breathing exercises with me when I lay awake at night, and told me repeatedly that everything will be okay when I get sucked into negative, vicious thought circles.
Needless to say, my anxiety has played a prominent role in our partnership. So much so that the joke started of how there’s a third person in our marriage and that third person is my anxiety. We even nicknamed it “GAD” which stands for Generalized Anxiety Disorder! I know, it’s slightly corny.
Yes, I take anti-anxiety medication. I have been to therapy at a few different points throughout my life. I also practice regular coping mechanisms, but my close personal friend “GAD” still rears its ugly head from time to time. So what can you do when you share your life with someone else who doesn’t experience the same mental disorder as you? How does it affect your marriage or other important relationships?
Humor, communication, and trust are the three key components when it comes to managing my anxiety and my marriage:
- Humor – Learn to laugh at each other and laugh at yourself. They say laughter is the best medicine so it certainly has to be good for your mental health, too. And sometimes, anxiety can be really funny, especially if you look back at the moment when you were freaking out and realize that folding the bath towels one way or another doesn’t really matter. Sorry, husband.
- Communication – Talk to each other and do a check-in every now and then. Also, make sure to listen to your S.O. about their pressures or strains in their lives, too. Just because my anxiety is ramped up all the way, my husbands could be, too, and if I can’t be there to listen to him, how can I expect him to do the same?
- Trust – Probably the most important component. Why? If one of your closest personal relationships does not have trust, one of the cornerstones of the foundation that is your life will crumble and so will you. Let peace grow from a stable and secure place.
These elements are the foundation to a solid support system. Once you’ve got a style and pattern down with your partner, you can start to add these factors:
- Let Your Partner See You As Supportive Spouse – Be deliberate in being “the rock,” sometimes. Your partner might feel reluctant to burden you with worries, so make sure he/she knows that it doesn’t matter how big or small their struggles are, you can be the supportive one, too.
- Get Your Self-Help on Together – My husband and I recently returned from our honeymoon to Maui and we both were able to indulge in amazing massages. Now, obviously, most of us aren’t on our honeymoon every week, but every now and then, make sure to do self-care things together. Light a candle to Netflix and Chill, go for a walk, treat yourselves to a delicious meal you don’t cook yourself, get massages, or give each other massages which can lead to…
- Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby – Sex can be a major stress reliever. Not always, but certainly sometimes it can be. Enjoy each other, focus on each other and remember sex can be fun. So, you know, grab the whipped cream, or blindfolds, or whatever your thing is and get to it.
Ultimately, I know my anxiety isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but I also know I have a partner who will stand by me and support me throughout this crazy journey. My anxiety might not be gone for good, but I will certainly be ready to face anything that comes my way by myself or with my partner by my side.
Finding ways to take better care of your marriage? Let us know by shooting us a DM on our Insta @TheChillTimes
[Editor’s Note: Since we’re not know-it-alls, always make sure to consult with a doctor before trying anything new. We’re here to guide and provide information that could potentially help, but each person is different so do what’s right for you!]