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How to Reduce Stress in a Relationship

These ideas for reducing stress are inspired by Jack’s Parable about trust and by a reader’s request for tips on how to reduce stress in a relationship, on 10 Warning Signs of a Bad Relationship. If you’re stressed as a couple, you need to find ways to manage your emotions before they have a negative effect on your relationship.

reducing relationship stressAn effective physical way to reduce stress is with an Aromatherapy Pure Therapeutic Essential Oil Set – Lavender, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Orange, and Peppermint scents. When you’re having a difficult conversation with your partner, sit in a room with diffused peppermint oil. It’ll help keep your emotions balanced and your mood lifted, even if you’re discussing stressful topics such as finances, relationship issues, or family difficulties.

My tips on how to reduce stress in a relationship include a variety of physical, emotional, and spiritual ideas. They range from playing board games to looking outwards and upwards for sources of strength and power. If you can find creative ways to reduce relationship stress, you’re more likely to connect and bond as a couple.

First, Jack’s Parable about trust in relationships. Then, my tips on reducing stress…

Jack’s Parable

A man named Jack was walking along a steep cliff one day when he accidentally got too close to the edge and fell. On the way down he grabbed a branch, which temporarily stopped his fall. He looked down and to his horror saw that the canyon fell straight down for more than a thousand feet. He couldn’t hang onto the branch forever, and there was no way for him to climb up the steep wall of the cliff.

So Jack began yelling for help, hoping that someone passing by would hear him and lower a rope or something. “HELP! HELP! Is anyone up there? “HELP!” He yelled for a long time, but no one heard him. He was about to give up when he heard a voice.

“Jack, Jack. Can you hear me?”

“Yes, yes! I can hear you. I’m down here!”

“I can see you, Jack. Are you all right?”

“Yes, but who are you, and where are you?

“I am the Lord, Jack. I’m everywhere.”

“The Lord? You mean, GOD?”

“That’s Me.”

jacks parable of trust

Jack’s Parable image by martinkropf via DeviantArt

“God, please help me! I promise if, you’ll get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person. I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.”

“Easy on the promises, Jack. Let’s get you off from there, then we can talk.”

“Now, here’s what I want you to do. Listen carefully.”

“I’ll do anything, Lord. Just tell me what to do.”

“Okay. Let go of the branch.”


“I said, let go of the branch. Just trust Me. Let go.”

There was a long silence.

Finally Jack yelled, “HELP! HELP! IS ANYONE ELSE UP THERE?”


How to Reduce Stress in a Relationship

Read Jack’s Parable out loud to your partner. Use different voice inflections and volumes to reflect God and Jack, and pause dramatically in key areas of the parable. Have fun with it! See how it feels to tell your partner something funny.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if simply reading Jack’s Parable out loud to your partner was a simple first step towards learning how to reduce stress in a relationship? It could be, if you give it a chance.

Find ways to have fun as a couple

One of the best tips for reducing stress in relationships is to laugh together! Find something funny in your behavior as a couple, or the actions of the people or circumstances that are stressing you out. Laughter releases healthy endorphins in your body and brain, and unites you as a couple. Having fun together creates bonds that will help you cope with the relationship stress you feel.

If you and your partner don’t have enough fun together, read 5 Puzzle Games for Couples to Play Together.

Wink or whistle at your partner

I’m starting to wink at my husband – and my friends – during our conversations. I’m surprised at how light and playful it makes me feel, and I know it’s a simple tip on how to reduce stress in a relationship! I’m not saying you should wink at your spouse when you’re fighting about money, sex, or who’s picking up the kids after school. Just wink at him the next time you’re having a superficial conversation. You’ll be surprised at how it make you – and him – feel.

You might also try whistling at him once in a while.

Start dealing with your stress as a couple

“Deep down, most of us know what we need to do about stressful situations,” says Christine Hohlbaum in 10 Creative Ways to Reduce Relationship Stress. “But we procrastinate. We ignore our stressors, which can lead to paralysis. This creates even more stress.”

Hohlbaum recommends what she calls “fishing or cutting bait.” This tip on how to reduce stress in a relationship is about dealing with the cause of your stress or eliminating it altogether. And, don’t get caught up in finding the perfect solution to your problems. “Simply moving forward puts the ball in motion,” says Hohlbaum. “This leads to more action, which will ultimately solve the problem.”

Commit yourself to taking one action step

Action steps that will help reduce stress in a relationship include:

How to Reduce Stress in a Relationship

How to Reduce Stress in a Relationship

  • Getting away for the weekend
  • Playing Frisbee or catch in the park
  • Walking the dog together (though this is sometimes a source of stress in my relationship!)
  • Confronting issues head on
  • Talking to a counselor
  • Going to church together
  • Getting involved in your community as a couple
  • Learn 5 habits of a healthy marriage
  • Take a yoga or tai chi class together

How you reduce relationship stress depends on what you’re stressed about. Housework, sex, childcare issues, body image, in-laws, health problems, work, school – there are hundreds of potential stressors! How you manage your stress depends on what the stress is…and what your source of strength, energy, and power is.

Find healthy ways to reduce stress in a relationship

If you rely on yourself, your marriage, or your possessions to provide you with energy and sustenance, you’ll soon find yourself more stressed than before. That’s why I chose Jack’s Parable to help illustrate these tips on how to reduce stress in a relationship. The only long-term solution to relationship stress is to trust God, to listen for His whispers, and to develop a connection to your spiritual side that will sustain you no matter what happens.

If the stress you feel as a couple is leading you toward anxious thoughts and behaviors, read How to Stop Relationship Anxiety.

I welcome your thoughts on how to reduce stress in a relationship. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share what you’re experiencing.

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My prayer for you is that you find healthy ways to deal with your relationship stress. May you turn to God, and know that He will never misdirect or mislead you. May you feel the peace and love only He can offer, and may that peace and love extend to all your relationships. Amen.

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