How Anxiety Disrupts Marriage


Anxiety can cause turmoil in our inner lives and in our marriages, yet it is a battle so many of us deal with everyday. Has your marriage been affected by anxiety? You are not alone and there is hope, right here today, in sharing your burden.

I experience seasons of anxiety. There are times that I am great and can talk myself down from panic and worry, then there are times that anxiety paralyzes me.

I noticed that the strongest moments of anxiety have come directly following the birth of my children. I am sure that hormones play a role in the intensity of anxiety, as does the fact that I am responsible for another life, a vulnerable life. I worry and I stress about every little thing. I think because I am confronted with how little control I actually have in life being as perfect as I want it to be.

For example, I recently gave birth to my second baby and after coming home from the hospital my arm flared up with pain where I had an IV placed. It was red, swollen, hard and extremely painful. I had an ultrasound done and the technician told me I had a blood clot then sent me back to my doctor for treatment options. But can I be honest that between leaving radiology to the time it took to see my doctor I thought I was a ticking time bomb! I was completely consumed with thoughts of the blood clot dislodging and going straight to my brain or heart.

One worry led to another and another.

I was emotional, I was scared, I was frustrated. The car ride to the doctors with my husband was not fun. My anxiety disrupted our marriage, because I let it control me and how I responded to my husband. I didn’t care what he had to say, even his encouraging words seemed to irritate me. I allowed my anxiety to run rampant and it ended up hurting both of us, because from one comment to another we erupted into an argument.

There was no peace in either of our hearts.

I just wanted to cry and my husband just wanted me to be stronger. He didn’t like seeing how much the anxiety of my circumstance burdened me. All I received through my rose colored lens was that he was not being compassionate.

Anxiety makes me ultra sensitive. I seem to take everything my husband does the wrong way when I get overwhelmed with fear.

Just to relieve you from this story my arm is healing just fine and there was nothing serious to fear with the blood clot. I guess the not knowing contributed to how bad the anxiety escalated. After I visited with the doctor my worry dissipated.

(And if you want to hear about the birth story of my daughter click HERE!)

I wanted to share this story of anxiety with you because I know I am not the only one who struggles with anxiety. I think it is important to be aware of how anxiety can disrupt a marriage and really cause a ton of damage when you are sucked into the thick of it, when you let it control you.

Anxiety is inner turmoil. So when you feel anxious and you are stewing in your mind about worse case scenarios, it will affect your mood, your ability to reason, your desire to intimately connect with loved ones and it will feel as if it paralyzes you from doing what you may need to do. At least this is how I would define it. And when these things happen, our spouse is also affected negatively.

I want to remind all of us the good news found in scripture:

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7

When we deny anxiety, we are trusting in God no matter what our circumstances are and we operate in power and love and self-control. And I would assume, based on my own marriage, that we all need to operate more in power and love and self-control. This is where peace and unity will flourish!

I need to remind myself of this often, if not daily, followed by a prayer regarding whatever it is that is triggering the anxiety.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

Don’t allow inner turmoil to negatively affect your marriage! Instead, talk about your feelings calmly with your spouse and trust God no matter what may come!

– Jennifer Smith

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  1. You hit the nail on the head! This is my daily life. I was diagnosed with a GAD (general anxiety disorder) and Lexapro has changed my life. But there is still a daily challenge to make choices in my thinking and turning anxious thoughts into prayers.

    Anxiety in me crippled our whole family. I would encourage those who struggle constantly to seek counseling to find help. A mom so sets the tone for the household, and a constantly anxious mom – well, that is a recipe for a lot of regret.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I have read and heard “a wife/mom sets the tone for the household” several times in the past week. Re-reading it in your comment is just another reminder for me! Thanks!

  2. anxiety has made me crazy I know its happening and sometimes I just cant control it but when I can it usually a quite alone place where I hear nothing my husband and I argue at least every morning before work because I start to feel closed in and my heart starts to race I have terrible thoughts it would be nice to not make every thing a big ordeal I take nothing for the anxiety and choose not to so we suffer.

    thank you for letting me share

    1. Tammy, anxiety is awful and it makes me sad that you all are suffering. I have had success using Young Living essential oils and it maybe something you want to look into.

  3. wonderfully written!!! This is me … You feel all alone in your anxious times. I completely lose control and just snap my family members head off. Not meaning to however I can’t get past the worry. My sweet husband has learned it is the fear that is coming out. My husband and kids are who brought it to my attention that I was hateful when I was worried about something. I’m glad he did because I never put it together that the fear was making me snappy . I now try to repeat scripture over and over and remind myself that I never had control that my life and my families lives are in His hands. He created them and loves them, even more than I do

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! Anxiety is something so hard for those who don’t experience it to understand. I can literally see and feel it driving a wedge in my marriage yet I can’t stop. This has been my focus area recently and I needed to read this for encouragement!

  5. Hello!

    First I want to say that I do struggle with worry that comes from a need to control my life. I get frustrated, snippy and angry when I feel powerless and this post hits that issue spot on.

    However, I have also had 3 very ugly encounters with post partum anxiety and depression, which this post references-and this is a totally different issue. While prayer is a must during any difficulty with life, to try to battle a medical anxiety or depression issue alone is akin to praying for healing for a broken leg while walking on it ignoring the fact that it’s broken. It makes the break worse, and what could have been fixed with a cast and a few weeks of taking it easy can easily turn into a major reconstructive surgery with potentially life long results.

    The first time I had PPD was with my first child. It was almost at the point of being a psychosis, and the exacerbated condition which was marked not only by intense anxiety and parania but also disorientation and lack of maternal bonding was made worse by an inability for my body to collect and use Vit B appropriately.

    The second time, I tried the prayer approach, I shamed myself using much of the same language in your post aspiring to honor God and maintain peace in my family-and it left me in a very scary place I hope never to repeat again.

    The third time I was very pro active. I went on anti-depressants the moment I saw myself slipping again. I reached out to my pastors wife and other trusted friends-at times leaving my life and staying at their homes overnight. (My husband works out of town so I was alone with 3 small children) I went to the ER when my illness reached a tipping point — all of this was humbling, scary, and hard. But it was the only time that I didn’t physically hurt my kids and snap out of it after the fact realizing what I had done-the first time I was able to bond with my baby-to enjoy the first year of life when I barely remember the other 2 first years-

    Treating anxiety and depression that are an illness like an illness is something mothers need to be taught how to do-and not just told to pray more and control their thoughts. Nothing is more scary than feeling like a prisoner to your own mind.

  6. Thank you, I don’t feel so alone in my anxiety, it is a monster that takes hold of my mind and won’t let go but through prayer. Life is hard and crazy at times, we don’t know the future, it’s hard not knowing what will happen, but God is in control! ( I tell myself this all day)

  7. I think this article is somewhat irresponsible. The one thing a person struggling with anxiety doesn’t need is to be told she isn’t trying hard enough to feel “normal” for her husband. You speak of anxiety add though it were something everyone can control and that’s just not the case. Everyone can seek help, but it isn’t just going to go away by wishing or willing.

    1. I agree, and was going to post something similar. This article comes very close to shaming the person suffering. It’s not just about will and prayer. If it cancer, I hope no one would say pray harder.

  8. Thank you for this. I was in tears before reading this and you’re story helped me work through my anxiety today.

  9. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m a newlywed and hubby and I have been experiencing a lot of life’s stresses and my anxiety is high, but this article was a subtle reminder not to let it get the best of me or my relationship. I’m always in such AWE at the patience and love of my husband while I experience great moments of panic and anxiety, I am certainly blessed.
    Anyway, thank you again for your lovely words 🙂 God bless

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