How do you deal with stress? More importantly, how do you deal with your bride when you are stressed?
It is probably normal for many to “shut down” a bit when we are stressed; however, the “normal” response is often not good for our marriage. Ignoring her, finding ways to not be around her much, or simply refusing to talk to her are all harmful to her and to your relationship.
I confess I don’t internally understand shutting down, as I do the opposite (talking till she wishes I would shut up!). My comprehension, based on what others have told me, is that the shutting down is not about others, but about trying to not think about the stressful things. If your bride wants to talk about the stressful things, then being with her means having to deal with something you are trying to avoid. If the stressful things in your life affect your bride, then being with her makes you think of the stressful things because of this.
Think of it from her side for a moment. Being cut out of your life is always painful for her. If she does not understand why you are ignoring her, she will wonder if she has offended you, or if you are mad at her. Even if she understands why, the lack of contact and communication is hurtful to her. Beyond this, the need to communicate will likely increase in times of stress. That means your way of dealing with stress places more stress on your bride. Additionally, your lack of communication means she is left guessing at what is going on, and at how bad it is. Her imagination can run wild, causing her far more fear than the truth ever could.
Bottom line – if stress causes you to withdraw from your bride, that’s a problem. Find a way to deal with stress that does not cut your bride out, or work with her to find a way that the two of you can deal with stressful times in a way that is not harmful to either of you. If you can’t do it alone, but some trained third party help.