Men and women deal with stress differently

June 13, 2011

in Communication, Good Marriage

Couple stressed over money © Scott Griessel | Dreamstime.com

The article When Stressed, Men Charge Ahead, Women More Careful, does not have what I would call surprising news. In short, men and women respond to stress differently, with men acting more quickly and taking more risks, while women hold back. Most of us have experienced this often enough that we assume it to be true. What I find useful about this study is that it found that men and women think more similarly when not stressed than when they are stressed. This is a brain-based difference, so it’s very difficult to overcome.

As the article suggests, dealing with things as a couple during stress is probably a bad plan. Your brains are working in less similar ways when stressed than when you are not. That means talking and joint decision making is going to be more difficult when you’re both stressed. If possible, wait until the stress passes, and then talk and work through things.

I would also think that the way men react to stress actually causes more stress for their wife. Stress causes her to want to slow down, and his faster than usual actions will worry her. Sometimes a fast action or decision is necessarily – but when it’s not necessary it would be far better for the marriage to wait. When the stress passes, she is more likely to agree with you; even if she does not agree, she is not going to react as strongly as she would while stressed.

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Image Credit: © Scott Griessel | Dreamstime.com

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