If you want to be supportive of your husband while he’s going through a rough time at work, you’re in the right place.
Below is a list of practical tips to ease his burden and show you’re there for him.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary:
- Lend him a listening ear without trying to solve his problems
- Show emotional support and ask questions to help him talk through issues
- Don’t compare your job to his
- Create a safe space to relax and express himself at home
- Be helpful to him—if you don’t know how, ask!
Sometimes stress from work and other areas of life can strain your relationship.
If you’re feeling the pressure, try relationship coach Dr. Lee Baucom’s techniques to change the way you relate to each another to a healthier dynamic in Save The Marriage.
Click the link above to get started now, or keep reading to find out what you can do when your husband is stressed out.
Table of Contents
Recognizing Signs of Stress
Work stress can manifest in surprising ways.
It may affect your husband’s physical, mental and emotional health and can even start to undermine your relationship if it goes unaddressed.
You may see these types of symptoms:
- Physical symptoms – A feeling of heaviness in the chest, increased heart rate or chest pain. Your husband may also experience shoulder, neck or back pain, general body aches and headaches as stress is taxing on the body. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are also typical. Shortness of breath and dizziness may develop as stress increases.
- Mental/emotional stress response – Watch for signs like agitation, restlessness or moody behavior. Your husband may also experience sleep irregularities, such as excessive sleep or insomnia, and changes in eating habits, such as overeating or loss of appetite. Social withdrawal or isolation and depressive thoughts can also be hard-to-recognize signs of chronic stress.
Read Next: Signs of Poor Communication in Marriage
How to Encourage Husband When Work Is Stressful
1. Actively listen
One of the most supportive things you can do for your stressed out husband is listen to him.
You want to listen with all of your attention and give him a platform to speak his mind and express himself.
Especially if you have a normally tight-lipped husband, active listening will encourage him to open up more and get things off his chest.
It can be hard especially when you have busy lifestyles and you’re trying to take care of a million little things, or chasing small children around.
But it’s important to focus on him, turn your body towards him and give him your full attention, because you hold that special place in his life as his wife and support system.
2. Use empathy
Let your husband know that you understand his feelings.
Do this verbally by saying encouraging words like, “I can see how difficult this must be for you,” or “It’s completely normal to feel stressed under these circumstances.”
Validating his feelings like this makes him feel seen and understood, which can go a long way in reducing his overall stress.
3. Don’t compare your situation to his
It’s one thing to commiserate with your spouse, but it’s another to get into a comparison game of who has it worse at work.
If you think telling your husband that you’ve had to deal with far worse is going to make him feel better, it’s actually doing the opposite.
It can be invalidating and take away your husband’s platform to speak about his unique experiences.
So make sure your primary response is to listen and not accidentally refocus the conversation on your experiences.
4. Avoid giving unsolicited advice
When your husband is venting about his stressful day, as hard as it might be, try not to offer unsolicited advice.
Although your intentions may be good, offering solutions without being asked might make him feel like you’re undermining his ability to handle the situation.
Instead, focus on empathizing, and offer advice if he asks for it.
5. Help him reflect on his job experience
Sometimes what your husband needs is to remember why he likes his job—or realize why it might be time to move on.
You can help facilitate that by asking questions that prompt him to think about his work and connect it to his broader goals and desires.
When he’s in a funk and talking about his bad day (again), ask questions like:
“Do you feel like you’re fulfilled at work?”
“Is the work you’re doing helping you get closer to your career goals?”
“How can you change things around at work to take some pressure off of yourself?”
Helping your husband “think out loud” and bounce ideas off of you can help him work out some problems that will make his life better at work.
Or, he might come to realize that he’s not where he wants to be and figure out a plan to align himself with his goals.
6. Create a safe space
It’s important to create a safe and comfortable environment at home where your husband can feel free to share his thoughts and feelings.
Part of this is being attentive and saying some encouraging words so that he feels free to express his concerns without fear of judgment or criticism.
Maybe you could give him some extra TLC and really pamper him during high-stress times by running him a bath.
Even something as simple as giving him a big hug and some kind words every time he comes home can be a powerful gesture that makes him look forward to coming home.
It can also be good for your physical intimacy, if stress from work has been cutting into your intimate time.
7. Develop relaxing habits
Help your spouse cope with work related stress by developing relaxing habits together when he gets home.
Create a sanctuary to escape into by inviting him to sit on the porch with you on a nice day or sit on the couch and listen to music.
Or perhaps you could let your husband decompress by giving him space to do his own thing for thirty minutes to an hour, whether that’s catching up on reading or working on pet projects.
This will help your husband start shifting gears and have an easier time leaving a work mindset at the door when he gets home.
8. Have a relaxing nighttime routine
Poor sleep can reduce your husband’s stress endurance and affect his mood, memory and judgment.
So part of supporting your husband through a stressful time at work is encouraging a healthy nighttime routine.
There are so many ways to incorporate relaxation before bed, from aromatherapy to yoga or meditation.
Take an evening stroll together. Give each other foot massages. Sip herbal tea together.
Watch a show and cuddle on the couch, then put your phones and other screens away and read in bed.
Your husband may get higher-quality sleep and feel like he got special time to share with you before the end of a long day.
9. Exercise together
Exercise is a phenomenal stress buster.
You can help reduce your partner’s stress enormously just by offering to take hikes together, go on bike rides, go kayaking or do any other form of exercise together.
This will do double duty for your relationship as it will cut his stress load and also allow you to spend quality time together and build a stronger relationship.
To really be effective, make sure you’re getting some form of exercise regularly.
By doing it together, you show that you’re being a supportive wife while getting him out of his regular environment to do some serious endorphin-releasing.
10. Assist with tasks where you can
When your husband is dealing with work stress, taking some steps to help with his workload can make a significant difference.
Start by offering to handle some of the chores he might be doing at home, in order to give him some extra time for himself or to focus on his work.
Of course, only offer if this is something you have the bandwidth for—heaping more onto a full plate is not good for your relationship if it backfires by creating too much stress for you.
The point is not to wait on your husband hand and foot, but to do small things for him that show thoughtfulness and foster a sense of teamwork.
Other things you can do are to offer to proofread documents or emails, or be an audience for his presentations and make helpful suggestions.
There might be specific tasks that he’d appreciate help with, so let him know you are open and willing to help.
What Can I Say to Encourage My Husband When Work Is Stressful?
When your husband is feeling overwhelmed by stress, your words can make a significant impact.
Here are some statements you can feel free to take or put into your own words when your husband needs some uplifting:
- “I understand how challenging work can be, and I’m here for you.”
- “I have faith in you.”
- “Remember that time you were in a similar situation? I know you’re capable of handling this.”
- “It’s OK to ask for help.”
- “I will be here no matter what you decide to do. I love you and I care about you.”
- “We’re in this together. We make a great team.”
- “How can I help?
- “I’m proud of you.”
- “I appreciate you.”
- “Let’s get out of the house for a while.”
- “Why don’t we agree to set work aside for the next hour and just enjoy being together?”
- “I know how much time and energy you put into your work. I’m really sorry it didn’t pan out.”
If you take away anything from this article, it’s that the most important thing you can do is listen.
Your husband needs a sympathetic ear, not for you to try to swoop in and save him.
On top of this, you can use words of encouragement and create a sanctuary at home for him by being loving, affectionate and develop relaxing routines together.
Bear in mind that you can’t take all of your spouse’s stress on your shoulders.
But by finding ways to support his mental and emotional health, you can help bolster his resilience so he can get through trying times.
What do you say when your husband is stressed?
The most important things you can say when your husband is stressed are:
- “How are things going? Do you want to talk about it?”
- “That sounds really hard.”
- “Would it help to make your load a little lighter if I did x,y,z?”
- “We are a team. I’m here for you.”
How do I cheer up my husband at work?
First, understand that everyone has different ways of coping with stress.
To cheer up your husband at work, try sending him a thoughtful text or message that can help lighten his mood.
You can also try surprising him with a small act of kindness, such as preparing his favorite meal or leaving a sweet note for him to find at work.
How can I inspire my husband?
Support and encouragement can go a long way in inspiring your husband.
Begin by offering genuine praise and acknowledging his achievements, big or small.
Listen to his dreams and goals, and show genuine interest in what he aspires to do.
Try to be flexible when he needs to make career or life adjustments, while providing him with honest feedback that can help him grow.
And to the best of your ability, try to support his decisions and stand by his side, even during challenging times.
My husband’s work stress is ruining our marriage. What can I do?
If your husband’s stress on the job is bleeding into your marriage and wreaking havoc, then communication is crucial.
Discuss the issue in a calm and supportive manner, expressing your concerns and asking him how you can help.
Encourage him to seek support from other sources too, like friends and loved ones, or even from a professional counselor, if needed.
Be patient and give him space when he needs it, but also set boundaries to protect your own well-being.
For example, you might agree on not discussing work issues during specific times, like during dinner.
If your relationship is in trouble and your husband is constantly stressed, we strongly recommend starting a program like Save The Marriage now to change your dynamics and get a different response from your husband.
Marlene Davis is an experienced blogger with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Her dream is to help improve people's lives and relationships through sharing of practical knowledge and evidence-based practices.