Marriage Stress: Husbands A Bigger Source Of Stress Than Kids For Nearly Half Of Moms

Nearly Half Of Moms Stress More About Husband Than Kids

There's no denying the fact that motherhood is stressful: According to a recent TODAY Moms survey, moms on average say their stress level is 8.5 out of 10.

Many survey participants said their husbands weren't doing an equal share of housework and childcare -- even comparing living with a spouse to having an extra child. Whatever their source of stress, the consensus among mothers was that marriage itself is stressful because of the amount of work it requires.

Although a number of studies have linked marriage to better overall health -- including a decreased risk of heart attack and cancer -- these benefits don't seem to extend to those experiencing conflict in their marriage. One study found that a stressful marriage is as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit, and 2005 research from Brandeis University and University College, London also found that spouses in strained marriages are likely to be more stressed during the workday, which could increase the likelihood of stroke and heart disease for both partners.

Kids are likely to be a factor contributing to marital stress, too; a 2009 study found that nine out of every 10 couples say the quality of their relationship declined after the birth of their first child.

Between their spouses and children, the main source of stress for 60 percent of mothers is not having enough time to do everything that they have to do, the TODAY survey found.

Even if marriage can't be stress-free, there are ways to decrease the tension between spouses and to manage stress within families. Joanie Winberg, CEO of the Association of Divorce for Women and Children, recommends five tips for creating a less stressful marriage and preventing divorce, such as planning ahead, keeping a sense of humor and learning to say "no."

"In our busy lives and busy homes, we can always find things we are stressed about," relationship expert Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., tells HuffPost Weddings. "Focus on what works and makes you feel less stressed. Point out how your partner helps when they do, and focus on how each of you can bring less stress into each others' lives. Go with your strengths and remember that you didn't get married to be great roommates. You got married because you loved each other."

Tell us: How do you deal with stress in your marriage? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @HuffPostParents.

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