Gender Gender

What is causing blowups in our marriage?

Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
Dear Raphael and Namukolo,
WE have been married for 28 years now and we have three children. We have not experienced any major problems in the past but now we seem to have hit some turbulence. We seem to be quarrelling over things which until now were straight forward issues. It seems difficult to agree on anything and irritability is now the order of the day. What can be causing these blow ups as we do not seem to have any major problems? VP.

Dear VP,

With time, marriage like everything else, undergoes its own wear and tear and requires some kind of maintenance. Like a river which has got different stages of development marriage similarly has its own phases which need to be understood and managed.
After so many years of being married there are a number of things that can go wrong in the background which can cause turbulence. Let us examine some of them.
Firstly, there is the natural process of aging and its effects. With age may come health challenges. You may develop poor memory, your eyesight and hearing might deteriorate. Or you might develop some chronic disease like high blood pressure or diabetes. The medication to some of these diseases can also produce negative side effects. The situation is made worse if firstly you have not yet discovered that you have these conditions and secondly even if you might have discovered you are still ignorant about how they affect your body. As a result of these natural conditions, your performance as a couple in various areas of human endeavour might drop, creating undue tension if not well understood. Although there is a common saying to the effect that life starts at 40, it is actually many health challenges which begin to surface after 40.
Another effect of age is menopause for our womenfolk. Menopause is that time in a woman’s life when hormonal changes cause the menstrual cycle to stop. For most women, it happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Hormonal changes may begin years before, during what is known as perimenopause. It starts when one’s ovaries cut back on production of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and the ovaries release eggs less often. Although menopause is a completely natural stage of a woman’s life cycle and not a disease, a series of uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms usually accompany it. The hormonal changes of menopause can make some women feel irritable and cause mood swings. They might also have a little trouble concentrating. If symptoms are severe, medical intervention may be helpful.
Men do not experience menopause, but they do go through something called “aging male syndrome,” or “andropause.”
Production of the male hormone testosterone ramps up during puberty. According to Harvard Health Publications, by the time a man reaches age 40, testosterone production begins to fall by about 1 percent per year. As they get older, lower levels of testosterone may affect sex drive. If it falls too low, it may cause erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of energy, and decreased muscle mass and bone density. Other effects of low levels of testosterone include weight gain, hair loss, night sweats, hot flashes, low libido, memory loss, insomnia, irritability and fatigue.
According to research declines in testosterone begin in a man’s late 20s and continue to recede, reaching noticeably low levels around middle age, when men begin to experience symptoms of andropause or low testosterone.
Secondly, apart from age related issues, challenges can arise from stress inducing lifestyles. Stress can be work or business related; it can come as a result of trying to solve family or financial problems; and the behaviour of the children is another possible cause etc.
The effects of stress are many and they can be physical or emotional. They include:
Frequent headaches, neck ache, back pain, insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams, excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness, increased anger, frustration, hostility, depression, frequent or wild mood swings, suicidal thoughts, etc.
And so in addressing your growing marital blow ups VP, you must firstly be knowledgeable. Take time to understand the changes taking place in your own body and life and in that of your partner. Do not relate to each other on assumption that all is well.
Avoid reacting negatively to any bad behaviour from your spouse. Resolve conflicts as they arise and do not allow them to accumulate.
Start having regular medical check-ups as well as recreational activities.
Bring up and frankly discuss the issues you are differing over.
Cultivate your faith in God. The peace that God gives to his children enables them not to be overcome by a life of anxiety and stress.
Isaiah 26:3 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Nehemiah 8: “The joy of the LORD is your strength.”
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