Of all the things that can threaten marriages, unpredictability and mood swings are one of the worst. It can come in many forms, from mental health problems to addiction, anger issues to basic dishonesty – but they all boil down to inconsistency and unpredictability.
When you don’t know what to expect from day to day or moment to moment, it’s hard to develop the trust and stability necessary for a healthy relationship.
When unpredictable behavior develops later in the marriage, it can be even more concerning. It may feel like you no longer know your spouse, that you have to walk on eggshells whenever you’re together, that anything could set them off… Today, we want to look at a specific way this happens in marriages: mood swings in women.
Now, we don’t mean to single the ladies out here – but there are some factors that may affect women more severely, especially with age, that make women particularly susceptible to developing mood swings. So, that’s where our focus will be for today!
It’s easy to understand how mood swings can cause problems in a marriage. Whether it’s sudden sadness or seemingly unprovoked anger, or any other unpredicted mood or reaction, it’s going to cause some kind of disruption. Anger will lead to arguments, sadness can lead to apathy or drag the marriage into a state of depression, and even manic states of happiness or “highs” can cause trouble because they may be too intense.
But to resolve such problems, it’s important to figure out what’s causing them. Diagnosing some causes are far easier than others, and a wide range of factors can influence mood. It won’t always be easy to tell what’s causing the mood swings, but these are a few good places to start.
One of the most common reasons for mood swings in women is, of course, menopause. The chemical changes that happen in the body and brain during menopause can have a direct effect on mood, leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, aggression, and so on. Not every menopausal woman will experience these emotional side effects, but even the physical changes occurring can lead to stress and anxiety – which in turn affects mood.
In a general way, stress can cause moods to fluctuate unpredictably all on its own. It could be work-related, not enough sleep, or even problems in the marriage – and the unmitigated stress is causing uncontrolled mood swings.
In more severe cases, mood swings can also be a sign of some form of mental illness or psychological disorder. Bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and many other disorders are characterized by mood swings or extreme highs and lows – simply as a matter of brain chemistry! This is nothing to be ashamed of, and unfortunately, far too many people allow mental health issues to go undiagnosed, meaning their symptoms remain unchecked, often doing damage to all types of relationships.
So, what can be done?
First and foremost, you have to recognize – together – what’s going on. You have to admit that mood swings are happening, and agree that you want to do something about it. The next step is diagnosis. You can start with your best guess: if you recognize some of the other common symptoms of menopause, tell your doctor you think you’re experiencing menopause related mood swings (or ask your wife to tell her doctor).
With potential mental health problems or psychological disorders, encourage your spouse to seek the help of a professional! It might be tough at first, but allowing yourself to open up, admit what’s going on, and make moves toward treatment can be the determining difference between reducing mood swings and letting the problem consume your marriage.
If you think it’s stress, take steps to help your spouse reduce their stressors each day. Finding time to relax, meditating, getting more exercise, making positive changes to diet, getting more sleep, and a wide range of other techniques are helpful in reducing the effects of stress. Try some out!
It’s also worth considering if the marriage itself is the cause of the stress – and if so, getting on the same page about what needs to improve within the relationship. A stable home life and a loving relationship may be just the right ingredients for overcoming stress and regaining control of mood.
Mood swings and unpredictability can be marriage killers, but if you are willing to take stock of what’s happening, look for some causes, and take steps toward treating the problem for what it is, you don’t have to let your relationship be torn apart by uncertainty and unnecessary conflict.
The only way to resolve these kinds of problems is to face up to them – so don’t just let mood swings push you apart without doing something about it!