When PMS Strikes
The situation may seem all too familiar to you. It's Saturday at 10:00am. Your wife is still in bed. You have your son's basketball game to get to at 11:00am. You gently kiss her on the forehead and remind her that you both need to leave for the game in thirty minutes. She pushes you away and mumbles something about your nagging, and about how she doesn't feel well.
She finally gets out of bed (twenty minutes later), and takes one look in the mirror before whining about how ugly and bloated she feels. You ask her if she'd like some breakfast as she tries to pop that massive zit on her forehead. She says she's fine, but you know better. As you're gathering everything for the game, you sneak in some yogurt and a banana for her.
On the way to the game, you stop to get gas. Then, the earthquake hits.
Your wife blows up. She's mad at you because you didn't think to pack her breakfast (even though you did) and she's upset that you didn't fill the car up last night. You sigh, get out of the car to fill it up, and even go get her a Diet Coke. When you return, she takes the Diet Coke and mutters something under her breath. You obviously can't do anything right in this moment. you're in a lose/lose situation. She doesn't talk to you the rest of the afternoon. She is depressed, irritable, angry, and impatient.
You wonder how long you can put up with her. Your patience is waning, and you have a few names you wish you could call her right about now.
While in this situation you may feel hopeless, don't give up! There is light at the end of the tunnel. According to the Mayo Clinic, three out of every four women experience some form of PMS each month. So, you're not alone. Many couples face this - and make it through it - together! Try these time-tested suggestions for surviving PMS.
For the husband - what can you do?
1. Serve her - Offer to make dinner, clean the bathroom, pick up the dog from doggie day care (it's a real thing, people), leave encouraging notes for her, open her doors, give her a foot rub, etc.
2. Back off a little - Try not to bring up sensitive topics during this time and just back off a little when it comes to making love. Well, don't back off all the way, just ease up a bit. Give her a nice massage.
3. Do things her way - Without complaint. Just smile and go along with it.
4. Keep nurturing your marriage - Plan a creative date-at-home together, bring her flowers, buy chocolate, give her a back rub, start a bubble bath, let her sleep in, try not to complain, etc. See, you're getting good at this - you're a pro!
5. Compliment her - She hates those zits, so don't even mention them (duh!). Be vocal about all the things you love about her and about her body.
6. Listen to her - She will want to talk at odd times. And she will want to cry. Listen. Wipe her tears away. Run your fingers through her hair. Be patient with her.
7. Don't mention PMS - Or blame things on PMS. Just ignore it and recognize it for what it is - a challenge that you can grow from.
For the wife - what can she do?
1. Appreciate your dear husband - Say "thank you," and remember that this time of the month isn't all that fun for him either. Try not to criticize, nag, complain, or be negative. Rather, try to stay positive. And be grateful for all the little things your husband is doing for you.
2. Take it easy and rest up - Don't try and do too much. Recognize the toll PMS takes on you and be gentle on yourself. If you take care of yourself, you'll be better equipped to take care of your husband and family. It's okay to relax for a bit and take it easy, you deserve a break!
3. Think before you speak (or bark, or demand) - Be kind in your communication, even though you don't feel great. Agree not to have important conversations or make big decisions during these two weeks. Remind your spouse that sometimes you aren't in the right mindset and that PMS just isn't the best time for important conversations. Be proactive about having those discussions when you are feeling back to your good-old-self, though.
4. Stay healthy - Consistent exercise and nutritious food may improve your PMS symptoms dramatically. The same is true of going to bed early and getting a good night's rest. Evaluate your current diet and exercise routine and make changes where necessary. Oh, and drink lots of water.
5. Seek medical help if necessary - If you feel like your PMS is out of control, and taking a serious toll on your marriage, talk to your physician about it and see what medical help is available. Track your cycle, sleep habits, stress levels, etc, and look for patterns. Patterns may emerge that help you better understand why PMS is striking you in such a ferocious way.
6. Try not to focus so much on yourself - Find ways to focus on your husband and on others around you. Trying to forget about your own issues and focus on others always seems to help. It may not be easy, but it will make you feel better - at least on the inside.
7. Just cry - Release all those hormones. Try and cry when your husband isn't around, though. He doesn't need the added stress. Just cry it all out and then take a nice, long bubble bath. You're bound to feel better for at least a few hours.
So, even if you feel like an earthquake (one huge emotional eruption and then after-shocks for days), or are married to an earthquake, take heart and realize that there are better days ahead. You can get through this together!
“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”
- Fawn Weaver
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