My Wife is Always So Stressed

It seems that my wife is always stressed.  Whether it is because she takes too much on, has trouble planning her time, procrastinates, doesn't know when things she is doing are "good enough" or a combination of all of these (which I suspect), the fact is, she is always very stressed.  I, on the other hand, am almost never stressed.  I have arranged my life so that I have minimal stress.  I know how to say no and set limits, and I am a very good judge of what I can accomplish in a given amount of time, know how to build in "cushions" for the unexpected, etc.  Balance of work, church, getting together time, quality time with my wife, and down time is very important to me, and usually I am usually able to achieve it.

My issue is - my wife's stress is causing ME stress, and I'm not sure what to do about it.  If I could just detach and let her be stressed, I would.  That is very difficult, though, because she often yells when she is frustrated.  Not at me necessarily, but she just yells.  Just this second - she is doing something on her computer in the other room and something frustrated her and she yelled "This guy is an IDIOT!"  I can't help but hear her when she does this, and it really bothers me to hear her yelling.  I have asked her not to do it, and I'm pretty sure she is doing less of it, but she just can't seem to help herself and she still yells too much from my point of view.

Or she snaps at me when I say something to her, if I ask her what she is working on, or offer to help, or whatever.  I'm usually pretty good at ignoring when she does this, but not always.  Earlier tonight, when she was working on something and was telling me about some other things she had to do, I asked "Did you send that email to so and so yet?  She snapped "No!  I didn't have any time today."  So I said - "I'd be happy to send it." She again snapped how that wouldn't work because . . . .   I said something like "I wish you wouldn't snap at me.  I was just trying to help."  She said "I know you were.  I'm sorry."  And so it feels like I have to walk on egg shells all the time.

And then while I was making dinner, I had to listen to her rant and rave in frustration.  When I asked her to please not yell, because it bothered me and I couldn't leave the room because I was making dinner, her reply was "You are asking an awful lot from me."

Or when we have somewhere to go, she stresses about needing to finish whatever she is working on before we leave.   Like tonight, we had choir practice at church and I said "I'd like to leave at 7."  It was clear she wouldn't be ready by 7, so I said "Why dont 'we take seperate cars, then?"  She said "good idea."  I left at 7 and she never made it.  When I got home she said "I didn't make it."  I said "I noticed."  She then told me how much she still has to do, kind of complaining about what she HAS to do tonight.  I just said "It's probably good you didn't come then."

So, my wife's stress is beginning to spill over to me, in that I get the brunt of her feeling stressed - having to hear her complain about all she HAS to do (translate "has taken on"), hearing her rant and rave when she gets frustrated when things don't work right on the computer, or when they take longer than she thinks they should, etc.  Having to go places without her - like both Saturday and Sunday this weekend she has to bag on plans we made with friends both nights because she has so much she has to get done by Monday.  I'll go without her, but still, I'd rather us go as a couple.  Last weekend I almost ended up going away By myself for a weekend getaway we had planned more than a month ago because she had to get the taxes done and had left them until Thursday!  (Do you know how hard it was for me not to nag her to start them weeks ago??)  She ended up taking off work to do them, and still didn't finish them - that's one of the things she will be doing tonight, since tomorrow is April 15.

I am finding it becoming more and more difficult being around her when she is so stressed and overworked.  But, I am also concentrating on not nagging, not complaining, not fixing, not controlling, etc.  And besides, there really is nothing I can say to her about her procrastinating, setting limits, planning her time better, etc., that I haven't said already.  And she doesn't seem to want ot hear my genuine offers of help.  (I have tried "would you like my help" and "would you like my advice" and "what can I do to help?"  So usually all I say now is "I'm sorry you are feeling so stressed, honey."  And I try to avoid her and go off and do my thing.  And I wonder -is this what it has come to, my avoiding my wife because I don't enjoy being around her?