Maybe it’s a problem at work, difficulty in a relationship, or a health challenge, but chances are there will be times when your spouse is discouraged and down in the dumps. Their depression impacts your marriage.
I’m not a counselor or doctor, and in this blog post I am not referring to depression that requires counseling or medical treatment. But I do offer these seven general things you might do when your spouse is blue:
1. Be concerned.
People are affected by difficulties in different ways; here are some of the signs that someone might be dealing with depression. Take note if you observe any of these symptoms in your spouse. With your support, they may come through on their own in due course, but if things don’t improve after a while, you may want to suggest they see a counselor or a doctor. If so, remind them that seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of; you wouldn’t expect them to just “walk it off” if they had a broken leg. They’d need crutches and a cast. In the same way, therapy or, in some cases, medication could help.
2. Be steady.
Show your concern, but don’t overreact. While you want to be empathetic to their emotions, you don’t want to allow them to swamp your boat, too. Someone needs to be the solid, steady person in their world when it feels everything else is in disarray or all wrong. Your dependability can be an anchor for them, even if they are not aware of it.
3. Be supportive.
Acknowledge how they feel, and let them know that it’s okay for them to be affected by the situation they are dealing with. Don’t dismiss their concerns as trivial, even if they may seem so to you. Guys, we especially should be careful to avoid our masculine temptation to want to fix things by offering solutions before they are asked for.
4. Be understanding.
Strong feelings are often driven by subtle, unrecognized factors, just as unseen strong winds create waves. Ask open-ended questions to try to get inside your spouse’s thoughts and feelings and see things better from their vantage point. This may help them get a truer perspective, and will also put you in a better place to offer some ideas and advice when input is requested. At the right time, you might want to suggest they try 3 Actions to Take When Feeling Worthless.
5. Be affirming.
Help them keep some perspective. Remind them gently that, though it may feel that everything is wrong, that’s not the case. Don’t try to do this by lecturing, but by speaking appreciatively of them. Remind them of some of the ways they make your life richer and fuller, and your children’s, if you have them. You might want to think of ways you can employ these 2 Powerful Words That Can Transform Your Relationship.
6. Be patient.
Sometimes it just takes a while for the emotional waves to subside, so don’t tell them to snap out of it. This is when you need to show patience and kindness—the kind of enduring love found in these 7 Musts For Your Marriage. But your spouse’s depression may impact you. If so, you may want to find a good friend you can talk with to be a support to you as you support your spouse.
7. Be creative.
Find ways to bring a little light into their dark days. Pick up some of their responsibilities to ease their load; give them a spa or fishing day to relax and recharge, or arrange a surprise date. Text them words of encouragement. Leave notes of love and affirmation where they may find them unexpectedly, in their sock drawer or stuck to the steering wheel of the car.
While depression can be destructive, it can also be turned into a positive thing if handled correctly. Your spouse may learn more about themselves, and you have the opportunity to demonstrate your unconditional love for them, drawing you closer together. Growing Through Depression is possible.
While depression can be destructive, it can also be turned into a positive thing if handled correctly.
Have you faced depression in your marriage? How have you navigated those waters? Share your thoughts and experiences here.