Most marriages don’t do well under the weight and strain of a spouse’s depression. The spouse who lives with their partner’s depression struggles to support their spouse, hoping to persuade him or her to get help, while dealing with their own unmet emotional needs. The impact of depression on love and intimacy can be profound and destructive.
What relationship wouldn’t be affected by the insomnia, irritability, decreased energy and changes in sex drive that often accompany depression?
Still, one partner’s struggle with depression doesn’t have to signal the death knell of their marriage, especially if partners see depression as a part of their unified story or a life challenge to overcome.
Listed below is some advice for helping a spouse face the realities of depression in a marriage:
Stay Focused on the Real Problem
- Teamwork. Depression is the enemy, not your spouse. Do what you can to tackle the depression together.
- Resist resentment. It’s easy for a relationship to get smothered by depression’s blanket of negativity. Be conscious of your feelings of distance, anger, or shame, but don’t let them come between you and your spouse, or your need to seek help.
- Be a voice in the darkness. Gently express concern and suggest ways to seek help.
- Don’t judge. Have an open mind, and listening ear. Reserve judgment until later, despite the alarming things your spouse may say during a depressive episode.
Seek The Appropriate Help, Provide Appropriate Information
- Go to the doctor together. You will have insights and observations that will prove valuable to a physician or psychotherapist.
- Inform the kids. Sensitively allow children to know what is happening with the depressed parent.
Support Your Spouse Well
- Be patient. Treatment through talk therapy and medication takes time.
- Be understanding. Depression is episodic. Allow for ups and downs in your relationship. It’s best to do relationship work when the depressed spouse feels better.
Read the entire article here: 8 Tips for Dealing with a Depressed Spouse
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