Depression can be a serious problem. It is not something to be taken lightly. What to do when your wife is depressed? Here are six things to avoid, and six things you should do to help.
Depression is a very real and serious problem for many people, and if you are married to someone who is depressed, you will likely also be affected. If your wife is depressed, she will likely be dealing with her own feelings of sadness and worthlessness, and your relationship may suffer as a result. While it is important for you to understand that your wife’s depression is not your fault, it is important that you take steps to help your marriage heal.
If your wife is depressed, it’s imperative that you understand this and do everything you can to become educated on the subject. Many men don’t recognize their wife’s depression and underestimate its effects on the relationship. Depression affects each person differently, so while one woman becomes overly emotional and depressed, another may become withdrawn or angry.
Note: The material in this article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat depression. We encourage our readers to seek medical and professional help when dealing with life altering issues.
In This Article
- Signs of Depression
- 6 Thing You Should Not Do If Your Wife Is Depressed
- 6 Things To Do For Your Wife If She Is Depressed
- Final Thoughts on What To Do When Your Wife Is Depressed
Signs of Depression
It is imperative that you take the time to learn how depression affects your spouse. This way, you can better understand what her problem is and why she may be choosing to turn away from you.
Depression is often difficult to diagnose. If you are dealing with a loved one you think is battling depression, this short list will help you understand the signs and symptoms of depression.
- Unexplained crying spells or persistent sadness.
- Withdrawal from friends, family and activities.
- Appetite and/or weight changes.
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue. (If you find yourself having to sleep more to have the energy to get through the day, you might need to see a doctor.)
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
- Irritability or restlessness. (Difficulty sitting still for long periods of time.
- Persistent thoughts of death, dying or suicide. (This is not the same as having suicidal thoughts. With depression, thoughts of death and dying are far more prevalent than actual suicidal thoughts.)
- Dramatic mood changes.
The most important thing you can do for your wife (and yourself) is seek professional, medical help. Even mild depression can have serious affects on you and your spouse.
Let’s talk about some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ when Dealing with a Spouse Who is Depressed
6 Thing You Should Not Do If Your Wife Is Depressed
Keep these six things in mind if your spouse is experiencing depression.
1. Don’t Diagnose Her
It’s tempting to try and figure out the reason your spouse is depressed. Even professionals have a difficult time diagnosing problems (and it often takes months to get to the bottom of things), you will not be able to accurately isolate the problem and offer a cure.
Your role is supportive. Not diagnostic. Do what you can to love them well, and allow professionals to delve into the causes and root problems.Your role is supportive. Not diagnostic. Do what you can to love them well, and allow professionals to delve into the causes and root problems. Click To Tweet
2. Don’t Try To Fix Them
This goes hand-in-hand with the above. Your job as a spouse is to support, love, and help heal. But don’t confuse healing (in this sense) with trying to fix them.
It does no good to constantly recommend remedies you think will work.
I’ve witnessed spouses offering help that create more frustration and tension.
Don’t say things like:
- Why don’t you try reading something positive each morning!
- Have you tried exercising more to burn off some that depression?
- Maybe you should eat more protein and less carbs. I’ve heard that helps.
I could go on but you get the point. Healing means you love them unconditionally and treat them with respect and understanding. It does not mean you play the role of ‘arm-chair psychologist.’
3. Don’t Take it Personal
If your spouse turns away, don’t assume that depression will force her to stop loving you. It’s quite common for a woman suffering from depression to withdraw from her husband and children. While it is painful, it is a symptom of depression. Don’t take it personal.
If she does complain about you, don’t take it to heart. More than likely she doesn’t mean it. Depression causes people to think irrationally, so her complaints are not indicative of the truth.
4. Don’t Avoid the Obvious
Most people struggling with depression don’t want to talk about it. However, at times it feels like the proverbial elephant in the room. If so, address it. But do it with kindness and compassion.
Sometimes it’s wise to overlook a situation. Other times you need to bring it up. Discerning when and how to respond can be challenge. One way to take the pressure off is to be transparent with your wife.
Perhaps simply letting her know you care and want to help will ease tension. One way to put it is:
“I want you to know I love with all my heart. I care that you are going through this dark time. I want to help, but I’m not sure what to do. If there is something you need from me, I am more than willing to give it. I want us to work together to make life everything you deserve and desire.”
The main thing to remember is you are partners. Not enemies. Don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong. Face the elephant but do it with compassion.If you are genuine and authentic, you will help be a bridge to emotional health, and not a stumbling block. Click To Tweet
If you are genuine and authentic, you will help be a bridge to emotional health, and not a stumbling block.
5. Don’t Let Things Go Too Far
There comes a point when you need to take action to get her the help she needs. Mental health issues should not be taken lightly. As her partner, there may come a time when you have to take control to get her appropriate help.
You can talk to a counselor online here.
6. Don’t Give Up
Finally, don’t give up on your marriage. While depression can bog a marriage down, it doesn’t mean your spouse is giving up on you.
If you have chosen to love her unconditionally, then do that. One way to remind yourself of this is to keep the symbol of your commitment close by. A wedding ring or other reminder can serve as a daily reminder of how much you love her and why you chose to bind yourself to her for better or worse (including now).
It’s More Than Just Marriage Rescue. It’s About Marriage Revived!
Who wants to be in a “mediocre” marriage relationship?
Most couples believe that their marital problems mean that they are destined to, at best, have an “okay” marriage. This could not be further from the truth. You don’t have to settle for anything less than the marriage relationship of your dreams!
6 Things To Do For Your Wife If She Is Depressed
Now that we’ve discussed things not to do, let’s talk about a few things you should do to help your spouse. We’ve already hinted at many of these, so this will be a reminder.
1. Love Them Unconditionally
This is perhaps the most important of all. No matter what they say or do, you must love them unconditionally.
Put your ego aside and let them know what they mean to you and how much you love them. This is one of the best ways to help heal a struggling marriage.
2. Find Out Help Options
If she’s resistant to talking, it might be best for you to initiate a session with a counselor together.
There are many help options available online. A good place to start is TalkSpace. Your wife may need medical treatment, but this is a good place to start if you don’t know what to do next.
3. Work Together On Self-Care
It’s important to remember that you and your spouse have needs, too. In fact, you may have needs that are even greater than hers.
If she is struggling with depression and unable to take of herself effectively, then it’s on you to make sure your needs are met.
4. Listen and Offer Support
Remember, you can’t ‘fix’ her. Your job is to support. The best way to offer support is to listen without judgment. Not every vent is meant to lead to a solution. Sometimes your spouse just needs to get things off her chest, and that’s ok.
5. Be Consistent
Stability comes in part from consistency. It can be taxing on you emotionally when your spouse slips into depression. it is tempting to respond by being moody and irritated. This is counter-productive.
It’s ok to feel frustrated, but don’t let your emotions get the best of you. It’s also important not to set a precedent by cancelling plans or refusing to spend time together.
6. Offer Touch
Non-sexual, physical touch is powerful. We were designed for contact. One way to offer support is to offer physical touch. Simply holding hands can be a bridge to emotional stability.
Final Thoughts on What To Do When Your Wife Is Depressed
It is not easy to know waht to do when your wife is depressed. It’s equally hard to watch someone you love struggle with intense sadness and hopelessness. Even more so when your efforts seem ineffective.
The warning signs of depression we listed will help you identify people with depression. We also listed six things you can do for your depressed partner, and six things you should avoid doing to your spouse.
Your wife may be in a place where she cannot see the good in things. She can’t imagine a change in her circumstances or a bright future.
You can be a great help to her by being present. Be authentic and listen. If you have other ideas or thoughts about how to get through the depression, offer them in a non-judgmental way.
6 Things you should avoid if your spouse is depressed:
- 6 Thing You Should Not Do If Your Wife Is Depressed
6 Things you should do to help your wife if she is depressed:
- 1. Love Them Unconditionally
- 2. Find Out Help Options
- 3. Work Together On Self-Care
- 4. Listen and Offer Support
- 5. Be Consistent
- 6. Offer Touch
To get more help creating the marriage you desire and deserve, check out these resources:
The Healthy Marriage Quiz
If you want specific help for your marriage, or you want to know your healthy marriage score, take the marriage quiz. You’ll get immediate access with suggestions on how to improve your relationship.
The Healthy Marriage Toolkit
Books, Courses, Programs and Tools designed to help you create the marriage of your dreams.
Five Simple Steps Marriage Course
Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. In this 5 part mini series you’ll discover practical steps to redesign your marriage.
Healthy Marriage Courses
Our courses will help you build a strong marriage. Each course is designed to meet a specific relationship need.
If you are having serious marriage struggles, we recommend starting with ‘Save the Marriage System‘ by Lee Baucom.