For the spouse who is trying to help their husband or wife through depression, it can be tempting to take things personally. Questions arise such as:
Am I making my spouse depressed?
What have I done to cause this?
What could I have done differently?
Am I that awful to live with?
Keep in mind, a depressed person doesn’t want to feel that way; they want the dark cloud to be lifted. However, in their attempts to feel better, they might point the blame outward and make their spouse feel responsible.
Communication is key to understanding what is at the root of your spouse’s depression. Find a time when emotions are steady and talk about what is really going on. Often, depressed people name surface issues as the real problem, when in reality, there are deeper issues to be addressed.
One example from my own journey was wanting to blame my husband for not doing enough to help me. I thought his behavior was causing me to feel depressed. However, once I gained perspective, I realized the problem wasn’t him but me. The deeper issue was my lack of communication. Instead of asking for the help I needed, I expected him to read my mind. And when he couldn’t read my mind, I would get so worked up, I’d sink into a pit of despondency, leaving my poor husband to wonder what on earth he’d done wrong.
So, don’t take your spouse’s depression personally—even if they point blame. However, be sure to get to the root of depression so you can work through things together. Chances are, there are changes you can both make to ease some of the frustration.
Keep in mind, if you’re dealing with clinical depression, it will require medical help. Pray for discernment and seek wise counsel to help you determine exactly what you’re dealing with.
Help me communicate gently with my spouse and try not to feel responsible for their depression. Show me areas in which I can change to be more loving and considerate. Help us, as a couple, get to the root issue of things so we can move forward and be strengthened in our marriage. Most of all, help us define the extent of the depression so we can seek proper treatment. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Another resource for your journey: This Wasn’t Part of the Deal
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