What to Do When Your Husband is Depressed

what to do when your husband is depressed

Helping your depressed husband is not for the faint of heart. {Tweet This} We know that. And we don’t want to make light of how challenging it can be.

But we do have some ideas to help you help him, because it’s difficult to have a joyful family life when dad is not coping well. So if you’re dealing with a depressed husband, consider yourself hugged by us today.

Here’s how to help your depressed husband.

Talk to him.

If you see that your husband is struggling, reach out to him. Ask him what’s bothering him or bringing him down. Do your best not to sound accusatory or irritated. Let him know that you are there to help him.

In his book, Desperate Marriages, Dr. Gary Chapman gives some dos and don’ts for talking to your husband about his depression:


Do receive his feelings without condemning them.

Do tell him that you believe in him and that you know he will come out of this.


Don’t tell him he has nothing to be depressed about.

Don’t tell him to “snap out of it” or “pull himself together.”

Don’t tell him it’s a spiritual problem.

Try home remedies first.

Look at the basics of his life: does he need more sleep? Is he exercising? Is he drinking alcohol excessively? If he’s open to changing in these areas, help him make the adjustments. Schedule an appointment with his doctor to have his physical condition assessed — just in case there is a physical reason for his depression.

Be patient and compassionate.

It’s understandable that you might lose your patience with your husband over his depression.But do your best to remain compassionate. If he can get back on his mental feet, he’ll have a better shot at being the husband you need him to be.

If you’re losing your patience, or your compassion is waning, talk to a friend or family member who can encourage you. Keep an eye on the big picture so that you can do what you can to support your husband so that your home life can improve as well.

Dr. Chapman reminds wives of depressed husbands that you can “choose to remain positive, despite the negative situation.” Your husband needs you. Depressed people often don’t have the ability to see their way out of their depression on their own.

Pray for him.

Ask God to show you how to help your husband. Ask him to open your husband’s mind to accepting the help he needs. Lean on God to get you through this difficult time.

Consider professional help.

Depression can deepen into a health issue that needs professional treatment. If several weeks pass without improvement, talk to your husband about getting professional help. If it reaches this point, find a counselor who shares your values and beliefs.

And tell us, have you ever had to help your husband through a depression? What did you do?

© 2015 iMOM. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.

In The Comments

Has your husband ever been depressed?


  • Rebecca

    Ugh, its such a hard season of life right now. My husband is struggling with discouragement (possibly borderline depression) over jobs. Thank you for your encouragement today about how to love him better! 🙂

    • Rebecca, it sounds like your husband is fortunate to have you — such a caring wife. Susan

  • MomOfEllie

    My life partner is struggling with depression right now. This posting came into my inbox at the perfect time.

    • We’re glad it reached you! Susan

  • JiniRinard

    I think my husband is depressed, but don’t know why. When I ask what is wrong he says he’s fine. I have just began to pray for him! He works out, but drinks excessively & doesn’t get enough rest for sure. I’ve really just been trying to not be nagging about it but when he goes for another glass of wine……and then another……and another, it gets frustrating because I know then its going to be a late night for the both of us. Please just agree with me in prayer that my husband IS a happy content man!

    • Jini, so sorry to hear of your situation. We’ve been touched by all of the women who shared with us. We want to recommend to you, and everyone who is struggling with a depressed husband, the book, Desperate Marriages: Moving Toward Hope and Healing in Your Relationship, by Gary D. Chapman.

    • Nora

      Get help.

    • Dear God, I stand in agreement w/ Jini as she fights to save her husband – her life mate – to find his way back to a happier time. We know that there will always be hard times, but I pray that she can trust that You will give him the strength to see that she is truly trying her best to help and that drink is not the answer, You are. I stand w/ her in total confidence that You promised to be there for us, through bad times AND the good, that both are useful tools in Your Hands. I have been there, w/ a husband who wouldn’t help himself, so I know the pain and sense of failing as she tries to get him to see how to help himself. Mankind, in his wickedness, has ruined so many families, when a breadwinner may have lost his/her job, or gotten demoted, or lost a house, bought and paid for, by the numbers, the way our parents taught us. Greedy, wicked ppl have screwed things around so badly that we just can’t cope w/ the fallout alone. God, I pray you rain Your Blessings down on Jini’s family as much as possible through fallible ppl and help her husband see Your Light and work towards that Light. Please support Jini as she looks to you for help and support. Please send angels, in great numbers, to stand by her side and help her stay the course. This You Promised us as well. We, together, pray this in Your Name, Jesus Christ, Amen.

      Good luck, Jini, my husband was let go when the Malls started falling apart (he was security) and they unfairly let him go. (Long story.) Then he was discriminated against because of his age mainly, possibly our address (ya gotta live where you can afford it, we sure learned that!) and every answer was a resounding NO! “We don’t want you.” That’ll bust anyone up! But just tonight, as I was reading him some stuff and followed a link to here, he just now told me that “I was what kept him going.” One day, you too, will hear those wonderful words! Tonight I was teasing him about not listening to me and getting professional help – as I’m as buggy and crazy as they come, too, born that way in my case – so knowing even just talking to someone versed in these matters would help him. That’s when he said I was the one that kept him going!! Jaw dropping, I didn’t think I had done any good! You hang in there M’Lady, w/ God’s help, it’ll all work out. Please never give up on God, or your husband, he needs you now, more than ever, even if it doesn’t seem like it. I’ll be praying for you guys, as well. Be strong, my Sister!

  • Christi

    When I married my husband, I believe he was depressed. He had unresolved emotions from his first divorce that he brought into our marriage and I believe he took a lot of those emotions and unresolved anger out on me emotionally. He had me believing I was a terrible mother, housekeeper, planner and wife. I couldn’t do anything right. He broke me. He broke my spirit and he broke my heart. But I remained hopeful that God would change him, and change my heart that had been shut down by him, to open up again. I prayed every day on the way home from work for God to give me a new heart and to find forgiveness and for Him to change me. I thought because I no longer could feel compassion for him that I needed to be the one to change. I got angry at God because things never improved between us, no matter how hard I tried. They just got worse and he got more closed off toward me. My husband had told me so many times during the course of our 3-year marriage that he wanted to end it. But I stuck it out each time and he would apologize days later and say he didn’t mean it. One day, I couldn’t change his mind. It was over for him. He said he didn’t love me and he wanted a divorce. There was nothing else I could do. I was so angry at him and at God. I had prayed so hard for God to put a loving, caring, responsible man in my life so that I could have the family I longed for with my two young boys. I had married him and committed to him. Oh how I longed to be a family. But he never committed fully to me. His heart was so cold and closed the majority of our three years. Devastated, I packed up my two boys. It was time for us to leave. I had to start over once again. Disappointment and sadness made me sick. I still ask myself daily what more I could have done? But deep in my heart, I truly feel I had done everything within my will. I still struggle to see how this is part of God’s plan for me. I still long to be a family. I’m lonely. My boys miss that family. But the one positive thing I realize now is that my joy is back. I no longer go home with dread. I no longer have to worry about what kind of mood he is going to be in. I no longer worry about the words he will say that will break my heart that day. I am happy again! I hadn’t realized how much joy he had stripped out of me! How I altered my words and feelings and emotions with my boys because I didn’t want him to be jealous or feel I was spending too much time on them and not him! Even though I never wanted a divorce, I have to say that it is a reality. And if this was part of God’s plan all along, it was a hard journey, but I see the sun again and am excited about where He will lead me now.

    • Christi, what a journey you have been on. We can tell you want the best for your boys. We are so sorry your marriage took such a hard turn for you. We admire your attitude!

  • djmissy26

    My husband has been struggling with depression on and off for the last 3-4 years. He struggles with where he is in life, and feels like a failure to provide for his family. He has a job and is very good at it but is unsatisfied. It has been very stressful for me as the wife to try and “fix” the problem. I have tried by finding him a new job, moving our family out of the city to a new location and all these things have not “solved” the problem. After a couple of years I gave up and have realized that I cannot fix him and that only the Lord can. It has been very very difficult; my faith has wavered and I myself have sunk into depression a couple of times but somebody has to take care of the kids so I cannot do it that often. I feel like giving up on everything when this happens but then the Lord in His mercy reels me back in somehow- by the Holy Spirit, through a Christian radio message or song, by an encouraging text from a friend. Even when it seems bleak – I know He is with me.

    During these times when he sinks into depression, I try to pray and most of all I love him, I hug him, affirm him, touch him and let him know how important he is to me and our family; how I think he is great and talented and valuable. But sometimes this isn’t the case and I get resentful and angry. I know its not right but it is hard sometimes.
    I have learned that only the Lord can bring him out of this mindset and I have also learned to “let go” and not try to control the situation as much anymore. The Lord is in control of our lives and people in the bible have suffered from depression – this is not new; though we despair he is still with us – because He promised and God does not lie.

    The good thing is – he is repentant of it when he comes out of it and our marriage has been stronger than ever because of it. He knows that I meant it when I said “for better or for worse”

    • Positivebre

      I can relate with your story on so many levels. Thank you for sharing v

    • DjMissy, what a kind wife you are! You have tried so hard to help your husband, and that is commendable. But as you said, there is only so much you can do. We are glad that your marriage has grown stronger, even through this.

  • mvalencia

    He’s not my husband, he’s my dad. Ive grown up in a christian home, and when i was young i always looked up to my parents marriage. However, now that i’m older and now that they both drifted away from God you can really see their marriage fall apart!! They’re not like the used to be but i do understand they are human and we are not perfect!! I’m not judging them, i love them! but it hurts to see them like this. Yet, i don’t know what is wrong with my dad. He is different, he drinks alcohol, he curses, he’s very vulgar, disrespects my mom, and has crazy thoughts about dying. Reading this article i come to a realization that he can be depressed. My mom tries to help, but at times i can understand her frustration and instead of helping she argues and fights with him. Ive been praying for both of them and would ask who ever reads this to keep them in prayer and that they soon realize that they need God and repent for their actions. I love them both and i’m constantly praying!! Would be awesome if you guys join me in prayer!!

    • We pray that your father will be able to come out of his depression. You are a caring daughter!

  • Rhite

    Lots of prayer for him and WITH him…out loud over him. We also did a nutrition detox together which resulted in a much lighter mood and 10lbs off his belly! His panic attacks also ceased after the detox. Nutrition plays such a huge role with our hormonal imbalances. And I was just there for him…understanding, loving and encouraging even when it was so very hard. -R

    • R – your husband is blessed to have you!

  • Sandy

    My husband told me last night he was depressed, and then this morning this was in my inbox.
    Thanks for the tips.

  • Jennifer

    My dad was very depressed about a business he owned that was struggling then a job he was also working did him very wrong. He was the provider, my mom was having back problems and he had a ton of responsibility. Mom took him to the doctor and he was diagnosed with depression and put on meds. However, they weren’t helping. As some of you have mentioned both mom and I thought if he’d just listen to us we could “fix it.” He kept telling us we didn’t understand, and we didn’t. His pride as a provider and person who had always paid the bills was something that made him who he was. It’s this way for most good husbands and dads. Unfortunately, about 3 weeks after seeing a doctor for depression my dad took his own life. He went out to the carport early one morning while my mom was still asleep. She awoke to officers knocking on the front door. I can’t explain the devastation we all experienced but especially my mom after being married 54 years. Even though there were signs, you never believe someone will reach that point of hopelessness. He was praying with my mom and reading the bible everyday but Satan attacked him mentally in ways we can’t understand. I do know this…men are affected so differently by depression and can quickly get overwhelmed at the possibility of not being able to provide. Don’t take it for granted that they’ll be ok. They don’t talk and vent like they should sometimes but Satan knows all these things, and he “roams about like a lion seeking whom he can devour.” What better target than a saved man who is a good husband, father and friend. I know our father in heaven does not condemn those who take their own life because they are not in their normal state of mind. So as bad as we were hurting from this we determined to praise God. And through unbelievable tears of sadness we praise God that Satan doesn’t have the victory.

    • What heartbreak and sorrow. Please watch yourselves. I don’t know the stats on married partners’ risk of suicide, but the children’s odds of attempting or succeeding in suicide are VERY high after a parent commits suicide – even when they think they’re over the hurdle and things are working out. Bless your faith in God, He’s the only One, as you already know, who can save us from that ravening lion, seeking whom he can devour. Just please watch yourselves and your Mom, and I ask God for you, that you see any signs that might be present, even if it’s just an itch on the back of your neck, as it were, just a suspicion. God bless you all, you’re so inspiring to me!

  • Kerrie

    Every winter my husband sinks deep. He has done the dr/psych route and been diagnosed with SAD, major depression, and dysthymia, which is chronic depression. He chooses not to accept medication or therapy. My support is God, positive thoughts, and my kids. I’m always holding this family together and lifting them up, in prayer, in positivity, and with humor. Always trying to get smiles.

  • MeInMud

    My husband and I are really falling apart hard and fast. We moved to a new state a few months ago to start over as a family and not have any outside interference. Since the move every direction we went with our business was kinda shut down. We are now in the process of selling the house and going to move yet again but this time we will be closer to my family which is very supportive and there are more avenues for our business. The hard part is for about the last month and half he hasn’t really moved from the bedroom. I swear he has watched 1000 or more movies. We have 2 children 3 and 4 and I have developed high anxiety on how to deal with all this with what I feel like is no help from him. I pray. I have prayed more and more. I don’t want to divorce but at the same time I feel so unhappy and unfulfilled as a wife, mother and woman. He is very quick to tell me what to do or how to do it but yet will not take any advice or even talk to me. He doesn’t want to talk about the future – which I often do because it is something to look forward to and plan for – he says can we just get there first. He often acts like the 3 year old with tantrums and unwillingness to cooperate. Thank you for letting me vent this frustration. Not really sure where we will end up or how we will get there. Please if y’all could just pray for strength, guidance, patience, and someone to buy this house so we can get out of this muddy hole I feel we are in.

    • Candice

      I am praying for you and your family. Jeremiah 29:11.

  • Boomer

    Ladies, I would like to offer a different scenario. My wife and I have been married for 13 years and everything was going fairly well until the day we came home from a vacation to Mexico. We had gotten into a huge argument on the way home which flipped the switch it my head. I was convinced that she was leaving for some reason and could not snap out. 6 days in the hospital later, my life was changed forever. I regularly question myself, believe that I need to do more, and fear being alone. Although she tells me she is going nowhere the anxiety is huge. While watching a movie last night I heard a line a mans wife said that sums up exactly how I feel. “When we got married, he actually believed that I would love him unconditionally.” I desperately want to go back and be the man I was before, though it is proving a daunting task. As husbands we want to be the rock solid man society tells us that we should be, but we fear never reaching my goal. I take my meds, go to counciling and try to do as much as I can to be “Normal.” We need you more than you could understand or at times want us to. Hang in there! We too want out of the hold Depression and Anxiety have on us. We just want to be HAPPY too. Thanks for listening. I pray things get better for all of us.