Helping your depressed husband is not for the faint of heart. 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?
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