Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
First, a disclaimer: I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. I am a pastoral counselor but I know when someone is really down. And you know when your wife is down. Not just moody but “down down.”
What’s going on? Is this normal? How long will this cloud last over her? Over us? Let’s look at depression – not from a clinical definition but just a couple of us guys talking.
Here are some ways you can tell if your wife is depressed and what you can do about it.
1. Less physical energy for anything. Her desire to do the things she normally does is gone.
2. Less feeling about everything. Apathy abounds. She seems to have no opinions or cares about even things you know are dear to her.
3. Change in emotional state. She cries more than usual and is more easily affected emotionally.
4. Change in sexual feelings. There is a marked drop in her desire for you.
5. Withdrawing from friends and even family members. More and more she desires isolation above being with people.
6. More negative than normal. She is more sensitive and more critical about seemingly everything.
7. She has a sense of hopelessness. She might talk of how this fog is never going to end, that it will be this way the rest of her life. In more severe cases she might suggest that you need to find someone else for a wife. There is no hope – for her situation or even your marriage.Is your wife just sad or is she depressed? Here are 7 ways to know --> Click To Tweet
This paints a dismal picture indeed. So what can you do? How can you fix her or her situation?
You can’t. It is important that you understand this. You can do your part however and it is significant.
Here are some ways you can play your part in helping your wife in this state she is in.
1. Recognize your role in her struggle. Don’t play psychologist. Don’t diagnose and for heaven’s sake, don’t try to fix her. It is a noble thought to want to fix your wife who is suffering but often our attempts to do so are extremely counter-productive. Our “help” as fixers can be received by our wives as condescending or patronizing – the opposite of what we intend. Your role is helper. You are “support staff” at this point. You love, you encourage, and you serve. Just don’t fix.
2. Don’t take this personally. This is not about you. (Unless it is.) Clarify this with her by simply asking her if you play a part in the changes she is experiencing. You might be “in her answer,” but the issues are probably bigger than you. The important thing here is to not make it about you. Don’t get defensive over little things. Her issues are most likely beyond you.
3. Pray for your wife. James 5:16 tells us “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Paul tells us, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 HCSB) You will need His peace as her helper. Lift your wife up to the Lord and let the peace come – to her and to you as well.
4. Suggest that she talk to someone. A close friend or a counselor is a good idea. She may not know why she is depressed and having someone just to listen can help a great deal.
5. Encourage her to see her physician. Many times depression is a medical issue and could relate to a hormone change. Plus, a visit to her doctor can provide a fresh viewpoint on what she is going through. Doctors view things from a different perspective and another perspective cannot hurt.
6. Plan a special event. You might need to take the initiative on this, make all the arrangements, etc. but plan something special you can do together. Give her something to look forward to. This outing could be a simple picnic at a nearby state park, a fancy dinner out, a concert to hear her favorite artist, or an overnighter – whatever she would like and can handle. The idea is to do something out of her routine and yours.
7. Take care of you. You are the infrastructure in her life right now and she needs you to be strong. Caring for yourself is not being selfish at this point. Eat and sleep well in addition to the spiritual attention mentioned above.If you think your wife might be depressed, here are 7 things to do to help and some encouragement: Click To Tweet
– Hang in there with her. She is going through the storm and needs your anchoring role right now. This is part of the “worse” you committed to staying with her through when you (essentially or literally) vowed “for better or for worse.”
– The Lord knows exactly where you are and is not surprised where you are in you and your wife’s struggle. Trust Him to walk with you through these days.
– Be encouraged and trust God’s Word when it says:
- “The things that are impossible with man are possible with God.” Luke 18:27
- “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
- “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b
- “For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:37-38