S/He is Depressed. What Do I Do?

Depressed Blue AdobeStock_50023905 copyOne thing I hear a lot from both husbands and wives is, “I just don’t know how to help.” When your hubby comes home from a rough day or your bride is in the middle of a meltdown from what appears to be nothing… what do you do? Of course every person is made different and every couple has different dynamics. But I do have a few tips for both sexes. These tips may get you on the right track if one is feeling blue and depressed.

First, for Husbands with a Depressed Wife.

As an emotional wife I do understand that you need all the help that you can get. And because I am a woman I understand a little better about what your girl may need. So here’s a few ideas for those breakdown, tough day, blue, sad times:

• Give her space.

We know you want to help, and that you are engineered to fix things. But consider laying low for a bit. Tell her you love her and that you are here for her. But then maybe step out of the room for an hour or so. It’s amazing what time does for a girl’s thinking.

• Silence.

Whether you choose to give her space or not, silence can often be golden. Let her talk when she is ready. LISTEN and let her explain what is wrong. Only speak to affirm and let her know you are listening. Finding solutions is probably not what she is wanting at the moment.

• Flowers.

I do know a few girls who are allergic or just do not like the idea of buying/getting something that will die. But overall, flowers will definitely help. Pick up a bouquet on your way home from work. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. But the sentiment will definitely cheer her up and make her feel better.

• Plan dinner.

It’s amazing how stressful planning a meal can be. If your lady is upset, offering to make dinner or pick something up will help tremendously in giving her one less thing to think about.

• Pray.

Pray for her and, if she’s up for it, pray with her. Matt is good about offering to pray with me. And even in the times that I don’t feel like it because I’m upset, it always makes me feel better afterwards. It’s a huge ministry to your wife when you talk to the Lord for her and about her.

• Sex.

Be careful with this one. Most woman I know do not want to be offered sex when they are going through something hard. BUT be available. According to an article in Psychology Today, semen can actually work as an antidepressant. Just the stimulation and arousal that a woman receives during sex will enlighten her mood. But don’t press this one. Just be ready and willing if she wants it (which I know will be so hard to do).

• Minister to her in her love language.

When she is not upset, have her take this Five Love Languages Assessment (even though this particular one talks about Valentine’s Day… but that’s okay). And you take it too! It will show you just the way that she yearns to be loved and will give you a better idea of how to do so. Is she a gift giver? Go out and get her a little something to help her mood. Words of affirmation? Write her a note telling her how amazing she is. Physical touch? Go and hold her with no words spoken. Acts of service? Clean the house while she is upset, it will very likely perk up her mood a bit. Quality time? Sit with her and ask if she wants to talk about it.

Each woman is unique. But these 5 love languages are often pretty accurate in predicting what your gal might desire. Not only when she’s upset, but all the time.

Ladies, now it’s your turn for some tips.

Here’s some tips on what to do if your hubby is having a rough day (and yes, I did enlist Matt’s help for this one):

• Sex.

It’s sounds cliche, but men often feel closest to their wives during intimacy. It isn’t called “joining as one” for no reason. When a man feels close to his wife, it will automatically raise his spirits and his mood. The pleasure of sex can also bring this about. Don’t be afraid to initiate and go for it when your husband is sad. Most likely, he will not mind at all.

• Cook.

The saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is usually pretty accurate. Giving him a nice warm meal (preferably his favorite if you can) will help immensely.

• Encourage community.

Males know males. Females know females. Girls are often apt to call or text a friend when they are upset. But with guys… not so much. This one was one of Matt’s contributions. He said that it helps when I encourage him to call one of his guy friends to hang out.

• Affirm.

When you talk to him about it, affirm him. Not necessarily in the action that is taking place, but in who he is as a person, as a man, and as your husband. Tell him you are proud of him and that you respect him. Those words will go farther than you even realize.

• Let him “do.”

As girls we often like to take about things right away, but guys often like to process their feelings in other ways. For Matt, it’s video games or sports. If he’s upset, I might just need to let him “play” though it a little bit before I try and talk to him about it. There are obviously healthy ways and unhealthy ways to act out sadness and frustration. So be aware of this and do talk about it at some point. But if they need some time to work through it, let them.

• Pray.

While we were talking through this, it was encouraging for Matt to tell me how much he appreciates it when I offer to pray for him. He hadn’t even read what I had written about what to do for a woman but this obviously goes for both. Pray for him silently, and let him hear you talk to God on his behalf as well.

• Minister to their love language.

Yes, this is important for both men and women. The most common for men is physical touch, which is why sex is at the top of this list. But other love languages that they have are important too. If they are words of affirmation, go back to the “affirm” point above. Tell them you are proud of them. If they are quality time, maybe go back to the “doing” point and play a sport or whatever he likes to do with him.

He’s a gift giver? Go buy his favorite chocolate bar or some small trinket that can make his day. And if he leans more towards acts of service, then serve him! Make dinner, clean the house, mow the lawn, or do something you know that will mean a lot to him.

Rough Days

We all have rough days, which means our spouse will have rough days. We can choose to serve them and love them through it or to bring them down more. I realize that each person is unique and special. So take these and make them your own for your husband or wife. Make it your goal to turn their hard day into one they will always remember because of your unselfishness. I also realize that some situations will need more than just a good meal or some flowers. A rough day at work is a much different circumstance than losing one’s parent or something of a stronger degree. In these cases seek professional help and be there for your spouse as much as you can (Remember to hold on).

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to help your husband or wife cheer up after a rough day?

This blog (given by permission to post) is written by Erin Baxter. Erin is married to her husband Matt and is “a young wife with a passion for marriage. The Lord has ignited the desire in her heart to do something about the tragic divorce rate in our country.” As Erin says, “It may be a small effort, but I trust the Lord will use it for His glory in a big way.” And He does! What a privilege it is to work with Erin and other bloggers to participate with the Lord in such a wonderful way!

May God richly bless your marriages as we work together to make our marriages ones that reveal and reflect the heart of Christ!

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Filed under: Mental and Physical Health

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