These tips are helpful if your husband is simply discouraged or mildly depressed. But what do you do if your husband is deeply depressed? How can you love your husband during a time of depression? The following thoughts are from a woman that I love and admire and who had to walk down this difficult path for a time -- my Pastor's wife, Susan.
As a woman, I depend on my husband for so much. I need his love and support, his listening ear and his strong arms. He is called upon to fix the leaky faucet, change the oil in the car and to destroy any creepy-crawler that might invade the privacy of our home or yard. He is my provider, protector, and my partner for life. I think you would agree with me that every woman is proud to have a strong, stable and dependable man at her side, one that she can admire and respect. As wives, we breathe easier knowing that we can securely rest in our husband’s ability to handle whatever life brings our way. He’s the man and he’s got this!
But what happens if you wake up one day to find that your husband has no joy, no smile, and no strength? Your better half is hard to find because he has drifted into a world of deep sadness, anxiety and hopelessness. In these current days of financial insecurity, a troublesome job market and the overwhelming pressures of daily life, more and more of our husbands are finding themselves in this dark place know as depression. What’s a godly wife to do when faced with a spouse’s depression? How should she respond?
After years of ministering and serving the Lord, deep trials and affliction caused my cheerful, happy-go-lucky and funny husband to lose his spark and become filled with so much sadness and despondency that he struggled getting out of bed and facing the day. Darkness and despair became his daily companion. What I share with you I learned from our walk together through times of depression.
Although you may want to run and hide and give into the fear and frustration you are feeling, DON’T. Now is the time to be the virtuous woman God has called you to be. The actual word for virtuous is valor and now more than ever you will need to be a woman of great valor and courage.
Here are 7 Suggestions for Loving Your Husband through Time of Depression:
1. See it as an opportunity to live out your marriage vows.
Remember those words, “For better or worse, ...in sickness and in health….to love and to cherish”? Now you will be able to prove to your husband that you really meant it. You must make a concentrated effort to focus on his emotional, mental and spiritual healing. You will be partnering with the Lord to bring healing into your husband’s life. “Love never fails.” I Cor. 13:8
2. Seek out opportunities to courageously love your husband.
Depression can cause your husband to act in unappealing ways. When he is harsh, angry, and despondent, be gentle with your words and kind with your actions. Let love be behind your every motive. The love of Christ and His example must be your guiding force as you respond to your husband’s depression. “Love suffers long and is kind.“ I Cor. 13:4
3. Speak blessing over him, when he can hear you and when he can’t.
When he is hopeless, speak of the hope we have in the Lord. When he is anxious, speak of the peace Jesus gives. When he is feeling worthless, speak of his worth in Christ and to you. In his presence tell him how thankful you are for him, affirm him, praise him. When speaking of him to others be respectful and uplifting. It is important to remember you must do this even if you do not feel like it. “She opens her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:26
4. Submerge yourself in prayer for your husband.
Pray for him silently as he sleeps. Pray for him openly in his presence. Ask him if you can pray over him during the day and then speak the words of blessing and healing that can only come from the hand of God. I learned this from my own husband’s example of praying over me in my own personal times of affliction. “Pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16
5. Silently listen when he is ready to talk.
Don’t nag. Don’t belittle. It is important for him to express how he feels which is not always easy for our men. He will need to know that his feelings are safe with you. “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” James 1:19
6. Speak the truth in love.
The time may come to confront his depression with a Christian counselor. If your husband knows he can trust your good heart he will be more likely to listen to your words of advice and know that you are seeking his well-being. Use the wisdom of Esther to know how and when to speak to your husband about the difficult place he is in and how it is affecting you and others. Pretending like it doesn’t exist will not bring healing and peace into your husband’s life.
7. Finally, while focusing on your husbands’ spiritual, emotional and mental well-being, don’t neglect your own.
It is crucial at this time that you die to self and be a Spirit-filled wife. Now is the time to draw ever closer to the Lord God who can meet the needs your husband cannot. Isaiah 54: 5 says “ For your Maker is your husband; the Lord of hosts is His name.” Depend completely on Him who is able to work this dark and lonely time into a powerful, beautiful season of blessing and healing.
Depression need not be the end of stability and strength for your husband or your marriage. You as his wife, can work alongside our Almighty God to bring beauty for ashes and to turn mourning into dancing. Claim Jeremiah 33: 6 as your own, “Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” He is able, and He will do it!
Your Turn to Share:
Has your husband ever gone through a time of depression? Please share some of the ways that you helped him walk this dark valley. What sustained you the most during his depression? What seemed to encourage him the most? Please share so we might all be encouraged!
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