Helping Your Spouse With Mental Illness
Sometimes, couples might resent what they do not understand. This may happen to you when your spouse becomes withdrawn or frequently takes offense to what you say.
As your spouse appears to not respond to your affection, you also might question if he or she is angry with you. Then, you perhaps may begin to wonder if you have done or said something to upset the person even if your partner tells you the problem is not you. If so, a couples retreat or counseling for the both of you may help you pinpoint core issues and resolve relationship conflicts.
In the meantime, remember not to blame yourself when your partner does not want to engage with you. The following six pieces of insight can prepare you for your therapy sessions as you dedicate time to helping your spouse who may have mental health issues.
Comfort your partner when the need arises.
With a little bit of practice identifying mental health symptoms, you will learn when your partner needs comfort. This includes looking for clues he or she needs a hug or wants to talk. For instance, your loved one might make eye contact with you or does not push you away when you try to put your arm around him or her. Extend this kind of compassion when you can see your spouse really needs it and wants it.
If you like your spouse’s eyes or smile, tell him or her. If you appreciate what your partner does for you — such as when he or she made you breakfast in bed or went shopping for you — acknowledge it. You also can make your partner feel loved and wanted by showing gratitude for all that he or she does for your children and family.
Support your spouse’s goals.
Even if you may not share all the same career or creative passions, your spouse needs your support. When he or she shares aspirations with you, offer the kind of encouragement that you would want if you aspire to accomplish certain goals. In the process, remember that your mate is a different person than you. What he or she wants to do may not always be about you.
Do not be your partner’s therapist.
As much as you think you understand your significant other’s symptoms, that person probably does not want to be your project. It’s not your responsibility to solve all his or her problems. In fact, you can avoid resentment not only within you but within your spouse when you empower instead of enable him or her. Your spouse will feel less helpless when you give the person space to face his or her own challenges.
Educate yourself on mental illness.
Couples counseling can provide you personalized education on how to deal with specific symptoms. It also can provide you life management tips not only for your partner but for you. You can also tap into new, effective ways of communicating with one another when in relationship counseling. Information on various mental health issues and symptoms is also available in print and online publications.
Remember to also take care of you.
When you discover that your spouse may have a mental illness, do not forget to take care of you. This may mean trusting that your partner can handle life, and when given the right tools, he or she can. Do not feel that you need to be there for the person 24 hours a day seven days a week. If you try, it could take a toll on your own mental and physical health. Get enough rest, eat balanced meals, and don’t neglect work or hobbies.
It Takes Teamwork
Remember that it’s not all about you or about your spouse. You need to work together if you want to provide a healthy, balanced environment for one another. Couples therapy can provide you the resources you need to strengthen your relationship foundation.
Alma Community is a lifestyle company dedicated to connecting you with the global wellness community. We believe that wellness is unique to each individual and want to meet you where you are at in life. We work with a global community of over 100 wellness experts and partner companies in order offer a diverse array of wellness lifestyle events, programs, travel experiences and corporate wellness programs to fit each individual’s unique health and wellness needs. We will be offering unique programming for couples as well as individuals seeking to support in addressing mental health concerns to improve their quality of life.