Sarah wasn’t sure if she was feeling down because of something wrong with her, or if she was simply feeling her husband’s depression. His recent health problems had led to the loss of his job, and he was taking it very hard. Many days Sarah found herself feeling guilty that she wasn’t being a better support to the man she loved at such a difficult time.
When you’re married, your spouse’s mood can affect you a great deal. If the one you love and live with is depressed your own emotions can take a severe beating. Especially if you have been strongly connected in your marriage you may find it hard to separate your own feelings from those of your spouse.
God’s plan for marriage is that husband and wife be a support to each other in good times and in bad. When your spouse is struggling with depression you will likely need to draw on the full range of physical, emotional, and spiritual coping strategies in order to do so.
During such challenging times, there are two goals to keep in mind:
- Maintain your own strength.
- Be a helpful support to your spouse.
It’s possible to fall into the ditch on either side of this path. Ignoring your spouse’s extra vulnerabilities and needs, and refusing to help where you can, may well destroy your marriage, and certainly is not the Christian model of love. But ignoring your own vulnerabilities and needs in favor of your spouse’s will leave you completely spent and unable to help in any meaningful way.