Marriage is tough. It is even tougher when your mate is depressed. Depression is something real for those who feel it and know it. For the mate watching it is frustrating, discouraging, and can have drastic impact on a marriage and family. When I had my worst bouts of depression my husband was supportive. He encouraged me to go to the needed professionals, helped pay those expenses, but he also truly did not understand why I was unhappy.
When your spouse is unhappy you want to fix it. You want to change things. You want to change them or change yourself or the situation to make things right. Men especially are sensitive to the effects of depression. I have seen my husband have “blue days” but he has seen me have “blue seasons.” A man often is moody for a day or two. We, women, we can be moody for months…even years!
Years of marriage under our belts, my husband and I shared a magical and memorable evening last night. We had an adult date night with friends. Celebrating the long weekend we had friends come over to our home for appetizers, desserts, and drinks. It was pot luck, and it was a mix of friends. The joy was super…the odd mix of friends worked out perfectly. Everyone mixed and mingled nicely despite the heat of the day. We sat under fans, and we drank cool drinks. My sweet mother took our boys to her house for the night, so my husband and I enjoyed a very late night…and actually partied with one couple in our neighborhood until after 3 a.m. Belly laughs, tears of joy, and great wine. It was enough to cause me to take a short nap on the couch at our friend’s home…we went home with them to relieve their babysitter. Waking with a headache her husband cooked the four of us eggs. Then he drove my husband and I home. We enjoyed some adult “play time.” And, it was honestly really incredible.
Adults need “play time” too. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Sex often makes one or both of you feel better. The distractions of our day often prevent married couples from making time for one another. We have to schedule it. Plan it. Ask for it. Men and women both need physical contact. God made us for this. It can be celebrated and practiced. We have been married for twelve years. We have had high and low times, and my kind husband weathered some big storms with me in previous years. He could have walked away. I could have walked away. But, we chose to stay. We chose to “play” through. I encourage you to also “play through.” Whether you are single or married. Go out. Talk with friends/family/your spouse. Even when you do not feel like smiling…try to. Find the things that bring you or your spouse joy and do them. Often in acting we become the characters we want to be. The “movie life” can become real life. Expectations are rarely met, but dreams should never die. Keep praying for your spouse and stay with your spouse.
For me this rings true for those sad times:
“If your spouse’s primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries.” -Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages
For my husband it also rings true in the happy times:
If your spouse’s primary love language is physical touch, you need to tickle his back, massage his shoulders/body, hug him, and have sex! Most men have physical touch as a top 3 of 5 love languages I think. I interestingly also have a craving for physical touch. I think that is one reason I’m a nail biter. If I am feeling lonely/sad/agitated…I give myself physical touch with the nail biting.
I encourage you to think about what makes you feel good, and how you can help your mate or ask your mate for help if one or both of you is suffering from depression.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for being with us in our seasons of warmth and cold. We sometimes feel hot with joy and love. Other times we feel cold with isolation or fear. We ask you to teach us to love one another more deeply. Give us the sensitivity to understand our spouse or friends better. Give us arms to hug, lips to kiss, and we yield our body’s to You. We are temples. Let us rejoice in our temple and respect our temple. Temptation abounds in our world. Help us to stay close to You, Lord, and give us Peace through Your Holy Spirit. Guide us with The Word, and help us to recognize and express our feelings to others as best we can. Do not be ashamed. The Truth is the Light.