It's no question that we all go through difficult times. It's hard to keep yourself going, let alone try and encourage your spouse who is also going through a season of struggle. So, how can we keep going, as well as support the person we love through their difficult time? It's not easy.
There have been times in my life when I didn't know how to take another step. Thankfully, I had a few people in my life to encourage and help me through it, and most importantly, a God who never left my side. Even though I wasn't able to recover right away when overcoming my struggles, with time and perseverance, I finally came out of it.
But if I can be completely honest, during the time of struggle, it was proved challenging to see a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter what anyone said to me. The hope I knew and trusted had suddenly left this deep gushing wound in my heart, and I couldn't even lift my hand to try and stop the bleeding.
To make matters worse, my husband was also going through his own battles at the same time. As you can imagine, our household wasn't always roses.
Through my journey, I was able to cling to a few things that helped me get through, as well as encourage my spouse along the way. So whether you are both going through a difficult time, or just your spouse, these methods were helpful for us in getting through a season of doubt and depression.
Here are a few tips to help you encourage your struggling spouse
Don't take everything personally
If you're a sensitive person like me, then it's hard to not take your partners struggles as some sort of personal vendetta against you.
It isn't easy for someone to know how they come across when they are struggling. It's most likely what they are struggling with has nothing to do with you, so it's important to accept that it isn't you, and not take it personally.
This will enable you to support them and be there for them when they are struggling, instead of making the problem about something it's not.
Encourage them to seek help.
If you are also struggling, it may be beneficial for someone else to come alongside them and encourage them. Having your own struggles in and of itself is challenging enough.
Sometimes, it's difficult to take advice from those who are closest to us. Getting an unbiased outside perspective can offer a refreshing new opportunity.
It's their choice whether or not they want to seek help and there's not much you can do about it if they don't. Sometimes when they see you getting better with outside help, it will motivate them to also seek out help.
Don't expect them to see reality right now
When I was struggling, it was hard to see things for what they were. My mind was cloudy and unable to perceive what was reality and what were lies I was believing.
Encourage them to see things for what they are, but when they don't respond to that, let it go. They need to go through whatever they are going through in order for them to genuinely see reality.
Pray for them
I have this innate character trait to want to make everything better on my own terms and in my own time.
This not only proves to be exhausting for me, but it doesn't work.
Accept that your partner is going through a rough time - there's not much you can do about it, except be there for them.
For me, this meant that all I could was pray, wait for, and encourage them.
Ask them how you can pray for them. Sometimes making it about a prayer, and not their feelings, will help them open up more and share what's on their heart.
Ask them what it is they need
When one is struggling, they sometimes don't know what it is they need. So, my advice for you would be this - Ask them what they might need, but also name off a few things that you think they might need. You, after all, know them more than anyone else does. Try naming off things that you know they love, and see if they are open for it.
For them to know that you take interest in doing something they want to do, might make it easier for them to do it.
Be supportive and patient
There is no timeframe for things such as these. Who knows how long your partner will struggle. It's important to be patient and supportive during this time. If you aren't, it can cause things to get worse; such as creating other problems in your relationship.
Live your own life
Just because your partner is struggling, doesn't mean you can't live your life. Go do things with friends or your kids. Seek counsel if you yourself are struggling. It's important that you are also nurturing your own personal and spiritual growth while taking steps to be who you want to be.
This was probably my biggest struggle when my spouse was going through a rough time. It was hard for me to focus on my own personal well-being while looking after my husband's as well. Even though it was difficult for me to go through this, it made me realize that I need to live my own life, and not expect that my spouse meet all of my needs.
In order for me to get through the struggles of my life and relationships, I first needed to understand that it's not my partner's responsibility to make me happy.
This concept freed my mind to be there for my husband because I wasn't operating from him always pleasing me, rather from God giving me the strength to get through it.
If you've ever gone through a tough time, then you would know how meaningful it is when someone goes the extra mile for you. It makes you feel important and loved.
Try doing this for your partner. They need to know that someone cares about them, and it may not be something they will be able to express right now.