Wedding vows are full of important promises to each other, but few couples include one of the most important commitments we can make: I’ll help you protect and support your health and wellness. That’s important throughout our day-to-day lives, but even more so when one of you is in a season of struggling with anxiety, depression, or some other mental health challenge.

Each of us needs to bring the best version of ourselves to the shared space in our relationship, and we need to encourage our partner to be at their best by offering appreciation, respect, courtesy — and when we see them struggle, genuine support. Marriage is supposed to be a safe space for open and honest communication, where both parties can share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns without facing judgment or criticism … and where both listen actively and intently to what the other has to say just for the purpose of understanding.

We also need to respect each other’s boundaries. That may mean right now isn’t the best time to talk, especially if they’re trying to process something difficult or complex. It may also mean they’re not ready to discuss difficult matters.

When our partner is struggling with depression or anxiety, take the time and care enough educate yourself about what’s involved. The better you understand the symptoms, causes and available treatments, the more effectively you can support them and encourage them.

Protecting and supporting our spouse also means caring for our own wellness, too. We need to prioritize our own well-being and practice self-care. Maintaining a healthy balance between offering support and taking the time we need to recharge will help couples navigate the challenges together.

Finally, encourage them to seek professional help. Most of us don’t have the skills or objectivity to deliver the expertise and guidance a mental health professional can provide. And really, we aren’t meant to be our partner’s therapist, whether we’re qualified to be or not. We can, however, offer to help them find the help needed and accompany them to appointments if that is supportive for them. Care to Change has a growing team of counselors, and we can help you identify the ones who may be best suited to help your spouse. Why not contact us today?

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