How to Help Your Spouse Deal with Grief

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When you married your spouse, you likely made a promise to be a part of your spouse's life in good times and bad. One of these bad times may come when your spouse loses a loved one, be it a parent, sibling or best friend. If you have experienced such a loss in the past, you may be able to sympathize, but you must remember that each person grieves differently. You can help your spouse get through this rough time with a little effort.

  • Listen to your spouse. You may not know what to say, but if you let her talk and express her feelings, she will be more able to work through the grief with your assistance. However, don't force her to talk if she isn't ready.

  • Offer your support when your spouse needs it. The most important thing you can do is be there for him in whatever capacity he needs you. Let him take the lead, but make sure he knows you are willing to help any way you can.

  • Show her affection to let her know that you love her. Give her a hug when she cries or seems particularly sad. Sit close to her and hold her hand while she talks to you about how she is feeling. You can even offer her comfort and support without saying a word by snuggling with her on the couch or in bed.

  • Avoid belittling his feelings or offering empty words of comfort, such as "she lived a good life" or "he's in a better place now." Let your spouse go through the grief process at his own pace and allow him to express his emotions in whatever healthy way he is most comfortable, such as crying or punching pillows.

  • Focus your attention on your spouse and try not to get distracted with events in your own life. There will be plenty of time to continue with what you need to do. Right now, your spouse needs you to stay focused on her to help her through her grief.

  • Pay special attention to him and his needs. Cook his favorite foods and take him on a date to his favorite restaurant or local attraction. Help him learn that life goes on despite his loss and his loved one would want him to enjoy his life.

  • Promote healthy habits in her life. When going through the grief process, it is easy to become depressed. If you encourage your spouse to eat well, get enough sleep and maintain a daily routine, she will be less likely to become depressed and may find it easier to continue on with her life.

  • Encourage him to seek the help of a counselor if things do not seem to improve. While it can take time to get over grief and there is no specific timeline, you know your spouse best. A gentle reminder that seeking help is not shameful can give your spouse the impetus he needs to get help. However, don't be discouraged if he chooses not to get professional help.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not give up on your spouse. Even if you think she is taking too long to get over the grief, keep trying.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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