When Depression Affects Your Marriage

Tips for a great marriage despite the symptoms of depression

Man with depression staring out rainy window

Depression can play a serious role in how a couple functions within the marriage. I’ve worked for several years with couples who function fairly well until a bout of depression comes in. Sometimes, its the wife who struggles with depression, sometimes the husband, and in rare cases both the husband and wife have a diagnosis of depression.

Symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, isolation, loss of interest in daily activities, and anger or irritability. This means that when one spouse experiences depression, they are highly likely to push the other away. Clearly depression can wreak havoc on your relationship.

Luckily, there are many ways that you can lessen your symptoms of depression! Here is my list of ten things to try when you are feeling depressed.

#1. Find the Source

This can be a tough one. Sometimes there are readily identifiable stresses, while at other times it can be nearly impossible to find a reason that you are experiencing a low mood. If you experience a low mood often, seek assistance in finding what the problem may be. This means getting labs drawn with your physician, getting assessed for medical issues that may play a role (thyroid is a big one to check and so are hormones in general), assessing your sleeping patterns (lack of sleep can cause mood and energy issues), and thinking about family history. Do you have genetic links that make you more susceptible to depression? Be your number one advocate and keep a mood chart to determine if there are patterns involved in your low mood states. Here is one you can use with some great tips about tracking your progress.

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We Disagree on How Often We Should Have Sex

Tips for When You Disagree About the Frequency of Sex

Many, many couples face what’s known as a desire discrepancy or a desire gap. One spouse wants sex more often than the other. Statistics seem to show that in about 1/3 of marriages, the wife has the higher level of desire and in the other 2/3 of marriages the husband has the higher level.

There are times when a gap like this can cause quite a bit of conflict in the couple. The couple may begin to argue more in general because they are connecting less often physically, or they may even begin fighting directly about sex.

Luckily, there is hope! If you and your spouse have been arguing about sex, or if you just feel like the two of you disagree on how often you should have sex, watch this 6.5 minute video for some advice on lessening the gap or gaining some compromise.

 

If watching this video makes you want to seek out some extra help, I encourage you to contact the American Board of Christian Sex Therapists to find a counselor in your area. They can help you resolve issues related to your marriage and your intimate lives.

Be blessed friends!

Embracing the Sacred in Your Marriage

Pic of sacred marriage

There’s this old joke: Marriage has three rings. The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering. Hmmph. It’s sad that so many people expect marriage to be a burden. The truth is, for the Christian, marriage is a sacred union between husband and wife and a great place to love, be loved, and become more Christ-like.

Unfortunately, many couples fail to see marriage as the sacred place that it is. Instead, marriage has been seen more as a “temporary condition.” Some couples operate on the belief that:

-all couples cheat, so if I look around it’s not a big deal
-nobody is happy in marriage
-I got married too young and probably made a mistake
-if I were married to a better, more loving spouse; things would be different

As a therapist, I almost weekly hear somebody say that they’re pretty hopeless and believe marriage cannot be a place of happiness, and while marriage wasn’t really created solely for your happiness, I know that marriage can be a place of incredible healing, hope, and joy.

So what about those couples who have marriages that are unfulfilling on good days and downright tragic on bad days?

Truthfully, some couples are guilty of not having a “good” marriage because of their own silliness or bad behaviors. It’s a little bit rare to have marriages that are bad or difficult because of only one spouse. Typically, both play a role.

I’ve talked before about when your spouse makes you angry and the truth is that anyone can get to the place where they are blaming, or even hating their spouse for some behavior that’s undesirable. The belief that “my spouse should be more like me” can make it difficult to ignore little flaws.

My husband and I sometimes mention the things that drive us nuts about one another. We readily admit that we can get in the habit of getting so annoyed by one of these behaviors that we get angry with one another. But, that really does come down to a problem with unmet expectations. When I expect certain behaviors of him or think that my way is right, I’m bound to be met with some disappointment. My husband is not responsible for meeting all of my expectations. I can’t expect him to act like me or think like me in every situation. We wouldn’t have wanted to get married if we thoughts just alike. How boring that would be!

Look, you’re married. That means there are going to be things that your spouse does that drives you to the brink of insanity. But, you can overcome those feelings by giving some grace and allowing your spouse to be imperfect. By the way, I’m not talking about allowing outright sinful behaviors. I’m just talking about the minor imperfections.

What does it mean to have a sacred marriage?

One of the books I often recommend to people is Gary Thomas’ Sacred Marriage. He does a phenomenal job of reminding Christians that one of the primary aims of marriage is to make us more Christ-like. Again, not the only reason (my words, not his), but a primary reason.

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