Marriage and DepressionWhen Jaimie and I got married, she had been clinically depressed for at least six months; perhaps even as far back as the beginning of our ten and a half month engagement. (I was aware of this; she was in denial.) Four months after we got back from our honeymoon, she confessed to me that she no longer wanted be alive. The two and a half years since then have been a bumpy road, but by the grace of God we’re still here and doing well. Things are better now—not perfect, but better.
There are some resources out there—not enough, but some—for people walking through depression. There are far fewer for the people walking alongside them: a role that is, in many ways, just as difficult. To watch as a beloved family member—especially a spouse—deals with depression is incredibly painful and difficult. There is an enormous sense of powerlessness and frustration. We are often at a loss for words, for deeds, for any response at all. We desperately want to help, and most often find there is nothing we can do but pray. It is hard, and lonely, and people will sympathize with you even less than they do with your spouse.
So perhaps some of what I learned about walking alongside your spouse when he or she is struggling with depression will help others.
The heroYou are not the hero of this story. Jesus is. The sooner you get that, the sooner you’ll have any chance at all of really helping your spouse in this time.
The hard reality—and the good reality—is that, much as we want to, we cannot fix our spouse’s depression. No words, no encouragement, no number of chores taken up on their behalf will do the trick. There is no switch to flip, no magic incantation to take away the darkness. That doesn’t make those things meaningless. Your spouse needs every bit of help you can give. But operate with no illusions: you will not make your husband or wife better with those actions.
This is freeing, really. You can simply do your best every moment, and trust that God is bigger and greater and capable of doing all you cannot do. You can’t carry her; don’t try. Do what you can do.
Love unconditionally—really unconditionally. Pray like crazy, and all the time. Remind your spouse of the gospel: all that God has done on her behalf, all that he is doing in the world, all that he will do in the end. Remind him of God’s incredible love, poured out on his behalf. Remind her that he made her, that he delights in her, that she reflects his glory, that she is precious in his sight. Remind him that Jesus died on his behalf and now lives on his behalf, always praying for him. . .Read the rest at Ardent Fidelity >> Marriage and Depression
We don't marry because we desire a lifelong friend. We marry because "Jesus died to show us his love; we now get to die to show our spouses his love." We pray that God may grant us spouses whom we die for and who die for us and produce children whom we also die for. The ultimate goal being that together we may fight the good fight of the faith in a broken world wth broken consciences and broken bodies into an everlasting life where we will be brought into a new world with cleansed consciences and mended bodies— free from sin. That is why we marry. Thanks be to God for husbands in the world like Chris who show us what sacrifice in marriage is all about. A struggle indeed, but a worthy struggle.