Helping Your Spouse Through a Family Crisis
Jun 01, 2015 02:40PM ● Published by Savannah Ludwig
Being in a marriage means you will share bad times as well as good times with your partner. In some cases, the spouse's side of the family will have serious illnesses, deaths or other crises that will deeply affect their emotions and well-being. It is likely your spouse will feel these emotions much more deeply than you do, and this reality can allow you to provide comfort and help in significant ways.
Be There to Listen
A family crisis can bring up a number of issues that may have been buried for years. Old fears, conflicts, resentments and regrets can resurface at these critical times. Your position on the periphery of the immediate family can allow you to provide needed perspective and comfort to help your spouse get through the difficult period. The most important measure is to be there to listen. If your partner tends to keep feelings bottled up, you may have to provide the atmosphere that is conducive to talking. If you have experienced similar situations with your own family, you are in a position to share your experiences and emotions of that time.
Provide Practical Support
One of the ways you can most help your spouse during difficult family times is to provide practical support to other family members. This help can be in the form of visits to the hospital, helping with childcare, running errands, bringing in food or simply being there to chat with family members. Your contribution, no matter how simple, can make a big difference in how well the family gets through their difficult time.
Be a Diversion
A family crisis can be an overwhelming experience that takes over every thought and emotion. Reminding your spouse that other parts of life are still ongoing can help to provide moments of humor and warmth that are necessary to relieve stress and maintain emotional stability in difficult situations. Going out to dinner or seeing a movie can help to disconnect your spouse from the situation for a short time and give relief from negative thoughts.
Lay on the TLC
Family crises can add even more stress and profoundly impact the health of your spouse. Managing the crisis can cause irregular eating and sleep schedules that can increase stress. Make sure your partner is eating a healthy diet, suggest going for a walk or encourage exercise. See that your spouse has some time for undisturbed sleep so that he or she is able to handle whatever the situation requires. Discourage overuse of alcohol, but note that having a single drink together in a relaxed atmosphere can help to relieve tension at the end of a long day.
Your insight about your spouse's personality and emotional life can be helpful in finding the right measure of support, without excessively overstepping personal boundaries. Be sensitive to your spouse's mood, and be ready to enlist the help of others if necessary.