Death is something that no one likes to deal with, but it happens. Sometimes the loss is expected and other times it’s unexpected. What I’ve learned is neither circumstance makes it easier. I’ve mentioned before that during the first year of our marriage me and my husband experienced the loss of my mother. There were a lot of other events that took place too, but that situation lead to us seeing a marriage counselor. The death of my mother taught me a lot of coping skills on how to deal with loss. But never did I think I would need to use these skills so soon.
Most recently we experienced another death of a close family member, just a month before our 5 year marriage anniversary. It completely came out of no where, and left us feeling off balance. The worse part was seeing my husband hurt, and knowing I couldn’t heal his pain. Not only was I angry because he had to experience such pain, I was confused on how to exactly support him.
Then I thought back on when my mother passed away. I thought back about the things I needed, and the support people offered. Now I’m sure everyone needs during such a sensitive time will be different. However, I do think there are some universal aspects that may help. Here are my tips on supporting your spouse during loss.
I think even though a couple is experiencing such a hurtful event, that it can be used to strengthen their marriage and open them up to a more intimate relationship.
Hurt With Them
I don’t normally talk about spiritual/religious topics on my blog. It’s one aspect of my life I keep private. Also, I like to respect everyone’s beliefs. However, this Bible verse seemed so appropriate when we received the horrible news.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep”. Romans 12:15.
No matter your religious belief, I feel this is so important in supporting your spouse during a loss. Sometimes they are in shock and don’t have the words to express how they feel. Or they may be so hurt that they can’t even cry. When my mother died, seeing how my husband and friends grieved with me helped tremendously. I didn’t feel so alone in losing my mother.
Even if it’s not a time of hurt, listening is an important skill. Really listen to your spouse at this time. It’s a very passive act but has such a great impact on how well you can support your spouse. During a time of loss, they may be full or words or not many words at all. No matter what, always be prepared to offer a empathic ear to them. Chances are they are just trying to process what happened. Let them know that no matter what you are always there to listen.
Make Life A Littler Easier
It’s likely that along with a loss, comes a lot of EXTRA stress. Sometimes there is strife between family members or financial stress. Whatever the case maybe, making life easier for them can help them tremendously. Maybe you can ask family and friends to do a meal train. Or hire a housekeeper to take some of the household chores off of their plate. Or hire someone to do yard work. The smallest amount of help can really relieve a lot of stress.
Take Care Of Yourself
It’s easy to neglect your needs while tending to your spouse. However, this isn’t the time to do it. You can’t be a good support to your partner if your needs aren’t being met. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries. It’s great to also surround yourself with a great support system as well. Confide in friends and family about your concerns and worries as well.
Be Prepared For The Long Haul
Grieving is a process and it takes time. Remind yourself and your spouse that they shouldn’t put themselves on a timeline. That’s a mistake I made. After a few months I thought I should be over my moms death. However, I kept repeating the stages of grief. I also suggest (when the time is right) counseling. It can really help them work through the different stages of grief. It’s a long road to healing, so be mentally prepared for this aspect of grieving. Somedays will be great, and other days will be tough. However, if you both take it one day at a time, you have accomplished a lot.
If you experienced something like this, what are some tips you can offer? I would love to know! Thank you for reading.