My Husband Has Depression and Wants A Divorce: How to Save the Marriage When Your Partner Is Depressed

Just about everyone has had at least a few periods - however short - of depression in life. It happens to most of us, but most of us bounce back sooner or later to a more "normal" level of well-being.

I'm Not Talking About Grief or Sadness

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about grief or sadness, which if you are human over 5 years of age you have certainly experience. In grief or sadness, you can feel low and down, but your self-esteem and sense of purpose in life doesn't suffer.

What is far less clear and far less discussed is the effect on partners of the depressed person in marriage.

Having a depressed partner is a drag. I don't care how much compassion and understanding you have, after a while it just becomes very heavy, like carrying around a bag of cement. No matter how much you love your partner, eventually you feel what psychologists call "compassion fatigue."

What Doesn't Help the Situation

If your partner is depressed for a long period of time, you will likely run a gamut of feelings toward him or her. Initially - because this is a person you love and married - you will no doubt feel compassion and love for your partner and wonder what you can do to help.

Then typically you'll feel a little less warmly toward the person and begin to feel rather impatient. When will your partner come out of the depression and be the person they used to be? No one can say for sure.

Finally you have or will come to a place where the experience will tend to make you feel angry, frustrated and wonder how in the world you got into this situation and how can you get out of it.

All of this is a natural response on your part; so don't feel alone or strange about it. It's much better to begin to figure out what you're going to do about it than to dwell on the circumstance and how you got into it in the first place.

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You Can't Fix It

The only person whose behavior and actions you can really control is you and yours. You cannot fix another person's depression! Please let that sink in fully. Many people think that if they act a certain way things will get better with their partner and they will "get over" being depressed.

It doesn't work that way. Depression can be complicated, but it's usually part psychological and part physical.

So What Can You Do?

What I'm about to say you might find shocking. The first thing you need to do is realize that you can leave and start a new life, and you do not need to think that how anyone else will think or feel toward you is your business. Most of what we do as a result of "guilt" or seeming "responsibility" is merely our being intimidated by cultural factors.

You have to start with the freedom to think seriously about leaving and starting a new life. Whether you do so or not is of course entirely up to you, but you need to know fully and honestly that you have that option and no one should be able to stop you from acting on it.

There really is not reason you should be miserable the rest of your life, unless you really want to be. It took me a long time to accept that there really are people who like to be miserable, and if you're one of those be my guest.

That thought alone may give you some freedom to realistically assess the situation and decide if it is one you want to stay in.

If you do decide to stay in the marriage, there are things you can do.

One of those is to develop a life of your own separate from your partner. That can be anything from being part of a club or a hobby to actually having another relationship if your morals and beliefs permit it.

Another is that you can either on your own or with the help of a therapist to explain the situation to your partner and that you are assessing your options, including leaving the marriage.

You'd be surprised how often people actually "snap out" of depression when they realize that they need to in order to keep something precious, such as their marriage.

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As you start down the path to learn how to save your marriage it doesn't come with any guarantee of success. Overall, in order to help save your marriage you've got to really want to do it as it is going to take a lot of time and effort. But if you still love your spouse, it is always worth the effort.

A solid marriage must have good communication. It's a particularly important part in any relationship. And a breakdown in that communication is a main reason that marriages starts to collapse. If this is the case in your marriage the quality of communication has to get better. One of the ways you can start to improve communication is by making sure each of you has time to talk. Make sure that you each have time to talk without interruption from the other person. Say for instance that you give each other perhaps three or four minutes before the other can interject or have a turn to say what's on their mind.

During these conversations each of you needs to be able to be:

- First of all honest with yourself and your partner.
- Be patient about your situation and each other. These problems in your marriage were not caused overnight. Neither will they be solved over night.
- Don't expect your spouse to see things exactly the same way you do.
- You need to apologize to your partner for the things you each have done to contribute to your situation.
- But don't expect them to be able to forgive you right away.
- You need to give each other some space and time to sort out what you each want and need.
- Be aware that your partner may be resistant to what you are trying to do. They also may agree but be inconsistent and not totally honest in the beginning. However you can meet and overcome any challenges that come up if you really want to.
- A really important thing is stay away from any attempts by you to mould your spouse into being a different person.

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Once you've been able to establish some good and honest communication, then you can start figuring out where things went wrong. You each need to come up with a list of what you think your problems are and some possible solutions to the problems.

Frankly any serious problems in a marriage, addictions, emotional issues or about money can cause your marriage to start falling apart. If you can, try to deal with your problems pro-actively especially the small issues. Some problems are as small as who's picking up the child from school. While more serious issues like managing the family's finances often need more time to find solutions.

Often when a person is going through these challenges and they don't have someone to talk to about it they become extremely upset which affects their marriage. Often people need some outside help to go through any turmoil in their relationship. Sometimes all it takes is a little advice and help to get them through. But finding that someone who can guide you through all the emotions is not easy.

Maybe the easiest to reach are ministerial or pastoral counselors. They can often be a lot of help especially on the smaller issues. Sometimes professional help is required. This help may also be able to get to the base issues and other various problems.

If you're having problems in your marriage and you wish to avoid a divorce, it is imperative that you be prepared to do something about it. From all my understanding of human behavior I've learned that if you don't start taking action right away to sort out this area of your life, there's very little chance you'll do anything about it down the road.

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When a relationship is on the rocks it can be a very miserable time for both parties concerned. Feelings of anger, resentment, and failure all come to the fore. This is often the time when people find it hard to deal with the emotional trauma linked to a marriage breakdown, and because of this, they tend to throw in the towel and call it a day. However if you really want to fight to save your relationship then there are steps that you can take to fix a marriage and start to turn it around.

Step 1 - Acknowledgment and acceptance
This may sound a little obvious, but how can you begin to fix a marriage in trouble if you do not see that there is a problem? Therefore the first thing to do is to acknowledge that there is a problem, and more importantly, the need to accept your part in the marriage breakdown. Even if you do not see it as your fault, things happen for a reason. So if you can see where you might have made mistakes and learn to accept it then you can move on from here.

Step 2 - Communication
Again this is a bit of a cliche, but communication does not just mean talking at or over your partner. It means being able to listen to your partner and truly understand what they are telling you and the reasons behind it. Sometimes in situations like these your partner will tell you things that you do not particularly want to hear. In this situation it is best to try to keep calm, maybe take 5 minutes out and think about what they have said, take it on board and move on. If you can master the art of good communication and listening, then this is definitely another step in the right direction.

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Step 3 - Identify problems
Once you are able to communicate together without it ending in an argument, then you need to work together to find out the main causes of the marriage problem. Sometimes these causes are deep rooted and can manifest themselves into the behaviours that you have experienced. For example, you may well find that your spouse does not want to get intimate with you any more. This is probably not because they do not fancy you, but it might be because they are worried about something, or they are angry with you over another issue that has not yet been resolved. So you see, until you can get to the bottom of the problem or problems, only then can you move forward with your relationship.

Step 4 - Move forward together
The final step to start to turn your marriage around is to move forward together. By this I mean take each problem as it arises and tackle it together. Find solutions or compromises to the problems by discussing them together calmly. Ranting and raving will get you nowhere, and will only succeed in taking the relationship back to square one.

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Do: Nail Down the Underlying Problems

The first thing you need to do in a damaged marriage is to figure out what has gone wrong. You both obviously loved each other enough to make a marriage commitment, so what has changed? Is there some behavior that has gotten out of control? Have you lost interest in each other emotionally or physically? You will need to understand exactly what the problems are before you can attempt to fix them, either by yourselves or with the help of a relationship professional.

Do: Take a Time Out

Just like in professional sports, when players emotions get out of control someone calls for a time out. That allows for some decompression time so that emotions can cool off so the players can get their heads back in the game. The same is true for relationships. Rather than escalate conflict, you both need to agree to take some time out to cool off. You need to call a truce while you both sort things out.

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Don't: Use the Silent Treatment

It is extremely tempting to clam up and shut down when things go awry in a marriage. The typical scenario involves both parties giving each other the old cold shoulder. All this does is create a standoff, where both parties are waiting for the other one to "give in" or make the first move. Of course, after some period of time you both just end up madder than before so if someone does break the silence it is usually just to ratchet up the argument. Try to remain civil while you are in time out. You can still be respectful and cooperative.

Don't: Take Your Complaints Public

Don't run off and start to complain to all of your family and friends about what a jerk your husband is. Usually they will just side with you and give you even more reasons to stay angry. Plus, if you do patch things up you have made it more difficult to socialize with family and friends who you have dumped on because they will feel uncomfortable around you as a couple and harbor bad feelings toward your spouse. You don't want to encourage gang warfare if you really hope to make things better in your marriage.

Don't: Threaten and Nag

It is tempting to keep giving your spouse a piece of your mind when things get really rocky. However, all this does is cause both of you to dig in deeper and just reinforces the sad state of affairs your relationship has become. Try to maintain your composure, and keep your chin up. Instead of focusing on how angry you are, do things for yourself and keep yourself up. Don't succumb to depression. Stay active and as much as possible try to stay positive.

If you are really asking yourself, "Can my marriage be saved", there is a good chance that it can. It takes two to save a marriage and you are already thinking about how to go about it. If you can get your spouse thinking the same way then you are already starting on the path to successfully repairing your relationship and saving your marriage.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

Author's Bio: 

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