Marriage Counseling: How To Support Your Grieving Spouse
Marriage counseling is available at Take Charge, Inc. to help you support a spouse who is experiencing grief and loss. The loss can be of a parent, sibling, another family member, friend, pet or a job. As we discussed in a previous blog, Polyvagal Theory tells us that safe, supportive relationships in which we are allowed to experience our responses to grief without judgment are necessary for healing. We know that the support of loved ones is the single greatest factor in how well one recovers from grief and loss.
Grief And Relationships
Grief and loss have a profound effect on our relationships as well as our inner selves. The unfortunate truth is that most people do not feel that their spouse or partner fully understands what they are going through in processing their grief, and that places significant strain on the relationship.
Grief and loss may also affect our relationships by causing us to develop anxious or avoidant tendencies. It can make us afraid to be vulnerable and connect with people. This is a completely normal response, but it is harmful if we do not take steps to correct it. One way to do this is in marriage counseling. Compassionate understanding from self and spouse or partner is necessary for healing, and marriage counseling can help to facilitate that.
How To Provide Healthy Support
Watching someone you love being devoured by grief can be nearly as difficult as experiencing loss yourself. Even more difficult is knowing how to support them. Most of us have said the wrong thing more than once in this situation. There are three keys to supporting a grieving partner that you must remember: listen to them, encourage them to talk about their feelings, and let them be quiet when they need to.
Listen To Them
Talking about the deceased person (or other loss) and working through memories and feelings about them are crucial to the grieving process. Provide an empathetic ear for your partner and encourage them to reminisce. Marriage counseling can help you learn how to listen in a way that gives your partner the best possible support.
Encourage Release Of Emotion
It is important never to tell anyone who is experiencing grief not to cry or express their
feelings. Do not tell them to calm down or stop feeling angry or fearful. Don’t tell them they are strong by not feeling. Encourage them to express all of their feelings, even if that means crying and screaming. Marriage counseling is a safe place to get all of this out.
Let Them Be Quiet
As much as encouraging your partner to talk and express themselves is crucial, so is allowing them to be silent when they feel like it. Just having you nearby without having to talk about anything can be a huge comfort to them. When your spouse feels like being quiet, simply offer a hand to hold or arm around them for support.
Marriage Counseling At Take Charge Can Help You Support Your Partner
At Take Charge, Inc. we apply the Polyvagal approach to grief in order to provide understanding without judgment and a safe, supportive environment for healing. We can provide specific prompts and questions you can ask your partner to help facilitate the processing of their grief as well as strategies to help you communicate better.
Grief and loss can often be detrimental and destructive to a marriage, but marriage counseling can help to guide you through processing the grief and strengthen your bond as you do. For more information, call Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255. To make an appointment, click here.
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