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Mental Illness In Marriage
Pre Marital Counseling
Being Married made me realize how important good Pre-Marital counseling and regular marital counseling is. These type of services were not widely available to couples at the time that I got married and when it was offered you had to join the church in order to be counseled.
I am a huge advocate of marital counseling. Premarital counseling helps couples plan for a marriage, not just a wedding. Getting some direction on potential challenges and learning the basic skills to make marriage work is always a good idea. It also doesn’t hurt to give your marriage a check-up every so often, with a qualified marriage counselor.
The importance of counseling is magnified when one or both partners suffer from mental health issues. Mental illness affects more than 45 million Americans. Nearly one out of every five people you meet is struggling with some form of mental illness. That means that it is likely that somebody you know and care about is struggling with a mental health issue. When that person is your spouse or significant other, their mental health concerns become one of the many issues in the relationship that will require you both to go to therapy.
While some people will struggle with their condition for the rest of their lives, others will eventually recover. Whether the issues surrounding your partner’s mental health are persistent or well managed, you need to become well versed in your partner’s symptoms and diagnosis. Can you tell when things are taking a turn for the worse? What can you do to create a home environment that is conducive to their mental health?
Treating Mental Illness
What’s important here is to treat mental illness the same way you would treat any other illness. If your spouse had diabetes or had hypertension, how would you handle it? If your spouse had epilepsy, it’s safe to say that most of us would become amateur neuroscientists to be supportive and informed. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but we have to take the same approach to mental illness. Because that’s what it is, an illness. Not a character flaw. Not a shameful secret. Just an illness.
Talk to your partner about seeing a counselor together to help work through any relationship issues that might be building up. Too often, one partner begins to be more of a caretaker than a spouse,and that breeds resentment which can fester and destroy the relationship. Be sure to keep the spark alive between you.
Talk you your partner’s therapist. You and your partner are part of a team. Sit down with your partner and their therapist and talk about the diagnosis and find out how you can help. This step can seem scary or feel like an invasion of privacy, so be sure that your partner is on-board before you contact the doctor. But, it is a very important component when planning to live with a person who is living with mental illness.
Learn the difference between a few bad days and a real problem. Post-partum depression, anxiety, and PTSD are real mental health issues that many people experience in their lives. There is help available for all of these conditions, but unfortunately, too many people fail to recognize the signs. If your partner has a history of mental illness, it’s important to learn what the warning signs are and how to spot them. But mental illness can be triggered by traumatic or life-changing events. Car crash victims and develop PTSD. High-stress work environments can cause people to
develop anxiety disorders. Get educated, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you think that your partner is having more than just a few bad days.
It’s tempting to want to fix your partner, to want to love them into wellness. It’s important that you get the support you need to make sure that your relationship is healthy for both of you. Because the truth is that you can’t fix your partner. You can’t love them into wellness. But you can love them and support them as they heal.
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