“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.” — Helen Keller

Facing the death of a dear one is too difficult to believe and the pain is unbearable to any person. The effect of grief will be devastating if one of your beloved friends or family members has passed away. No matter how much time you spend to forget this shock, their death is difficult to deal with.

Many experts say that grief is a part of life. But it can be said also that it is one of the hardest parts of life which is difficult to understand. It might be a very lonely journey for a person who is experiencing grief. People might feel like going crazy, as their surrounding world is thriving happily where they’re living in isolation.

Severe grief can affect a married person equally like any other single person. A married person feels just as isolated and confused like any other person feels due to the demise of their dear ones. The situation of the other partner will also become worse as they can’t provide support to the sufferer when they need their help.

When a person is experiencing grief, his or her strength to mingle into a relationship becomes far less than normal. He or she becomes confused and easily overreacts on simple issues due to the feeling of grief. In many cases, the sufferer of normal grief may experience different mental issues such as depression and anxiety, which may turn into complicated grief and become another barrier to his or her relationship with the partner.

Symptoms of grief that create issues in a marriage

Initially, you can’t differentiate the symptoms of complicated grief with normal grief, during the first few months after a tragic incident. But, with time it is possible that normal grief can turn into complicated grief and ruin your marriage life. Complicated grief is an ongoing, aggressive state of mourning which creates problems in a simple marital life and prevents the sufferer from healing.

Symptoms of complicated grief can be described:

  • Not accepting the death
  • Intense pain, sorrow, due to the loss
  • Focusing on the cause of grief rather than other things
  • Excessive avoidance towards partners
  • Numbness or detachment in the relationship
  • Bitterness about relationships
  • Losing the purpose of life and its importance
  • Losing trust upon partner
  • Thinking negative and stop enjoying life

The most popular model for understanding grief was a 1969 book titled On Death and Dying, developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD. According to her opinion the five stages of the grief cycle are as follows:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance/hope

Kübler-Ross also thinks there are a few more phrases that can be considered as any significant personal loss. These phases may include a job loss, broken relationship, poor health issues, expecting one’s death, and the probable demise of a loved one.

As per other mental health experts, there are two more stages of grieving:

  1. shock or disbelief and b. guilt

How to provide support to a grieving spouse?

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” — Winnie the Pooh

Considering your spouse’s poor mental health, you may follow these options:

a) Keep your patience – Understand that these are merely normal stages of grief and they may last for a few days or months. So, you shouldn’t be panicking and keep your patience.

b) Handle with compassion – You should express your compassion towards your spouse as your partner is going through a traumatic life transition. One wrong behavior of yours may change his/her view about your relationship.

c) Get help from family – Ask your family and friends to support you and your spouse. Encourage your family members to talk with your spouse about the grief, and share an emotional bonding. Sometimes the presence of other loved ones may heal such emotional wounds quickly.

d) Keep communicating – Do not judge or blame your spouse about his/her situation. Due to severe grief, he or she might lose interest in communicating or other marital activities. It is your duty to soothe him/her without hurting the emotions. It is important to understand that your spouse is in pain. So, the more you communicate, the better you can help him/her to get away from the sorrow.

e) Motivate to exercise – Encourage your spouse to start exercising as it is a natural antidepressant and will help your spouse to release endorphins. The proper workout will help humans to lower stress, tension, sadness, trauma, and it will increase your appetite too.

f) Encourage towards meditation – Yoga and meditation can also be a great option to heal a mind without taking harmful medicines. It will not only reduce grief, trauma, anxiety but will also improve the physical health of your spouse. Deep breathing is the best medicine to lower stress. Your spouse can even practice meditation to fight against grief while getting back to regular work.

g) Opt for Physiotherapy – Your spouse may feel health issues, particularly muscle cramps during his/her grief period. It is normal, it happens due to tension and anxiety. Physiotherapy may heal muscle tension due to stress and make your spouse relaxed a bit. The touch therapy is very effective, you may even do it yourself.

h) Increase sexual activities – Having sex is the best workout that couples can perform to boost their physical health, as well as cure mental health issues. Due to severe grief, your spouse may lose interest in sexual activities. Due to that reason, like any other normal couple, you both may also face a hard time in your relationship. If you want to save your marriage and cure your spouse, then you should encourage him/her to maintain a healthy sexual life ahead.

Katherine J. Wu, Ph.D. from Harvard University added -” Dopamine, produced by the hypothalamus, is a particularly well-publicized player in the brain’s reward pathway – it’s released when we do things that feel good to us. In this case, these things include spending time with loved ones and having sex. High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric.”

As per sex therapist Dr. Carlen Costa, It is also proved that during sex, the brain releases oxytocin hormone accompanied by melatonin. These primary hormones regulate our body clocks. Melatonin has a “calming” effect on our brains.

  1. i) Keep addiction away – You have to check that your spouse does not fall for any addiction during this situation. Alcohol or drugs will only increase your problems, both mentally and physically. You must understand the relationship between grief and addiction, and take needed measures accordingly.
  2. j) Opt for professional help – If you require additional support from a professional, do not hesitate a bit. It’s about keeping your spouse cured. You may search in your neighborhood or seek assistance online. Do not forget to check for reviews and patient testimonials, and then choose the suitable Psychotherapist near you.

My friend Barbara also experienced the same situation a couple of years ago. She was living at Redondo Beach – Los Angeles County, California with her husband and with two kids. The sudden demise of her mother made her broken from inside. She was totally devastated due to severe grief and can’t concentrate on daily work and even on her kids. Her husband Kevin asked me for help and I suggested to him a reputed medical clinic in Redondo Beach. After a few sessions, she started improving. With proper medications and time, she is fully recovered now and living her life immensely.

Endnotes

“You will survive and you will find purpose in the chaos. Moving on doesn’t mean letting go.” — Mary VanHaute

Managing grief is difficult and needs the courage to come out of the situation. But when you come out of it with a better, transformed personality, you will feel more courageous and will be ready to face any challenge life gives you in the future.

 

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Ralph Macey

Ralph Macey is associated with the SavantCare which is a mental health clinic, where his job is to look after those people who are suffering from chronic mental disorders. His motto is to focus on the integrated interventions to improve mental health conditions and the other alternative approaches to healing.

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