There is nothing easy for two strangers to live together and be in a marriage. The relationship will always be complicated, and although some were able to make it look easy, it never was. Between love and work, love is far more complicated and even more challenging. “The truth is that mature love is developed through daily feeding of the marriage and devotion to the relationship, which provide the oxygen that allows partners to survive and thrive in the vicissitudes of life,” explained by Stan Tatkin Psy.D.
Before my wife and I got married, she was a very jolly and sociable woman, but when she had our firstborn, she suffered from depression. I felt like a heavy burden was on my shoulders. I asked God why He put us on a test of faith challenging our relationship this early stage in our married life.
My wife and I used to deal with problems together. But then, when she started to have bouts of depression, I had to face the challenges alone. It had become exhausting that one day something inside me just snapped. I knew it. I have always been that aware of myself, but now with the bad days, I feel like I am also losing it. I found myself worrying all the time – worrying about money, the kids, bills, stability at work, and being able to keep the house.
I would yell at my wife and often lose my temper with the kids. I would rather be home late than be with them because home just made me more stressed. I knew that my kids were the ones who suffered the most, but I didn’t know how to put my family together anymore. We would rather ignore each other than just yell and agitate each other.
For months we have been like that. Nothing seemed good or healthy. I noticed that my wife started smoking and drinking, and even began the habit of talking to herself when she was mad. I sensed a feeling of hopelessness within her.
I needed to pull myself together, so I asked friends for advice, and they gave some suggestions on what I should do. I tried what they told me, but nothing worked. My last resort was to see a marriage counselor. “Couples therapy can’t be successful without both partners buying into the relationship for at least for the foreseeable future.” said Alicia H. Clark PsyD, that’s what I read from her blog. The marriage counselor told me that I could do it alone first, and then I can slowly convince my wife to do it with me. The counselor prepared me for possible negative reactions and rejections from my wife. When I felt that I was ready, I asked her out on a date.
I had no idea what we were going to talk about, so I just let her lead the conversation. The things that she had said that night made me sad, too. She spoke helplessly about what was going on in our lives. There were times when I can sense anger in her voice, but I just tried to listen and be calm and not answer back in order to guide her back into her relaxed state. She told me how she had lost interest in things she once loved doing and had no energy to continue with her hobbies.
The night went well, and the following week I tried to make time for us to have a walk in the park, and there I talked to her about the marriage counseling, and that I have started it. She looked me in the eyes, stared without a blink, and then she cried. She told me maybe that was the reason why I had changed and had dared to deal with our problems. She thanked me for having taken the initiative and agreed to attend counseling with me.
Our counselor referred her to a specialist and changed her medications to St. John’s Wort. It is an herbal alternative for the treatment of depression. It is often mistaken as a weed but has been widely used for medical purposes in other countries for thousands of years. Research has been made and has proven it to be effective. She stopped her previous medicines which did help her for a moment but then she suffered from its adverse effects. Now she uses the St. John’s Wort in capsule form three times a day.
We continued with our marriage counseling, and she regularly sees her psychiatrist and is compliant with her new medicine which she seems to enjoy because of its effectiveness in controlling her depression.
I now feel more relaxed about our situation. My wife is slowly going back to her previous routines. There may be times when she feels a bit down, and when I sense it I cheer her up or ask her on a date. We’ve started talking again like the usual. We try to act calm when problems arise and solve them together like we usually do. It helps ease up the tension and bring back the harmony between us. I can see how happy our kids are now that I am making time for them, and how they have improved in their schooling.
Things are still the same – bills piling up, deadlines, busy work schedule – but we always try to find time to be together as a family, find time to go on a vacation that does not have to be too far or too expensive. It can be just a weekend trip to the lake or somewhere nearby. As long as we are together as a family, it is a vacation we always dreamt of having. We have set house rules to share a meal a day as much as possible.
Our family must be everyone’s priority, and we should consistently be open and supportive of each other as what we have learned in our marriage counseling, and my wife’s depression has become manageable with the help of St. John’s Wort. I also read that “An important part of the interactions between you and your spouse is the way in which you communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings primarily through verbal communication. Your ability to verbally communicate with your spouse can significantly enhance the kind of relationship that will exist between the two of you,” said by Catherine Aponte Psy.D. As much as possible, we are both practicing this, too.