Times of grief and times of sadness come to us all. Bad days at work. Rough days mothering. Anxious days awaiting results for medical tests, job reports, or even difficult conversations can take their toll on any relationship.
If your loved one is going through a difficult time, one often wonders, “What can I do?” Here are 5 ways that you can comfort your spouse if they are having a bad day.
Let them talk
- Ask leading questions, “How are you feeling?” or “Would you like to talk about it?”
- Simply listen to what they are saying.
- Let the hurt one verbally express their feelings without judgment or arguing back.
- Nod occasionally, verbalize words of understanding, so they know that you are actively listening
Use your words comfortingly
- Send text messages or call them if you’re not able to be there physically
- Let them know that you hear them and you care for them
- Try not to say things like, “I understand what you’re feeling” unless you have walked that road
- Instead of asking, “What can I do?”, ask “Can I help do _____”
- Ask if you can do simple tasks such as laundry, bathroom cleaning, grocery shopping or running errands.
- Questions that inspire thought in the person, such as, asking them if they need to pay a bill or assistance to perform a task.
Give them the Gift of Freedom.
Some people need to physically get away for a little while or a few days. This is especially true for people who are caretakers of others such as mothers of small children or long-term care providers who are always helping other people.
- Offer to be the caregiver while your spouse goes to Starbucks alone
- Allow them to go to their room, take a hot shower and be undisturbed for 1 hour or longer.
- Go away for one or two days in a hotel and enjoy each other’s company
Let them feel your presence while respecting their boundaries of space
Some people are touchy-feeling and others aren’t. Some like to cuddle, be wrapped in huge bear hugs…and others simply need the acknowledgment of your presence. If you are unsure, just simply ask.
- Give a hug
- Sit with them
- Hold them in a tender embrace for a longer period of time
In times of sadness, busyness, or even great grief, words often fail us. No one knows what to say. In fact, at those times, words are not needed. Just your presence is. Be with them in their comfort, and let them physically feel your love.