How to Support a Grieving Spouse
Overcoming grief is difficult. Grieving often occurs as a result of losing a loved one. Most bereaved individuals describe this as a period of time when life seems to nearly stop, but everything else keeps going. Sporadic outbursts of emotion and social withdrawal are common displays of grief. Grief can also be contagious, as it not only affects the person in mourning but also surrounding people. Supporting a grieving spouse can be frustrating, because you cannot fix or erase the loss. But you can offer healthy moral support and assistance.
Understand that everyone grieves differently. Whether they spend an excessive amount of time crying or they express frustration and anger, these reactions are a part of grieving. Identify the signs of grieving, and this will make working through the process easier.
Avoid scrutinizing the grieving spouse or pointing out certain aspects of her behavior that may seem inappropriate. Certain displays of frustration or anger likely have nothing to do with the state of your relationship. It is merely a display of grief.
Choose your words carefully. Avoid asking too many questions regarding the person being grieved over. In most cases, discussing the situation can be extremely difficult for a long time. Express your care without it involving a barrage of questions.
Give the grieving spouse space if he is suffering from social withdrawal as a result of his grief. He may shut down momentarily when it comes to engaging in normal activities. Sexual activity, or maybe even public display of affection altogether, may be at an all-time low in the relationship. Be respectful and supportive. It is only a temporary state for your relationship.
Offer support in multiple ways to make your spouse’s life a little easier. Take on certain tasks that you normally wouldn’t do; this is an excellent way to alleviate some of your spouse’s stress. Everyday aspects of life, such as working, managing finances, cooking, cleaning and raising children are naturally challenging without grief being experienced at the same time.
Be patient with your spouse during this difficult time. Grief can last anywhere from 3 months to a year. Although this period seems like an extremely long time for you, the loss may seem like yesterday for your spouse. With patience and support, life will gradually become easier for you and your spouse.