How Do I Help My Husband When He’s Hurting?

I often talk about moments when I am hurting mentally, physically and emotionally on here. Most of those hurts have simply come from life throwing its challenges at me. However, many have also come from witnessing my husband’s pain. It’s a sickening hurt, and I absolutely hate it.

What do I mean by “sickening hurt?” When my husband is struggling with life’s punches, I suffer silently while trying to be both supportive and keep my distance in order for him to deal. For a long time, I didn’t know how to do both of those things for him. I could only do one at a time. I was either pestering him with “Are you okay?” every 10 minutes, or keeping too far of a distance and allowing him to be content with healing the way men were taught to heal. “Don’t cry.”  “Don’t express your feelings, that’s weak.” “Suck it up, and keep it moving.” While those things work for smaller situations, they are the furthest things from being healthy and present mentally, physically and emotionally when dealing with difficult circumstances. Contrary to belief, it is perfectly fine to support your man when he is down. Social media and reality television have portrayed supporting men in a negative light. It’s almost as if women are either like doormats and let the men walk all over them, or they feel like supporting their man means he thinks she’s his mother.

I’ve known my husband since I was 10, and we’ve literally grown up with one another. He’s the mumbo sauce to my chicken (it’s a DC thing). So it truly hurts me to see him dealing with life knowing that there isn’t much I can do. I know many women experience this in their relationships. So how do we help? What do we do during these moments? I’m no expert or relationship guru, but I’ll share what I’ve learned and what I practice.

Ask him what problem(s) he is facing. By simply asking your partner, “What’s going on  babe?” opens the lines of communication. It’s the first step to letting him know you care, and you’ve noticed that he seems bothered by something.

Listen to him. Don’t speak. Just listen. We often ask our partners “What’s wrong?” and ask him to communicate, but then we take over the convo. Effective communication requires listening. You can’t ask him to talk, and then you do all the talking. Most men were raised in an environment of “Talking about your feelings is a sign of weakness.” When we create a safe place for our partner to open up, it becomes easier for him in the future.

Ask him is there a specific way that he needs you to support him. We often assume that we are supporting our significant other (S.O.) the way that he needs to be supported, but it could be the opposite of what he needs. Make attempts to speak his love language, however, it takes nothing to ask him “How can I support you?” When I know there’s nothing I can do, I simply ask my husband, “What would you like me to include in my prayer for you?”

Speak life into him, and let him know that you are there for him whenever he needs you. Sometimes, we don’t know how deep a problem is rooted with our S.O. They could have made every attempt at working on themselves before becoming committed to you, and then one incident stirs up a deep rooted issue. Although we are adults, we are still individuals who are constantly evolving. We need a lot of grace! Speak positivity into your man! Remind him of how resilient he is. Remind him he is an overcomer.

Sex is not the answer. Sex only pleases the surface and does nothing for the underlying issue. I personally believe sex can be a form of healing or therapy, but only after the issue has been addressed and worked on. Oxytocin is released when two are engaging in sexual intercourse. It is the same chemical that is released when a mother gives birth to her baby or when she breastfeeds. So, yes. Sex works, but it is not the problem solver.

Pray for him. Pray for yourself. Pray for your family. We are only human. More often, we need God to work on our partner’s behalf. We also need God to strengthen us during this time. While he’s healing, he may come off as distant, needy, a jerk, or not himself. It takes a lot of help from God to not spaz on him. Dealing with life doesn’t give him the excuse to walk around angry at the world or you, but it could happen. Pray for your strength, pray for healing and covering over your entire family. If you share children, pray for your children. It’s important that they see us have weak moments so they won’t grow up feeling like failures when they run into problems. Reassure them it’s nothing they’ve done. It is also important to explain to them that when they become adults that there will be seasons where they are having a rough time. Continue to pray that your children are able to navigate through their mental and emotional issues healthily.

Encourage him to seek therapy. For a long time in the black community, seeking therapy has been viewed as a negative thing. Remind him that therapy isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t make him crazy. You can only do but so much. It is not your job to heal him or try and fix him. That is a self thing. Encourage him to continue with therapy even after he has dealt with what was hurting him. Therapy is a great source all year round.

Leave him alone. Allow him to deal. You’ve already told him that the door is open for whenever he needs you. If you’ve opened the door, and he’s told you that he would let you know if he needs something, it’s extremely annoying when you’re in his face constantly or trying to get information out of him. As long as the problem is not with your or your relationship, you have to learn how to support your loved one from a distance. Leaving someone alone doesn’t mean you abandon them. It’s simply the act of giving them some space.

Reach out to your mentor or married friend who has the same values as you. You need support too! This has been one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I have been ready to act a fool toward my husband, and my mentor has helped me to calm down. Let’s face it. We have some amazing friends, but not all are in relationships. If they are in a relationship, they may not handle things the same way as you. You need someone you can lean on, who will challenge you to change your perspective, who will call you out when you’re wrong, and will support you when you’re right.

It’s hard enough dealing with your own issues, and marriage forces you to have to care about another person’s feelings. It’s not an easy fete, and marriage is not for the weak. When your partner is experiencing stress due to personal situations, it can affect both of you together or you two individually. It may affect your conversations with one another, appetites, personality and character, intimacy and more. Let’s be clear, when it comes to men and them dealing with struggle, they can act like real jerks. But I’ll give you one more point that I’ve learned from my mentor. Sometimes you have to sit back and close your mouth. You have to learn that there is a time for every conversation. It’s not in your best interest to address another issue when you already know he’s dealing with something else. You won’t get the feedback you desire, and you’ll end up making things worse for you AND him. When we bring up our issues at the wrong time, we are left with the potential of getting a response that will then change up OUR attitude. Sometimes we have to tell ourselves, “Now is not the right time. If I bring this up a little later, our conversation will be far better than if we address it now.” Pray your strength in the Lord in order to hold your tongue and to present that issue to him at the right time. I’ve learned when you do that, the conversation goes much better!

It’s when we immediately jump down each other’s throats that communication goes out the window. We are no longer talking, but yelling. No longer listening, just hearing sounds. When it gets like that for my husband and I, I’m ready to throw the boxing gloves on.

I’ll close with this. No matter how connected and unified you are with your partner, you’re still two completely different people. The way you like to be supported may not be what your partner desires or needs. Always remember, everyone copes different. Where there is real struggle that can’t be rectified between you two, be open to marriage counseling or couples counseling if you aren’t married. Counseling doesn’t mean that your relationship is on the brink of ending. It’s being proactive when you realize you both need help sorting through some of your relationship issues. Like I said in Should I Remain Calm, or Curse Him Out? it’s better to seek outside support than to dog your partner out behind their back to your friends and loved ones.

Queendom Wife and Mother has literally been a public diary for me. While I am a private person, I know that sharing my truth will resonate with someone. Writing my feelings and thoughts will not only help me, but others too. Again, I’m no expert. What works for me may not work for you. My spiritual beliefs may not be your belief. Whatever you do, make sure you fill your partner up with positivity when they feel the world is falling on them.

 

Home Is Where the Support Is

Now that I am finally back to momming, wifing and blogging like I used to, I thought I would give a little update on my mental, emotional and location status. Six months ago, I wrote News Flash: We’re Moving!! My family was making a huge move to South Carolina and preparing for a crazy transition. While I was nervous about the move, I was excited for the change of surrounding. Well we made the move, but we moved right back to DC.

South Carolina was beautiful to be honest. I loved being able to walk outdoors with no shoes on, hearing all of the birds chirping and simply experiencing all of what nature had for me. There weren’t any loud bangs or drilling from construction… no loud horns from traffic… and I repeat… NATURE! While dangerous, we saw several alligators in the neighborhood, some turtles, blue jays, red robins and more. I was able to connect with some amazing moms down there also. They were stay-at-home moms who also homeschooled and I instantly clicked with them in-person. With them around, I didn’t feel as alone. However, they weren’t “home.”

Taniya began to like the new area, but quickly grew to miss DC where my mother and her friends were because she wasn’t doing well with making new friends in South Carolina. She was able to make a few, but it wasn’t enough to keep her from dreaming about when she’d be able to make another visit home. I checked in with her bi-weekly to see how she was coping with the transition, and her answer remained the same. I like it here, but it’s not home. I miss my family and friends back home.

Jayla was NOT doing well at all. During the day she was her normal self, but at night?! It was the newborn stage all over again! She had just turned one before we moved and began to sleep longer during the night, as well as drinking almond milk. When we made the move, Jayla struggled falling asleep, woke up every 1-2 hours, and heavily depending on breastfeeding. I knew that it would take some time because it was a different environment, but three months later there was no progress.

I continued to lose sleep rather than gain. I was homeschooling, unpacking, tending to a sensitive and teething toddler, tending to an excited but timid 7-year-old, missing my husband while he was away on the road while also trying to cope with the transition as well. It got so hard and so dark very quick. I couldn’t handle it emotionally or mentally. That’s when postpartum depression (I Am Not A Burden) hit me hard and I felt like I was slowly dying in the inside. I was not happy at all.

Because it was a new location, and I was just getting familiar with my new mom friends in person,  I didn’t feel comfortable with leaving my children with anyone. This resulted in me having both of my daughters 24/7 with no breaks. I had no alone time and I was breaking down. My support system was back in DC. Those who knew when I needed an hour to myself… Those who would call and ask if they could stop by. They weren’t near. We arrived in late November. By mid February I new South Carolina wasn’t our home. Home was where my support was. I was ok with that.

The great part about moving away was learning that I don’t have to mother alone. Taking care of my children is not up just to me, it’s up to my village, James and I. It truly does take a village to raise children. For so long I had it in my mind that because I decided to become a mother, that it was my duty to do and be everything. I was so wrong. That statement doesn’t mean that my village is supposed to take care of my children all the time. It means taking care of my husband and I also. Taking the girls for a little so that we can have some time to pour into each other as husband and wife. Giving me some time to myself and allowing me to come back to my children refreshed. In order for this to happen, I had to become comfortable with knowing that I needed help and asking for it with confidence.

The hard part was making accommodations to move all of our things back to DC. It took a lot, but it happened. We’re back home with my mom for the time being and I’m in no rush to move. I want us to take this time to get a game plan in place and build ourselves financially. Moving back and forth in a 4-month span took a toll on our bank accounts so we don’t want to make any sudden moves.

All in all, I’ve learned that “You live and you learn.” I felt so dumb for how everything played out, but I wouldn’t have grown the way that I did had we not made that move. Moving away put so many things in perspective for me and has truly forced me to create boundaries in order to protect my family and I.

Through this experience, God truly forced me to evaluate myself and how I operate. I need to have people around me who I can ask for help and not feel like I am burdening them. I’m always a listening ear and supporter emotionally for others. I need to make sure I have people around me who can do the same for me. And most importantly… self care! I am so important! I have to remember that. One of my biggest fears is my children losing me at a young age. If I keep up with the lack of self-care shenanigans, that will become a reality.

I didn’t plan on writing about our moving back home because I was embarrassed about our plans not going well after making such a big hoopla about it. But I began to feel more confident and gain more clarity. I also kept running into people who kept saying, “what are you doing here? I thought you were in South Carolina?!”

 

Should I Remain Calm, or Curse Him Out?

It’s a known fact that when you’re in a relationship, at some point you and your partner will disagree. That doesn’t mean that each time you disagree it will rock your foundation. In my opinion, a disagreement in a relationship is the outcome of two completely different people trying to either make the other conform to their ways, or the two are trying to understand one another and meet on common grounds. Attitudes soar in disagreements and then it turns into an argument. In those intense moments, it’s super important to think about what your response or reaction will be. Effective communication is best. A screaming match, sleeping in separate rooms, going out drinking, or cheating won’t correct any issue within your relationship. Another mistake people make is talking about their partner terribly to family and friends when an argument has taken place.

We often make the mistake of dogging our spouse out to others behind their back. Simply put, words hurt. Even though you’re not saying it to them directly, you’re planting seeds about them in other people and putting it out there into the universe. Your words hold weight. Scripture says that the power of life and death lie within our tongues. We have to remember that old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” No matter how mad you are, no matter how sad you are… Think about what you’re saying before you say it. This doesn’t mean you have to sit quietly and suppress your emotions. It’s more so the act of practicing self control and loving your spouse through your pain and/or anger. Most of the time it’s not what our partners are saying, but it’s how they’re saying it that truly affects us.

Our words tend to be a reflection of our heart.

I don’t know how many times my friends and I and have had to reset our thoughts about each other’s boyfriends because we only spoke about the negative aspects of our relationships. We share all of our negative thoughts about our partners, never putting an emphasis on the good they do. In turn, we’re sowing a seed in ourselves and those around us. Now, if you’re in a relationship with a jerk, it is what it is. There’s no good to report.

So… should I keep calm or curse him out? Usually my initial thought is to curse him out and throw something at him, but I choose to stay calm. Why? Because although my feelings are valid, they may only be for the moment. I have to take the necessary time to assess what my husband has said to me to see if I truly agree or disagree. If I respond the wrong way immediately, it makes it hard to come back and remedy the situation.

This isn’t always an easy task. Most times I feel like I’m shutting down my feelings and letting him “win.” However, when I take the time to calm down, I’m able to come back to him and ask pertinent questions about what he said. Afterwards, I’m either able to confirm the feelings I felt or realize that I didn’t hear any of what he said correctly. I tend to shut my husband out after I hear the first point that I disagree with and my emotions naturally take over.

A few months ago, my husband and I were in a deep debate about the future of our family, and it was taking a toll on both of us. I was seriously sick because it was the first time we actually disagreed and neither of us were hinting at conceding to the other. We couldn’t see eye-to-eye, and I was confident in my feelings. I had no plans of backing down. We eventually softened our hearts to one another, but it was after a lot of prayer and guidance from my spiritual mentor. Guess what? My stance was valid, but my way turned out to be the wrong way.  Had we gone with my decision, we would have surely suffered. I gratefully stepped back, and let God and my husband do the work. I wanted to curse him out every time I spoke to him, and I wanted to run to my mother and friends and talk badly about him just so that I could hear “yeah you are so right.” I’m glad I didn’t. Instead, I prayed without ceasing and sought godly advice from those loved ones.

Over the years, I’ve matured gracefully and gained a great circle of accountability. I had no need to speak ill about my husband to my support system because they were able to offer sound advice rather than just their opinions. Get your mind right, learn how to communicate effectively, pray without ceasing for yourself, your partner and your relationship, and get your circle in order! Lastly, “be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.”