Episode 7 (part 1 & 2) of "10 Questions to Ask About Your Marriage Health" asks couples to consider how they handle stress. Due to the recent loss of Renae's Mom, we decided to focus specifically on the stress of losing a loved one and how it might affect a relationship. Also, we talk about how we can keep our marriage strong and support one another through the turmoil of loss. Listen Here: Part 1 and Part 2
Here are some other tips for ways to encourage and support one another through loss of a loved one:
1. Be patient - recognize that each person processes grief in a different way and be patient with your spouse as they work through the process. Keep loving them with words and actions even if they are not reciprocating as they usually do.
2. Reduce expectations around the house for a time as they tend to the emotional and practical dynamics of dealing with loss. Give your spouse space to work through things by picking up the slack and taking some things off of their plate for a time.
3. Pray. Prayer really does change things. Pray for your spouse as they grieve, knowing that the "comforter" can minister to them even better then you can. Ask them how you can pray for them and pray throughout the day as they come to mind.
4. Encourage your spouse with God's word. Read scripture over them that is encouraging and comforting.
5. Leave notes and messages of encouragement for them
6. Check-in frequently and communicate often about how they are doing and how you can help support them.
7. Love them no matter what. Behavior that is unusual is not who they are but who they are under stress and that is temporary. Your unconditional love can help them regain their lost footing during tough times.
If your marriage seems to topple under this kind of stress, be intentional about building the strength of your connection so when the next storm comes, your marriage is able to withstand it and be a place of support and encouragement. Attend a Love After Marriage Workshop or Marriage First Friday and gain the tools and connection that make you ready to stand together through the stresses of life.