Q & A

A Griefstricken Husband, When to Confess and a Deceptive Wife

Our infant son died about two years ago. I suffered a breakdown, and my husband was wonderful and supportive through that time. He never felt the need to go to personal or group therapy with me. But now that I'm doing better, he's not. Grief seems to be making him at different times both depressed and angry. He doesn't want to see a counselor, and he doesn't want my help. What can I do?

All people who suffer a great loss do pass through the well-documented stages of grief, even in a fairly predictable pattern. But we do it with remarkably varied timing. It may have been easier for you if the two of you had gone through the stages of grief together. But that rarely happens. Individuals are too different. Actually, it's fairly characteristic for women to deal with the loss more immediately and for men to submerge the pain for a time.

Perhaps when your son died, your husband was glad for the chance to be strong for you. Maybe it gave him something to do, which most men look for when those we love are grieving. But pushing aside grief is like pushing a beachball under the water in a pool. It'll go down, but it'll resurface someplace else.

Time is not the healer, but healing takes time; so try to give your husband time. Stay as close as you can; be supportive and available. Pray for him. Empathize with him. Try not to take it personally when he lashes out in anger. He's choosing the riskier, lonelier and more painful route to healing by going through it stoically alone, but he will make it through the grief eventually.

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Grief; Infidelity; Marriage; Parenting
Today's Christian Woman, Spring, 1998
Posted September 12, 2008

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