How to Help a Grieving Spouse

How to Help a Grieving Spouse

Grieving is hard. It's one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through.

For spouses, it can be especially tough to know how to help their loved ones through their grieving process.

But with some understanding and patience, you can make a big difference in your spouse's healing journey.

This is important because your spouse may not be able to express what they need from you during this tough time.

Here are some tips to help you support your grieving spouse. 

Marriages & Couples Therapists in Colorado

Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Jennifer Luttman, LPC, ACS

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Margot Bean, LCSW

Margot Bean, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Kevin Kessell, SWC

Kevin Kessell, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342

What is Your Spouse is Going Through?

After the death of a loved one, it is common for people to experience a range of intense emotions.

These can include sadness, anger, guilt, and anxiety.

The grieving process is often described as having stages, including denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Everyone grieves in their own way and there is no "right" or "wrong" way to do it.

As a result, when supporting a grieving spouse, it is crucial to be respectful of their individual experiences and needs.

While some people may want to talk about their feelings openly, others may prefer to keep them private.

Some may find comfort in religion or spiritual practices, while others may find solace in nature or art.

It is also important to be patient and understanding as your spouse navigates this difficult time.

No one knows how long the grieving process will take, but with your support, they will eventually find their way through it. 

This an important thing to know when learning how to help a grieving spouse. 

Allow Them to Talk About Their Feelings, Even if They Seem Like They're Talking in Circles

Grief is a process, not an event.

Your spouse may never "get over" the loss, but that doesn't mean they can't learn to live with it and even find moments of happiness.

As you support your spouse through this difficult time, remember to allow them to talk about their feelings.

It may seem like they're going in circles, but the act of talking and being heard is often helpful in itself.

Encourage them to express themselves in whatever way feels comfortable, whether that's through journaling, talking to friends, or attending support groups.

Giving your spouse the space to grieve in their own way and at their own pace can help them start to build a new life after loss. 

This is an important step when learning how to help a grieving spouse.

Don't Try to Fix Everything - Just Be There For Them

It's natural to want to fix things when your spouse is grieving. But sometimes the best thing you can do is just be there for them.

Just being present and available can be a huge help. Let them know that you're there for them and that you're available to talk when they're ready.

Avoid saying things like: "I know how you feel" or "It's all going to be okay." These well-meaning phrases can possibly make your spouse feel worse.

Instead, try saying something like: "This must be really hard for you" or "I'm here for you, no matter what."

Don't try to push them to talk about their feelings or force them to do anything they're not ready for. Just let them know you're there and that you love them.

Offer Practical Help, Like Taking Care of Household Tasks or Grocery Shopping

When someone is grieving you can offer practical advice to help them. 

This is a great way to show you care without adding any extra emotional burden to their plate.

You can offer to take care of household tasks, like cooking, cleaning, or grocery shopping. 

Or, if they have young children, you can offer to babysit so they can have a break.

If your spouse is having trouble concentrating at work, see if there's anything you can do to help, like taking on some of their responsibilities or offering to be available for a phone call if they need a break.

Practical help can take many different forms, so just ask your spouse what would be most helpful for them.

Let Them Know It's Okay To Cry and That You're There for Them

They need to know that it's okay for them to cry and that you're there for them, no matter what.

Here are some things you can do to help your grieving spouse:

  • Let them know it's okay to cry and that you're there for them
  • Listen to them without judgment
  • Encourage them to express their feelings in whatever way they need to
  • Help them find a support group or counselor if they feel like they need additional help
  • Remind them that they are not alone and that you will always be there for them

Giving them a safe environment to be vulnerable will help them heal.

Be Patient - The Grieving Process Takes Time

Grief is a rollercoaster of emotions, and it can be exhausting.

Be patient with your spouse as they go through the ups and downs of grief.

You may need to take on additional responsibilities around the house or with children while they take some time for themselves.

And that's okay. The most important thing is that you're there for them, no matter what.

If You're Feeling Overwhelmed, Seek Help Yourself or Your Spouse

It's normal to feel overwhelmed when your spouse is grieving. 

If you find yourself struggling to cope, don't be afraid to seek help yourself.

You can talk to your doctor, a counselor, or a support group. 

Taking care of yourself will make it easier for you to be there for your spouse when they need you.

Disclaimer

The content in this blog post is meant for informational purposes only. 

This blog post is not meant to be a replacement or substitute for official medical advice from a licensed professional.

Conclusion

If your spouse is grieving, there are things you can do to help them through the process.

Just being there for them and listening to them can be a huge help. 

You can also offer practical help, like taking care of household tasks or grocery shopping.

And be patient with them – grief is a rollercoaster of emotions and it takes time.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, seek help for yourself.

Taking care of yourself will make it easier for you to be there for your spouse when they need you. 

That's important to remember when learning how to help your spouse to grieve. 

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June 18th, 2024

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