Article by Wendy McCance
I have been married, divorced and married again. I’ve learned a lot from the difficulties I faced in my first marriage. I know the signs that a marriage is headed for trouble, and have learned to some extent how to stop those worrisome moments in their tracks.
My first marriage was never particularly stable, but there came a point in the relationship where my then husband went through more depression and insecurity than I had seen up to that point. Unfortunately, he didn’t handle it well and I’m really not quite sure if he even recognized the signs that he was in a very bad place.
Our relationship had been plagued with trust, control and anger issues. Even so, when a bout of dissatisfaction with his life hit, the worst of these issues came down on me, hard. The result was that no matter how hard I tried to salvage our future, the damage had been done and continued to get worse.
I have been married to my current husband for 6 years. Our relationship is everything my last relationship was not. There is respect, friendship, true love and support. Somehow I got lucky. I knew what I didn’t want to live with again and had worked on why my first choice in a husband was so wrong for me.
Recently, my husband was in the midst of depression. Sure we were going through changes in our lives and we were dealing with a lot of stress. My husband is very protective and puts his energy into making the kids and I feel safe, secure, loved and overall taken care of. He will push down his own feelings and focus his energy on us instead of taking care of himself as well.
I hadn’t realized how bad he was feeling until I began to see the signs. I felt like I was replaying my old relationship when some issues surfaced about the way he was communicating with me. I began to feel shut out and I could feel our close bond slipping.
It took weeks of talking through his feelings a little at a time before I realized where the source of his depression was centering around. My husband had hit the wall, hard. He is currently the breadwinner and the pressures of keeping us afloat are more than anyone should have to shoulder alone. What made his situation worse was that he couldn’t tolerate his job anymore. He was extremely overworked, horribly underpaid and continually promised better positions and more money that had never become a reality.
We talked about the fact that we were a team and that he shouldn’t worry about shouldering all of the worries alone. I know he appreciated what I said, but he is conservative and feels strongly that the man is responsible solely for taking care of the family and our comfort.
I then approached his feelings of helplessness from a different angle. I asked him to describe his dream job. I asked him if I did the work to find those job openings would he email his resume’ to those companies. He was game for me to make the attempt. It was a slight relief for him to have me looking. He had been searching for some time for a different job with no luck and had gotten burnt out. His biggest worry was that because he didn’t have a college degree, I wouldn’t be able to find him anything other than a meager minimum wage job.
The job my husband was currently at had felt like a dream come true a few years back. He got a position that usually required a degree, but the company took a chance on him and had been thrilled with the results he provided. I just felt that if he could find a position like that once, with his increased experience, he could do it again.
That night, I scoured the internet and found two jobs that perfectly fit his idea of the job of his dreams. Unbelievably after he emailed both companies, they both called for interviews. He got the job he wanted, a significant pay raise, and is floating on cloud nine.
My husband has been at this company for a few weeks now. The depression and the lack of connection we began to experience with each other has been wiped out. It wasn’t until he started his job and insecurity took over that I realized how bad his view of himself had gotten. My husband is most confident in math, science and being able to problem solve. I would say if anything, he is almost cocky about his abilities. He has good reason too. He picks up information quickly and runs with it. He always impresses those he works with. He is just really good at his job. To see my husband doubt his abilities honestly blew me away.
Since he has begun to find his rhythm and is settling into his new job, my husband has returned to his old self and we are humming along again as a close, happy couple. Thankfully, we were able to find a solution to get my husband out of his depression. It’s scary how depression can wreak havoc on a relationship and chip away at even the most solid relationships. Staying connected and having good communication and support for each other can mean the difference between a successful marriage and one that completely falls apart.
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