In this blog we present you a few tips to cope if your wife’s anxiety is ruining your marriage.
Wife’s anxiety ruining marriage: Tips to cope
If your wife’s anxiety is negatively impacting the quality of your marriage, in brief, here are some things you can do:
- Don’t try to fix things
- De-personalize the problem
- Respect boundaries
- Focus on exceptions
- Educate yourself
- Talk to someone about it
- Be mindful
- Take care of yourself.
When a spouse is struggling with a mental health condition, it not only impacts them but also their partner and the relationship itself.
Anxiety disorders are debilitating mental health conditions that are marked with apprehension, fear, and worry that is often disproportionate and a reaction to imagined threats.
Anxiety can significantly reduce the quality of a relationship since it impacts a couples ability to be intimate with each other.
Some of the things that you and your wife can do to cope build a health relationships despite her condition includes:
De-personalize the problem.
First thing you need to remember is that your wife’s behaviours , thoughts, and feelings due to her anxiety is not a personal attack to you or the relationship nor is it her doing it on her own will.
The fact that you call the problem “Wife’s anxiety” is a good sign, it means that you see the problem as something external to the relationships.
Consider her diagnosis of anxiety and her symptoms as an external problem while you and your wife are a team- together you can work against the problem.
The symptoms of anxiety such as avoidance, fear, panic etc are some of the major factors that lead to dysfunction in relationships for people who have anxiety. This particular mental illness that she is struggling with is causing her to behave in ways she might not normally.
So you should understand that their behaviours is because of the internal battle that they are going through and that they need your support more than ever to fight against the problem which is her “anxiety”.
You have to understand that she is not the problem rather her anxiety symptoms are what causes the challenges in the marriage. For example, her anxiety might cause her to avoid going out for dates with you on the weekends.
If you take on this stance you notice that she is also alone in this fight and so are you however, you must remember that working together as a team is best thing you both can do for each other.
To work together, you must first depersonalise or externalise the problem, view ourselves as a team against a common challenge, and work together to build a plan to overcome the challenge.
Don’t try to fix things
When you come together as a team to work against the challenge, you must see her as an equal. This means that you don’t need to fix things.
Rather choose to empower her by listening to her when she needs someone to talk to, acknowledged her fears and her anxieties rather than minimising them, and most importantly, highlight her strengths, her positive assets, and her capabilities.
Words of encouragement, like “It’s ok,” and “I’m here.” can be some of the most powerful things that you can do for your partner to help her see herself as capable enough to work through her anxiety.
Focus on exceptions
When you and your partner are struggling it can become very difficult to focus on the positive aspects of each other as well as the relationship. However, taking mindful intentions to focus on the positive moments that you both share can be helpful.
Narrative psychologists call these expectations as “Sparkling moments’ ‘ and these are moments when the problems don’t take centre stage and rather the focus are one positive aspect of the marriage where both of you feel fulfilled.
Focusing on these things can help you and your partner understand what works within your relationship and with mutual agreement you and your partner can choose to do more of what works rather than focus on what does not work.
Part of the strategy to work against the common problem- her anxiety- involves communication.
Communicating and allowing them the space to communicate can be another step that you can take after you have educated yourself about their condition and their needs as well as disclose your own needs.
This means that you let them know that you are open and supportive of them without the expectation for them to engage with your open invitation because you have to understand that they already have too much on their plate.
Though it might be weird and uncomfortable at first, especially if you both have never done it. However, creating a safe moment and space to open up about how you feel and how you support them can be a good place to get things moving forward.
You can also take this moment of open communication to clarify their needs, what they would like you to do for them, and their limits and boundaries so that you can be respectful of it.
Communication can allow you to build strategies to come up with possible solutions that allow both you and your partner to feel loved, supported, and valued so that intimacy between you two can be protected and sustained.
Once you have had a discussion with them about each other’s mutual needs, you have to be mindful of respecting their boundaries as they should yours.
Respecting boundaries can be challenging, especially when anxiety can cause them to struggle in engaging with you to form meaningful moments. You have to understand that it is not their lack of wanting rather it is simply because it comes harder to them because of their condition.
However, allowing them the space to understand that the relationship is one of mutual trust and respect can encourage them to be more trusting of you as well as the vitality of the marriage.
You have to understand that anxiety is a serious mental health condition and it can make it very difficult for the individual to carry out their day to day tasks, maintain their relationships, and manage their occupational responsibilities.
Having awareness about the disorder can help you understand what can be done to boundaries through open communication and work together to meet each other’s needs.
This means respecting their need for space as well as being a present figure in their life that offers support without smothering them.
Talk to someone about it
Sharing a relationship with someone who has a mental disorder can be challenging. It often causes stress and emotional distress for the person who loves them or who lives with them.
Speaking to a professional or a therapist can help you and your partner make better sense of the situation, help you both develop techniques and skills to take care of yourself while also working on the relationship.
If there is a necessity and your partner is open to it, seeking out support for couples like couples counselling can also be a way to deal with the issues relating to communicating, boundaries, fears and anxieties.
Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings
It is extremely important for you to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings not just for your partner but also for yourself. This means that you are mindful of any assumptions that they might take because of their behaviours.
Taking the time to nurture optimistic and hopeful thoughts as opposed to thoughts that instil fear and worry can be a good place to start- focus on the good while being mindful of the thoughts and feelings that hurt you as well as them.
Take care of yourself
Finally, taking care of yourself is also an important aspect of working through a relationship where one partner has a mental illness.
This means that while your partner might not be able to meet some of your needs, it does not mean that you do not tend to them.
Choosing to mindfully attend to your own personal needs, your own “safe time”, and creating your own space where you can be yourself can be a great place to start.
This means communicating to your partner that you also have needs that you must attend to and creating a strategy to help you meet these needs.
For example, you choose to spend time with your friends on the weekends or you go camping with your friends once a month etc.
In this blog we presented you a few tips to cope if your wife’s anxiety is ruining your marriage.
FAQ related to wife’s anxiety ruining marriage
How does anxiety disorder ruin relationships?
Anxiety ruins relationships because it intrudes into the relationship leading to a deterioration of the trust, intimacy, and individuality within the relationship.
For example, an anxious person can struggle with anxious thoughts of infidelity without any reason to doubt their partner which can cause a lot of conflict in the relationship.
Can anxiety end a relationship?
Yes, it is possible for anxiety if not managed to end relationships because it can hinder a person’s ability to function in the relationship because of their fears and apprehension.
For example, anxiety can lead a person to avoid certain things which when it is too much can cause much strain on the relationship and the other partner leading to an eventual breakdown of the relationship.
Why does my wife give me anxiety?
The most probable reason why your wife gives you anxiety is because you are fearful or apprehensive about something that your wife brings to the table.
It could be because she is too demanding or that you are anxious that they will leave you or something that is related to her personality that is threatening your boundaries.
Can anxiety and depression ruin a relationship?
Yes, disorders like anxiety and depression can have an impact on the quality of a relationship and each of these disorders can have different impacts on the relationship.
Should I talk to my partner about my relationship anxiety?
Yes, it is advisable that you could begin an open communication with a prospective partner about your relationship anxiety.
To be able to build a healthy relationship, it’s important to have honest conversations with your partner about your worries, expectations, or fears about your relationship as well as the future.
By being able to share doubts you may have and talk through challenges provide both you and your partner with the space to work together through difficult things which is always a plus.
How Anxiety Affects Your Marriage. Marriage Helper. Retrieved on 3rd April 2022. https://marriagehelper.com/how-anxiety-affects-marriage-erh/
Danielle Helzer. To the Husband Whose Wife Is Struggling With Anxiety. The Mighty. Retrieved on 3rd April 2022. https://themighty.com/2016/07/to-the-husband-whose-wife-has-anxiety/
5 Tips for Helping a Spouse with Anxiety. Hope therapy and Wellness. Retrieved on 3rd April 2022. https://www.hopetherapyandwellness.com/blog/96012-5-tips-for-helping-a-spouse-with-anxiety