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I Think My Husband is Depressed - Can I Save My Marriage?


How Do I Save My Marriage - When I Think My Husband is DepressedPart 2 of 3

Let's continue looking at Carrie's marriage. She's wondering, "is my husband is depressed?"

Carrie's husband is unpredictable -- in his responses, behavior, and especially his emotions. She says she walks around on eggshells because of it. But could this really be a sign her husband is depressed?

To try to keep the peace she tells their 6 and 10 year old kids to "let daddy have a pleasant evening." 

Despite her peace keeping efforts, she says his anger is becoming more regular. At Christmas dinner, in front of the whole family, he screamed across the room at her, "If you want to stay married to me you'll never do that again."

She cried in her hands as she recited to me in counseling the numerous ways he degrades her and hurts her with his words.

At other times Al tells her that he doesn't deserve her and says he knows that his anger will lead to the end of their marriage. She wonders . . . if he's given up . . . if he's having an affair . . . what he does on his FaceBook page.

She tried to kiss him last week and he turned away saying "don't pressure me."

"I hate my life," he told her. "I hate myself."

After telling me this, she said to me, "I think my husband is depressed. What do you think?"

We talked about what depression can look like in men. I told her in men it often looks just like stress. Here are some common depression symptoms in men:

  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness (this can be grumpy, or an emotional roller coaster, much like the eggshells Carrie walks around on)

It wouldn't be surprising if her husband Al is depressed, I told her. A lot of men are depressed. In fact, most men when they get depressed still function quite well in many areas of their lives, particularly professionally. So the external symptoms can be misleading. The signs are most often evident in their interpersonal interactions, especially with loved ones.

As Carrie and I talked she kept crying. She just couldn't forget the feeling that "he doesn't love me" and kept questioning how that could be connected to his mood. "How can I save my marriage?"

I suggested to her that he may still love her despite what his actions show. However, that love has been covered over and she just can't see it right now. Depression, stress, and unhappiness with himself have blanketed his love for her and keep it hidden. With help those things can be removed and it's possible she could see him begin to love her again.

Carrie is far from the only wife asking, "is my husband depressed?" All of her husband's actions described above are signs he very well could be. But it's also likely that's not only thing going on with Al. Clearly he has an anger management problem at the moment and his behavior towards Carrie is abusive for sure. But I wonder if those are only occurring because he's depressed or if they're signs of other problems?

For some wives all they have to deal with is my husband is depressed. For others like Carrie, she may have a depressed husband, but she's also got an abusive husband and a man with a serious anger management problem.

In what ways can you relate to Carrie? Does your husband look something like hers?

* This is the second post of three examining a marriage in which a wife feels her husband doesn't love her anymore and she seeks the expertise of a marriage counselor for help in finding out what she can do. You can read the first post, How to Save My Marriage - When My Husband Doesn't Love Me Anymore here. In the third and final post, I Can't Get My Husband To Change, we take a look at some things Carrie can do to change her husband and save her marriage.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published February 23, 2010 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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From my sad experience, depressed people often feel that they don't like themselves, so it's very hard for them to show love to other people... when you love yourself it's easier to love others....
Posted @ Tuesday, September 28, 2010 6:27 AM by michal
Common depression symptoms can plague your life, it is imperative that you understand the risks of living with untreated depression and even with treatments. Unfortunately, I have been living with depression for the greater part of 10 years, which is half of my life. I agree with michal on this one. It was said that you cannot love another until you love yourself, and it is very difficult to love yourself when you feel you are worthless.
Posted @ Saturday, October 23, 2010 12:38 AM by Tyler
My marriage has been deteriorating over the past 5 years. Marchg 9th was our 9th anniversary. We have all of the usual stresses of life but the past 12 months has included most of the BIG Marriage killers.....Illness, change of job, losing job, death in the family, moving, financial etc. 
But these are the excuses the things that the logical man mind is drwn to when there is a problem.  
FOr me the big turning point was after my wife left me her bridesmaid forwarded me an email in which my wife had described me as "Very depressed" and "Very unhappy". I was shocked!!!! 
She said she had told me this before, but in reality she never did. She talked around it like "you are slipping into old habits" or "I'm not happy in our marriage", this made me try to fix things in the marriage when it was me who needed to be fixed. 
For anyone living with a depressed partner my advice is "Subtlety is lost on depressed people" You can't hint at things. I needed my wife to make my Drs appointment, go there with me and tell the Dr "He's depressed, fix him or we are divorcing". Pretty clear hey? Can't confuse that one.  
I can't imagine how scary it must be to have to try to talk about something like that with someone who you love but who's mood is unpredictable. 
Another example is my mother in-law told me just the other day that her daughter (my wife) would make comments like "I can't talk to him today, he's in a bad mood" WOW You can see how harmful depression can be if left untreated in a relationship. 
Since my wake up call I have taken on the challenge of managing my depression with great success. I removed all stimulants (coffee) and depressants (alcohol) from my life. I started Yoga and returned to training in Karate after a 12 year break. I started to take care of myself. I focused on being mindful and now I have this amazing loving relationship with my 5 and 3 year old daughters. I noticed that I have become more expressive and articulate, I like talking to people. 
I love life, I have passion, but unfortunately my wife is scared to come back because she can't get her head around falling back in love with me again. 
This is my new challenge and I will not quit, I have to much to offer. 
Don't underestimate the power of depression and how it is destroying your life, but also remember the one person who has to commit to managing your depression is YOU! 
Posted @ Friday, April 15, 2011 11:34 AM by Ken
I'm a 51 year old man. I started showing depressive tendencies in my late 40's. It was anger, depression, self loathing, and a negative, hopeless outlook on life. I have a great family and life, so eventually I knew it must be a hormonal change. I rode it out, having a hard time and dealing with it for 2 years. At age 51 I started exercising and dieting/eating right, just getting my body in shape. This helped alot. I still feel out of sorts and moody sometimes, but it's not like it was in my 48-50 year period.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 19, 2011 6:06 PM by bassin
My husband left me after 30 years of marriage. He wants to be left alone. He can't communicate with me or our daughter's. I think he's depressed.
Posted @ Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:43 AM by Jody
Jody, Sorry to hear that. I hope he gets some help. You might forward our blog to him. Maybe he can relate to some of the other guys' stories on here. -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, May 08, 2012 1:18 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
Thanks Kurt, I forwarded the blog to him. Can you tell me if holding grudges and stop caring about things he use to enjoy is depression also?
Posted @ Tuesday, May 08, 2012 6:08 PM by Jody
Jody, Holding grudges is not, but not caring about things, so can loss of enjoyment and motivation, as well as anger and irritability are signs of depression in men. -Kurt
Posted @ Friday, May 18, 2012 8:08 AM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
My husband recently told me he does not like being married, does not have fun with me, and is scared of making bigger commitments with me (having kids, buying a house). He said he still loves me but sometimes wonders if there is someone who he is more compatible with. He also said he may just suffer from depression...so I don't know if it's me, him, or a combination.
Posted @ Sunday, November 18, 2012 2:11 PM by Monika
Monika, Your life sounds like mine only we have the house (2 houses actually) and all the debt that comes with them. 3 Weeks ago my Husband of 5 years would look at me like he was in love with me and I was the centre of his universe and now he just wants to be as far away from me and our life as possible. I'm so hurt and angry I just want to die, how can he do this to me, I adore him. He has been on medication for 2 years and had various counselling. I don't no what else to try because he wont try anything. He says he feels less of a man on tablets. We are so in love at least we were, how could this of happened to us I just don't understand.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:09 AM by Jen
Please help my husband is suicidal. Idk what to do!! My step dad has killed himself in 2004. I can't live without my husband. Times r hard yes but I don't know what or how to reach out for help. He said if I call the crazy home he will just lie to get out. Please help if any 1 has any tools to gv me. I'm at a lost I'm shutting down cuz I'm so afraid, that my dad keeps piping up in my head. HeLp me out here in cai 
Posted @ Tuesday, April 08, 2014 8:20 AM by Shannon dawn
Shannon, Either contact me by submitting the Contact form on this site or go to this website for help:www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ -Kurt 
Posted @ Tuesday, April 08, 2014 10:13 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
My husband has been dealing with depression for many years. He is seeing a Dr. regularly for his depression. I work full time, plus have two side jobs to try to make ends meet. He is unable to work, but tries to do a side job, but a lot of the time it is for free.  
He keeps saying I don't act like I'm happy anymore. I am over stressed with working, paying the bills, doing cooking and cleaning, taking care of pets, and helping him with "his jobs". We have a son at home and he tries, but he only does so much.  
He thinks I am cheating on him, which I'm not! I tried to talk to him about it, but I don't get anywhere. He says I don't care for him. I rub his feet/neck/back at night, because he is in pain (even though I'm exhausted.  
It makes me sad when he says stuff like that around my child, which I've asked him not to do.  
How do I prove to him that I am being loyal to the relationship?
Posted @ Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:49 PM by Katie
Katie, You don't need to prove it because your actions already do. If your husband is only seeing a doctor for medication, then he really needs to see a counselor too. Depression is best treated with therapy, not just meds. Your husband needs to learn how to change his thinking, which is the real origin of depression. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, June 25, 2014 5:01 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
I posted on here 18 months back in Feb 2013. I just wanted to share my story since then, my husband is now my Ex Husband. It got to the point in my marriage were he could see how destructive his depression was to me, at the time I couldn't see it but the stress of dealing with his depression had made me angry, down, overweight and just not the happy go lucky positive person I was when we met. I loved my husband with all my heart, I would if battled through and stayed together but he decided to end it, he broke my heart in doing so and for a year I would cry myself to sleep, wake up and cry some more, I felt dead inside but that saying about time being a great healer? Well who knew but it actually is true, after 18 months I'm finally in a good place, my personality is me again, I'm positive, happy and enjoy my new single life. I was totally and utterly in love with my husband but through all this I have learned you should always love yourself more and put yourself first. I hope you all find your happiness again. Myself and my ex husband were best friends and recently we have been on contact and we are restoring our friendship again x
Posted @ Thursday, June 26, 2014 11:18 AM by Jen
Jen, Thank you for coming back and giving an update. Glad to hear you're in a better place, and that you and your ex are becoming friends again. -Kurt
Posted @ Tuesday, July 01, 2014 6:38 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
For most men depression is anger turned inwards. Even thou it may seem he is angry with you it is not you it is anger at himself. Men mostly feel they do not have a right to be depressed so they become angry at themselves.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 03, 2014 1:52 PM by FrugalPops
FrugalPops, Anger in men can be a result of their being depressed (but they often don't know it); rarely does anger actually cause depression in men. You're right that men can get angry at themselves, but since so few are aware that they're actually depressed there isn't a conscious processing of "not have a right to be depressed." You've got some of the right ideas, just in the wrong order. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, September 03, 2014 2:51 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
Brian, It can take a while for feelings to return and to trust again. This is normal. I'd give it more time, if not for you, or for her, but for your son. You should consider going to counseling individually. It may be too soon for couples counseling. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, September 17, 2014 5:23 PM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
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