I’m Married to a Depressed Husband

02 December, 2019
Q Salam Aleikom. I am married to a depressed husband. He suffers from his workplace. People put him down all the time and this makes him feel useless. He is applying to other jobs, but nothing yet. He has changed the workplace 3 times in the last 3 years.

He hates living in the West but does not want to go back to his home country either. I would love to go, I totally let it to him. I have no idea how to deal with him. Because I also need that he fulfills my needs, care, and love.

I cannot just give and be his servant out of feeling sorry for him. Please help!

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Please, do suggest to your husband that he seeks out counseling in your area.

• Speak with the imam at the Masjid to see if there are any support groups for men who are now living in the west from other countries.

• Encourage your husband to see things from a positive viewpoint rather than a negative one. Be supportive but insha’Allah try not to reinforce all of his negative feelings.

• Be kind to yourself and practice self-care techniques and activities as described above.


As Salamu Alaykum dear sister,

I am sorry to hear that your husband is depressed. Depression can be a serious issue that is best addressed by a counselor in your area. The issue may be whether or not he will seek counseling.

Depressed Husband

You stated that your husband suffers at his place of employment, that people put him down and he feels useless. You also indicated that he has applied to other jobs and has changed his workplace three times in the last three years. Based on the frequent job change, it may not be a specific workplace, but it may be due to his depression that he cannot cope with his jobs.

Not Liking Where You Live

As you stated, your husband hates living in the West. This may be part of the problem. When someone hates living somewhere and does not like their environment, it can lead to feeling despondent or depressed, as you stated he was. This in turn, will affect his ability to get along with others, hold a job, and be successful.

I’m Married to a Depressed Husband - About Islam

You stated that even though he hates living here, he does not want to go back to his home country either. The dilemma lies in his willingness to resolve his conflicted feelings about where he lives. It is a big adjustment no doubt and perhaps he needs assistance sorting through his feelings.

Seeking Counseling for Husband

Regarding your husband, I will kindly suggest sister that insha’Allah you gently suggest he seeks counseling for his depression. Perhaps seeking out an Islamic counselor where you live will give him encouragement to speak with somebody about how he feels.

Also, speak with your imam at the Masjid and see if there are any support groups for immigrants who have moved to the west. Perhaps by talking with other men who have moved to the west from other countries, he can gain support, tips, self-confidence, and skills that will help him adjust better. If your husband can overcome his depression and see the positive side to his move to the West, insha’Allah it will reflect in his work, relationships, stability and marriage.

Your Needs

I can understand that you have needs and you want to be loved and cared for as well. It is hard when one spouse is going through depression because it can be very hard on the other spouse. Your needs seem to be forgotten. It is understandable that you may feel like a servant out of feeling sorry for him as you are trying to help him heal.

However, if you take the approach of being proactive and pointing out the positives of living in the west rather than the negatives, perhaps he will begin to listen to you and see things from a different viewpoint. By feeling sorry for him, you may fall into the trap of being an enabler. An enabler is one who out of compassion and mercy, may coddle and try to buffer a person’s depression or other issues. Doing this does not help the person; it only reinforces what they are feeling.

Sister, I kindly suggest that during this time, you focus on yourself as well. Do good things for you such as having brunch with a friend, take up a hobby, join a gym, take a walk in nature. It is important you do self-care during this difficult time so that you do not lose sight of how important you are.


Check out this counseling video:


Conclusion

Please, do suggest to your husband that he seeks out counseling in your area. Speak with the imam at the Masjid to see if there are any support groups for men who are now living in the west from other countries. Encourage your husband to see things from a positive viewpoint rather than a negative one. Be supportive but insha’Allah try not to reinforce all of his negative feelings. Be kind to yourself and practice self-care techniques and activities as described above. Insha’Allah’s sister will not last long, but it may take proactive steps to resolve it.

We wish you the best.

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

What Causes Sadness and Depression?

Teenagers+Living in the West, Life Is Not Easy

Living Islam in the West: Is it Easy?

 

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.