Our premarital counselor turned to me and said, “What’s going on with you? Tell me about your posture. I don’t like what I’m seeing right now.” I was leaning back in my chair and everything about my posture communicated disengagement. Meanwhile, my soon-to-be wife was crying. I told him that the more she spirals downward, the more laid back I would get. My argument was that it balances us out. That’s when he turned to me and said, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s working for you.” He went on to say that when she is feeling down, I needed to go with her rather than fading away.
It was much easier to disengage for me then it was to be with her and feel powerless. When my wife is down, I just want to fix the problem and move on. That never works to resolve anything. Though the reality is that I am not powerless. My energy is just misappropriated in an attempt to change her circumstances. When our power is applied to coming alongside our wives with the right words, it can bring comfort, healing, and strength. These are the best things to say to your wife when she’s feeling down.
Note: These need to be said with sincerity. Saying something you don’t feel will do more harm than good.
There’s empathy that comes with these two words. You are connecting with the emotions that she is feeling. It places you on the same level with her. She is in pain and you are expressing that you are hurting with her. Knowing she is not alone will give her comfort.
“I’m glad you told me.”
This says that you want to know her fully. In the moments when she is experiencing her worst, you are strong enough to go through it with her. No matter how bad it gets you will always be there. It will give her a sense of security knowing that she can be completely vulnerable.
“I love you.”
This can never be said too many times. If you can’t think of anything else, saying this with sincerity should be your go-to proclamation. Reaffirm to her that you love all of her, especially when she is struggling, weighed down by baggage and has nothing to give.
“I understand how you feel.”
It validates her pain. She needs to know that she is not crazy or weak for the way she is feeling. We have all experienced times where we have been hurt, felt down, or insecure. Drawing on that experience to connect with what she is feeling will serve her well in these moments. It will only make you closer.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
I would save this until last. She wants you to connect first. Like I said, I want to fix it as soon as possible, but asking this question is different. It gives her a chance to communicate what she needs.