Real Advice: “How Do I Help My Wife/Partner?”

Real advice is where we ask you, the community what helped in real life. Your advice and tips instead of the “expert” opinions from someone who may not have had to live through it. We pose a question on our Facebook page and look to you to help those looking for real how-to advice. 

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While it’s healthy and so important for our husbands & partners to grieve the loss, many times their first thought is, “how do I help my wife/partner?” – Facebook

What advice do you have for our partners/husbands asking this question & for those in that position, what did you find helped your wife/partner the most?

Letting me stay in bed and cry was important. Making me understand that it wasn’t my fault and not pressuring me into anything was also good. Going to grief counseling was supportive and talking honestly and openly about feelings.  — Angie

My husband gave me the time and space to let my emotions play out. He also handled all the questions from friends and family that needed to be informed.  He set guidelines so as I was feeling better I wouldn’t be bombarded by (mostly) well meaning people. — Lindsey

For both of us we didn’t like to be alone, I let him go to the store alone once cause he said he needed to get out, but after he came home he was more upset. Keep the communication lines open! one day I wanted to stay in bed and cry (he held me for hours) the next I told him I wanted some time to   just write things down. You have to tell each other what you are thinking/feeling ..even if it feels weird. — JimandZina

I agree with keeping the communication lines open, and also being sure to share your own grief with your wife. I was so frustrated with my husband’s desire to “protect” me from his anguish, because by hiding it from me, I felt even more alone and isolated. Funny thing, too…I’ve worked very hard on grieving and getting help where I’ve needed it, and because my husband stuffed his away, he’s paying for it now, a year later. Hubbies, do not deny your grief…it will catch up with you sooner or later. — Amy

The most important thing that I had to remind myself is the we both grieve differently. He naturally wants to fix my pain, but since he can’t, it’s hard for him to be reminded of the loss, and he puts up a strong almost unbreakable facade to keep strong for himself and to be a rock for me. And I want to extend my misery as long as possible and expect everyone else to live in my pain as well… I tend to feel betrayed when I see my husband back to his normal self, until I remind myself that his is still grieving too, just in his own way. We respect each other, he allows me to break down when I really need a good cry, and indulges with me in it, and I respect his healing by not being completely miserable around him, I save some of that for when he is at work, or when I am in the shower. — Heather

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Devan McGuinness

is the founder and executive director of the award-winning resource Unspoken Grief .

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