When your spouse is grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s important to understand the process of grief and how you can support them in your role as a partner. Experiencing grief as an individual differs from assisting someone undergoing the grieving process. It’s normal to feel unsure about how to navigate helping your spouse through their loss, and the answer to healing looks different for everyone. Explore the following tips on how to help your spouse cope with the loss of a loved one to feel assured in your supporting role as their partner.
Validate Their Grief
The discomfort of grief may cause your spouse to withdraw or suppress their feelings. Validate their grief by welcoming an open discussion or expression of their sadness. Encourage your spouse to process their feelings and reassure them there’s no expectation of immediately recovering from this difficult time.
Expect the Unexpected
Everyone processes grief differently and your spouse may handle theirs in ways you wouldn’t expect. Accept how your spouse chooses to respond to their loss and be mindful of intervening or asserting your opinion on how they manage their feelings. Remind them that you are there, and offer them the chance to take some space if needed. If your spouse experiences grief in an unexpected way that isn’t harmful to anyone, make your home a nonjudgmental space for them to do so.
Provide Practical Support
It’s troubling to watch your spouse undergo pain that you cannot take away. It’s best to focus on what you can control as their partner to lessen the intensity of grief. Focus on how you can assist them in daily tasks or help them in making funeral arrangements. You can also take on the responsibility of speaking with people who reach out to give their condolences. While this kind of support doesn’t recover their loss, it can help lessen the emotional burden of it.
It’s challenging to feel powerless to stop your spouse from experiencing grief, but being there as a source of support can make all the difference. If you feel unsure about how to help your spouse cope with the loss of a loved one, it’s important to find information from professional resources, like a grief counselor, to obtain additional support.