You are looking at the clock counting down the minutes until he gets home. You can finally go to the bathroom alone. Have a second without the kids crying and screaming at you. He can sit with them for a few minutes while you cook dinner and have a minute to yourself. He pulls in and gets out of the car. You can’t wait for him to come inside because life will be so much better when he’s home.
But he comes in, mumbles something with his head down and goes to the bathroom. Instead of coming to give you a break you realize that he needs one more. You ask how his day was and he says it was terrible. They got yelled at for no reason. No one did their job. He had to pick up all the slack so they could leave on time. And he is completely deflated. He needs a break from work.
Your husband is clearly struggling. What do you do?
How To Help Your Husband When He Is Struggling
When my husband comes home from a hard day (or week..) I can tell immediately. He comes in and he is short with the dogs and avoiding the kids. All he wants is to get something to eat and watch Netflix in peace until dinner. But we have 2 kids. There is not much peace in a house with a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old.
So I try to help him relax and feel better. But it has taken some time for me to understand what works. A major player for us has been talking about it at our weekly marriage check-in. Stop by the Resource Library to get your FREE Weekly Marriage Check In Worksheet.
Men Are Different Than Women
I know, I know. That’s obvious. But here’s the thing. Men don’t want to talk it all out. And even if they do, they don’t do it like we do.
If I have an issue and I want to talk it out it is because I want to come up with a solution. I want to solve the problem. But my husband just wants to be angry about it for a little while. He wants to just vent about how obnoxious work is. And how dumb it is that Paul got to sit on his phone for half an hour in the lounge but when he got up to stretch his legs for 5 minutes, people asked why he didn’t find something else to do.
And that’s okay. We process things differently. Let your husband know that it is alright to deal with the problem the way that works for him. Take the time to learn your husband’s love language so you can support him the way he needs you to. Check out How To Use The 5 Love Languages To Improve Your Marriage for more information.
Don’t Push Solutions On Him
Like I said before, when I have a problem I look for a solution.
Men are not always like that. So make sure that you know what he wants out of a conversation. If he has decided to talk about his stress and what he is struggling with, ask him what he wants.
A HUGE part of marriage is communication. Check out The Method To Communicate With Your Husband Better if you want to improve your communication.
So just take the time to ask him what would help him. “What can I do to help you?” He may not really know. But tell him if he’d like a solution you can try to help him come up with one. But that if he wants to just vent, then you will support him. The biggest key to help your husband when he is struggling is ALWAYS going to be to support him.
So ask him what he wants rather than just pushing solutions right away.
Give Him Some Space
I know you are tired. And frustrated. And need a break too. Trust me, I get it. But part of being married is to be a team. He was at work all day too and might just need a few minutes before he can flip the switch to Dad.
So try to let him get in the door. Let him get out of his work clothes and grab a snack or a drink before you hand him the kids. An extra 15 minutes isn’t going to be the end of the world. Even if it feels like it sometimes.
I know that if I were the one coming home to screaming kids it would take a few minutes to get adjusted. So I do my best to remember that he needs that time. But I also have communicated to my husband that it is not always possible for me to achieve having the kids happy and quiet when he gets home. Kids cry and throw fits for any reason and it is not a fair expectation for me to have it all together right at the moment he comes in every day.
But I do my best, and so does he.
So make sure you have talked about that moment so that there is no tension there from you both having different expectations. Because someone will be bitter if one of you thinks the other is going to have the kids at that time and the other doesn’t even know it.
Stop by the Resource Library to get your FREE Weekly Marriage Check In Worksheet to make sure that you stay on the same page for things like this. Knowing what state of mind you and your husband is in can make a big difference to the plan for the upcoming week. Read How To Improve Communication In Your Marriage with a Weekly Check-In to get more information.
Don’t Make Him Multi-task
Most men do not multi-task the way that women do. We tend to have 5+ things going on at once and are still able to get them all done.
But men do best giving their full attention to 1 or 2 things at a time. So keep this in mind when you are trying to help your husband when he is struggling. Because if something is really on his mind and you start talking about something else, he may not be paying the best attention.
It took me some time to realize that it wasn’t that my husband was ignoring me, but rather that he hadn’t finished processing something yet. So I try to let him change the subject when he is ready. And, in turn, I expect him to do the same for me.
Ways To Help Your Husband When He’s Struggling
- Remeber that he may not need what you need
- Ask him how you can help
- Communicate your expectations for when he gets home and have a plan
- Let him tell you when he is ready to move on from the conversation
- Start a weekly marriage check in so you are on the same page
- Show him support and encouragement rather than try to fix the problem
- Learn your love languages so you can communicate better
How do you help your husband when he is struggling?