A marriage vow is a promise to love a partner “in sickness and in health.” It’s an important promise, because the poor health of either partner in a marriage can be a huge burden. And it’s not just physical health. In fact, it is the mental health of each partner that may be the more important health consideration. For a marriage to succeed, each partner must support one another in sickness and in mental health as well.
There’s a flip side to this, too: If you want your marriage to succeed, you need to care for your own mental health. Partners should support one another, but nobody should be obligated to care for someone who makes no effort to care for themselves. That’s exactly why successful marriages need to have healthy mental health habits at their core.
The role of your marriage in your mental health
Marriage, by and large, is good for a person’s mental health according to what experts say. These experts also say that strong relationships are good for children and entire families. However, it should be obvious that the state of any marriage matters a great deal to the mental health of those involved. While marriage may be good for our mental health, a bad marriage can be enormously taxing. It can be stressful, depressing and dangerous in all kinds of ways.
That is why caring for your marriage should be a part of your healthy lifestyle. All of those tips about communicating with your partner and making time for date night aren’t just for helping your marriage — they’re for helping your mind, too.
And you should strongly consider couple’s therapy, too, especially if you’re experiencing a rocky time in your relationship. Look for a counselor that you are comfortable with; you’ll be able to choose from lots of professionals with lots of specialties. And that’s also including same sex marriage counseling.
The role of your mental health in your marriage
A healthy marriage is good for your mental health. The same thing is true in reverse.
It’s important to care for your own mental health in order to keep your marriage strong. In many ways, this can simply mean living a healthy life: Just as a great diet and regular exercise are good for your physical health, so too are they good for your mental health.
There are also things that you should do specifically for your mental state. At home, you could try meditation, which is scientifically proven to reduce stress and calm you down. In your working life, you could strive for better work-life balance, which will give you more relaxing free time and will help you avoid burnout and symptoms that come with it.
If you or your partner suffer from a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression, managing mental health needs within your marriage will likely be a bit tougher. Find strategies for dealing with a mentally ill partner, and see which ones work best in your relationship.
One of the best places to get strategies for dealing with mental health disorders (both within a marriage and in general) is, of course, therapy. Therapy can help virtually anyone, from those with great mental health to those suffering from extreme mental illnesses. Finding a psychologist or counselor and getting cognitive therapy on a regular basis is something that you should strongly consider. Schedule personal sessions in addition to couple’s therapy sessions, and head to therapy alone even if your partner won’t join in. You will likely find that therapy makes you a stronger and happier person — making your marriage stronger and happier, too.