When Mental Illness is Affecting Your Spouse

When Mental Illness is Affecting Your Spouse

It’s a subject that isn’t often discussed in Christian circles, but what do you do if you find out that mental illness is affecting your spouse in some way?

It’s a scary thought but as author Jim Killam says:

Look around you. At work, at church. Chances are very good you’ll see someone who’s battling mental illness. Maybe you only need to look as far as the other side of the bed. … or the mirror.
“Many Christians don’t figure that mental illness could affect their marriages. But it does-in about the same proportions as with the general population. Each year, more than one in five Americans suffers from a clearly diagnosable mental disorder. And, Christian therapists add, more couples need to confront the whole issue rather than assume it’s solely a spiritual problem.”

To read more of what Jim writes on this subject, we have provided a link so you can do just that.

‘What’s Wrong with Him?’

Look around you. At work, at church. Chances are very good you’ll see someone who’s battling mental illness. Maybe you only need to look as far as the other side of the bed. … or the mirror.

Many Christians don’t figure that mental illness could affect their marriages. But it does—in about the same proportions as with the general population. Each year, more than one in five Americans suffers from a clearly diagnosable mental disorder. And, Christian therapists add, more couples need to confront the whole issue rather than assume it’s solely a spiritual problem.

Psychiatrist Ken Phillips treats many Christians who at one time thought the combination of a solid faith and a solid marriage made them invulnerable to mental illness. Phillips is founder and medical director of Alliance Clinical Associates, a Christian mental health center in Wheaton, Illinois. He points to three red flags in determining whether a person needs psychological help: degree, or severity, of the problem; duration of the problem; and level of disability inflicted.

To examine the issue of mental illness in Christian marriage, MP looks at the true stories of three people: Dennis, Linda, and Maggie.

Dennis’ story

Dennis and his wife, Pat, had worked for much of their adult lives as missionaries in the Caribbean, where they ran a Christian radio station. After years of service, the time came to close and sell the station.

At about that time, Dennis started feeling strange pains. He’d battled chronic back trouble for years, but this was different. Now the pain had spread. His stomach and abdomen hurt. His arms and hands tingled sometimes. His skin was flush on his face, neck, and chest. Sleep was hard to come by. Some days, the pain was so bad he couldn’t sit up for more than ten minutes at a time.

Two neurologists came up with no definite answers but prescribed various pain medications. When those created more problems than they solved, Dennis was hospitalized to straighten out his medications. Soon he felt better and went home. A month later he was back in the hospital.

This time, a third neurologist, who doubled as a psychiatrist, saw him.

“He took one look at me and he said, ‘You’re depressed,'” Dennis says.

Pat had suspected something, especially since things got worse physically for Dennis as the radio station didn’t sell.

“I saw some indications that it was partially psychological,” she says, “but you don’t tell your husband, ‘I think it’s all in your head.’ He appeared to be handling it well, but internalized a lot of things.”

source : todayschristianwoman/marriage missions