Marriage is a wonderful union that is made up of two imperfect people. For this reason, it can be a lot of hard work. There are many individuals who struggle for a variety of reasons in their marriage. One of the hardest things you can deal with in your marriage is mental illness. Depression, anxiety and other types of mental illness can be hard on both spouses. Here are a couple ways that you can deal with these challenging problems.

1. Assess the Severity of the Problem

Depression comes in a lot of different forms. For some people it is a short-term thing, such as a women who gave birth and experiences post partum depression for a couple months after the delivery. For others it can be a chronic long-term problem. The length of the depression doesn't necessarily determine how serious it is. You can have very serious symptoms even if the depression came on suddenly. This is why it is important the you are realistic about the severity of the problem.

One of the best things you can do is get medical help. If the problem is severe enough medication may be the best way to go. Other people respond well to counseling. Marriage counseling would also be appropriate in this situation. By being realistic about the problem, you can combat it in a way that is appropriate.

2. Avoid Co-Dependency

Co-dependency in a marriage can be very dangerous. This is when one or both spouses sees themselves responsible and as an appendage of the other person. Both spouses are still individuals and both spouses are still responsible for their own feelings.

It is important that even if your spouse is dealing with a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety that you are able to remove yourself emotionally at times. If they are having a bad day, it is not a reflection on you, and it does not determine whether you are a good spouse or not.

Instead, you can be there for them by supporting them, listening to their concerns and serve them in the best way you know how. But you should never feel responsible for their depression or fall into the trap of believing that you can cure it for them. This will become unhealthy for both of you.

Understanding mental illness and how it plays into a marriage is very important. By doing so you can still have a healthy marriage, even if one spouse suffers from a mental illness. Take the first steps towards healing and change by consulting resources like The Center for Family Counseling, Inc.