Managing Your Spouse’s Mood. — Sounds like a title from an avant-garde off-off-Broadway independent play, doesn’t it? It would be a tragedy, I’m sure. Everyone would die at the end. And it would not be a romantic Romeo/Juliet-esque finale either…
Are you responsible for you spouse’s mood?
No. You’re not responsible for your spouse’s mood. It’s theirs. They own it. You cannot change your spouse’s mood. Only they can.
It’s possible to take a part in managing your spouse’s mood.
It’s about encouragment.
With a self-less love for your spouse, you can step up to manage life in a way that will make a difference for your spouse – thereby impacting their mood. And impacting their ability to change their own mood. Yes. It’s possible. Not easy – but it’s possible to take an active role in managing your spouse’s mood.
How do I know this? I take full repsonsiblity for my mood, but Rob can have an impact in managing it. He helps by encouraging me.
Hearing when that mood is slipping…
A few weeks ago we were driving together to our small group’s evening meeting. It was the first time we were together for the day, and Robert was telling me about his day. He’d been gazing out our RV’s window and noticed how beautifully the birds, bunnies and squirels interact. He spoke of how wonderful God made his creatures and how they easily share the resources. (Cue the melodious flute music here… )
I responded, half under my breath, “Yeah. And they share the ticks and fleas too.”
Scr-a-aa-aa-tch! (That’s the sound of a needle on a record player skidding across the record.)
Robert turned to give me an incredulous look. Sarcasm isn’t my usual response, so he heard something “off” in my mood. The drive continued, and I commented on a group of guys doing yard work. I wondered what they were planning on cutting down with their chainsaws… Again, Robert looked surprised, as he responded that they weren’t carrying chainsaws, they were holding leaf blowers. Leaf Blowers…. or … Chainsaws. Hmmm.
If your spouse is grappling with their mood, chances are you’ll hear it in their conversation. Conversation choice can be an early warning siren – if you pay attention, you’ll get some clues.
Some people are naturally sarcastic, and they quip back and forth with their spouse. Sarcasm might be a sign of a great mood for someone else – It isn’t for me.
If you know your spouse – if you’re a student of your spouse – you’ll know what their good moods and dark moods look, feel and sound like.*
Another reason to be a student of your spouse, is to know what will encourage her/him – and to use that knowledge to encourage your spouse to grab hold of their own mood.
Encourage Your Spouse
Encouragement is made up of five ingredients: hope, faith, love and prayer and action. Sometimes they’re all mushed up together when helping managing your spouse’s mood…
- Hope: remind your spouse that it’s not always going to feel like this, that they’ve had good times, and great blessings in the past. Assure her/him that their mood will improve. Talk about specific good times. Talk about upcoming things you’re looking forward to.
- Faith: use your faith in God as a way to build up your spouse’s belief in the goodness of God. Our God is a God of HOPE. This isn’t about quoting scripture (althought it could be), rather it’s your outlook on how God is in control and loves your spouse.
- Love: use your love – without prerequisites or requirements, to encourage and act in loving ways.
- Prayer: pray for your spouse. This is a big deal. Your prayers will make a difference! Go to war and fight for your spouse within your prayer life.
- Action: take action to make a difference in your spouse’s life – to manage life in a way that will impact your spouse for their good.
Action. Taking Action… what if you don’t “feel” like taking loving action to encourage your spouse and help them manage their mood?
Taking Action without Feeling It First
Sometimes you need to act in a loving manner – before you feel loving.
A more marriage friendly way of putting “fake it till you make it” is “Faith it until you make it. — Act the way you should and have faith that God will bless it.” (Thanks Bonny.)
Here’s one example of having a loving feeling after taking action: After I asked our son and daughter-in-love to read the 101 phrases to encourage your spouse on camera, Alisane reported with surprise, that she felt an overwhelming and positive loving feeling toward Alex, even though those phrases were scripted, and they we giggling (off camera of course) over some of the corny statements.
The feeling came after the action.
And then I watched this video about a photographer who asks strangers to pose as though they are couples, friends or family:
“I felt like I cared for her…”
That’s the statement from one young man, posed with an older woman – both are strangers to each other. (At minute 1:50 in the video).
I wonder what would happen if a photographer would spend a few hours “posing” a husband and wife for photographs. If the photographer talked about holding each other’s hands, and how precious it is to clasp hands with the one we love…
and if that photographer posed the couple with their arms around each other and talked about an embrace being love in action…
and if that photographer posed the couple gazing deeply into each other’s eyes with a smile…
If that couple spent an hour or more “posing” in loving ways… would that change a mood? Or help in managing your spouse’s mood?
What do you think?
Are you a photogapher? Have you had any experience “posing” couples? (chime in- comment with thoughts)
It would be interesting to try, wouldn’t it? Just as an experiment in managing your spouse’s mood…
Hmmmm…. anyone want to take some photos of Rob and me? 🙂
** NOTE: Talking about moods is not the same as dealing with a serious mood disorder and/or depression. Yes. That’s a huge difference. If your spouse has been diagnosed with depression or a mood disorder, then you’ll need to surround yourself with resources and help. Rob and I recommend NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). If you live in the United States, check to see if there’s a chapter near you, and take advantage of their spousal support groups.