Are They Really Unhappily Married or Just Depressed?

Do you consider yourself unhappy?

A term like “unhappiness” is broad…

We know what it feels like, but do we always know why?

Or, to take it even further – when we think we know the cause of our unhappiness, how often are we 100% correct?

In many cases, unhappiness seems bigger than one single issue anyway. Instead, it’s more of an overall sensation of dissatisfaction, where you can’t quite put your finger on one thing that’s making you unhappy, but rather everything has the potential to make that dissatisfaction “flare up.”

If that sounds familiar, you may very well be experiencing actual depression, not just marital dissatisfaction.

It’s a lot more common than most people think, and couples around the world mistakenly point to their marriages as a cause of unhappiness – instead of the other way around. Bad marriages, for many people, are not making them feel depressed.

In fact, quite the opposite is happening: depression is making their marriage unhealthy.

Are you unhappily married or depressed?
Are you unhappily married or depressed?

So many people get caught up in a fantasy of a better life, a new spouse, a different house… some projection of a life far superior to the one they have, but they don’t stop to think about why they’re feeling that way.

Is life actually dissatisfying to that degree, that you’re willing to throw away everything you have in pursuit of something else – or is your brain chemistry just making you feel unhappy/depressed in a general way, and you’re therefore blaming the things closest to you (like your spouse, your job, etc.).

Depression comes in varying degrees of severity, and goes largely undiagnosed in many, many people.

Such “mood disorders,” can prevent people from seeing the good in their lives, and worse, can lead them to blaming their spouses for their unhappiness.

In these situations, when people don’t understand that their unhappiness may have a neurological and chemical source, they have a difficult time even seeing areas of the marriage they can work on, knowing where to start, or even seeing improvements as a viable possibility.

On the other hand, however, when depression is diagnosed – or just recognized as a possible source of unhappiness – people can acknowledge that the problem is internal.

Just acknowledging the possibility of depression, then, can become a way to overcome the way it affects the relationship.

People can:

• explore treatment
• admit to their spouse when they are feeling low
• look to their marriages as a way to counteract the depression by seeking happiness,
new experiences, and positivity in the relationship

The very first step to overcoming depression is recognizing that it might be a problem.

If you can’t identify specific issues in your marriage that are making you unhappy, consider that real, clinically diagnosable depression may be taking a toll on your relationship.

Talk to your spouse about it, talk to your doctor about it, be open and honest about how you’re feeling, and don’t just look for things to blame.

Depression could be tearing your marriage apart without you even knowing it, so if happiness seems all but unattainable, take a step back and consider that your brain just might be working against you.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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8 comments

Terri 7 years ago

We have been married for 7 years. My husband is Bipolar and manic depressive, so i understand that he has trouble communicating, but sometimes it's just so frustrating.

Terri 7 years ago

We have been married for 7 years. My husband is Bipolar and manic depressive, so i understand that he has trouble communicating, but sometimes it's just so frustrating.

neil 7 years ago

My wife has suffered from Depression for most of our marriage. She had our first child and her parents got divorced all in the same short span of time. During all of that she started taking anti-depressants and 20 years later she is still on them. I have been ready to break up the marriage for many years.

neil 7 years ago

My wife has suffered from Depression for most of our marriage. She had our first child and her parents got divorced all in the same short span of time. During all of that she started taking anti-depressants and 20 years later she is still on them. I have been ready to break up the marriage for many years.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Neil, it's incredibly common for medicine to need to be adjusted or changed completely throughout someone's life, or to be coupled with therapy. If you feel bad, imagine how she feels. You should talk to her gently about your concerns. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/anti-depressants-killing-marriage/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Terri, we have advice just for you - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/i-think-my-spouse-is-bipolar/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Neil, it's incredibly common for medicine to need to be adjusted or changed completely throughout someone's life, or to be coupled with therapy. If you feel bad, imagine how she feels. You should talk to her gently about your concerns. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/anti-depressants-killing-marriage/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 7 years ago

Hi Terri, we have advice just for you - https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/i-think-my-spouse-is-bipolar/