It is difficult knowing what to say to your wife when she's going through a hard time. Women tend to be more emotional creatures than their misters, so men can sometimes be at a loss for words if tears are involved. Because of this, sometimes good intentions might come off the wrong way.
Here are seven things not to say to your wife when she's falling apart:
1. It'll be OK
If your wife is falling to pieces before your very eyes, she doesn't want to hear that it will be OK, because right now, it isn't. She needs validation for the way that she's feeling, and saying this makes her feel like she's overreacting.
2. You're being silly
My friend once said this to me in a well-intentioned way to lighten the mood, but it made me feel self-conscious, and after that, I didn't feel like I could go to him when I was struggling with anything. Your wife won't feel comfortable talking to you about her struggles if she feels like you don't take them seriously.
3. Don't overthink things
On the bad days, overthinking things is practically inevitable. Your wife needs to get out of her head and focus on the present, but she doesn't need you to remind her that she's overreacting. Just stay with your darling and let her think talk things through.
4. I know how you feel
OK, I'm guilty of this one. Sometimes, the best way you can think of to help someone going through a rough time is to sympathize with them. But when your wife is on the verge of breaking, hearing you say you know how she feels isn't helpful. It's just makes the situation about you, and that's not what your wife needs.
5. I don't know what you want me to do
You might think this sounds a little insensitive, but I've heard it several times, (though always meant with good intentions). It's typical for men to want to fix the problem that comes their way, so they often feel defensive and helpless if women don't want them to fix their problem (or if it's simply a problem they can't fix).
You are more helpful than you realize simply by being you, so don't worry that you're not enough.
Someone's problems don't invalidate another person's problems. Your wife is already struggling enough as it is, she doesn't need you to make her feel like she's being selfish. Yes, things could always be worse. But that doesn't mean her problems aren't real and valid.
7. Here's what you should do
Your wife doesn't want you to fix her problems, and she doesn't expect you to. She just wants you to listen. I know this can be frustrating sometimes, especially when it feels like there's a simple solution. Just lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on, and you'll be amazed at how much that simple gesture helps.
Bad days are inevitable, no matter who you are. But they're a lot easier to handle when you have someone by your side helping you through it all - know how to take care of your wife during the rough times, and she'll respond by doing the same.
Emily Brady is a member of the FamilyShare content team. She studied Communication with an emphasis in journalism. She loves photography and finding a good book to read in her hammock on a sunny, breezy day.