5 Strategies to Improve Your Marriage When Facing Mental Illness 

1. To fight isolation, choose connection 

Connection: Connection isn’t just about a weekly date night. It’s choosing to move toward each other when it would be easier to withdraw or lash out. It’s choosing validation. If you don’t remember how to do that check out the previous video about kids and parents in this series. It’s about being vulnerable with each other and in community. 

2. To fight stigma, speak up

Speak Up: Don’t let the stigma of mental illness prevent you from reaching out for help. That includes the spouse of the person with the illness. Refuse to give into the belief that things can’t change. As a couple you speak up. You didn’t choose mental illness, but you can fight it together as a team. You are not your illness. It’s not your identity. Don’t be afraid to make sure people know that.

3. To process grief, give grace

Grace: Grief isn’t experienced in a straight line. It can hit you out of nowhere, and if your spouse is grieving, they need grace. Grace that says, it’s ok not to be at your best. Grace allows them to feel what they feel. Grace that says yes, this is hard. 

4. To stop overfunctioning and underfunctioning, change the dance

Change the dance: This might sound like the simplest strategy, but it will make a big difference. The current dance is a train wreck, and no one is truly happy with it. Come together and brainstorm a way that the underfunctioner can take on some more responsibility, and the overfunctioner can stop stepping in and controlling the dynamic. 

5. To develop intimacy, take a risk

Take a risk: Intimacy in marriage is more than physical, it’s emotional. It’s time to take a risk like you did when you first fell in love. If you have a lack of intimacy start by working to develop your friendship. Ask open ended questions of one another. Find out your spouse’s greatest fears, hopes, and dreams. Start holding hands again. The stress of mental illness can take a toll on intimacy, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.


You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)


How has mental illness affected your marriage? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

And don’t miss out on the next week video: 5 Strategies to Improve Your Marriage When Facing Mental Illness

A big thank you counselors…

Chris Webberley 

Kristal Mathis

Julie Watson 

Debbie Abrahamson 

For consulting with me on this video and to His Heart Foundation for supporting this channel. If you want more in-depth mental health information for you and those you love check out mentalhealth.academy today. 

Connect to resources: 

Divorce Rate Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4011132/ 

Watch this video if you want to change your relationship dynamics…The Drama Triangle

The 7 Principals for Making Marriage Work by Gottman 

The Biblical Reference Guide for the Gottman Method by David Penner 

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Randi Kruger 

Connect to a counselor:

Counselor Referral

No more confusion or wondering how you’ll face the roller coaster of life with mental illness. Mental Health Academy is here to take the mystery away, and give you the knowledge and the tools you need to have relationships that last! The time is NOW to get our first course: Trauma.

Please subscribe for videos on our Youtube Channel for our amazing resources. I’ll be sharing great tips and encouragement for whatever your facing—whether you’re fighting mental illness or have a loved one who is.