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Perhaps you married the tough guy who's too proud to shed a tear, or you tied the knot with a know-it-all you'd never challenge to a Jeopardy! match. But even the most independent, intelligent guys need support from their wives.
"For a marriage to last a lifetime, each person needs to trust that the other person has his or her back," explains relationship coach Kathy Dawson. "Support means listening to whatever a mate needs in a situation and doing the best to provide that. If a partner doesn't consistently show up as a cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, or teammate, the relationship suffers in a fundamental way."
Here, Dawson identifies five times every husband will need his wife by his side.
He's taking on a new role at work, or making a career change.
"A job change is stressful and often requires more time at work," Dawson explains. When he's burning the midnight oil, in part to provide for your family, "you need to support him in his efforts," she says, even if that means you see him less.
If he loses his job.
"When a person loses a job it is devastating to his or her ego and self-esteem," says Dawson. "A man's self-worth is tied to what he does for a living, so his wife needs to support him and validate that feeling of loss — and be willing to work with him as a team to regroup and find another position."
When he (finally) retires.
"This is one of the biggest transitions he will go through," Dawson says. Though retirement is something to celebrate, he may actually feel grief, or lost. "Helping him find activities to replace his life's work is critical. Reinforce the fact that he is still valuable, even though he is no longer in the workforce."
When he feels sadness, or if he ever battles depression.
"The best thing his wife can do is to avoid saying, 'Get a grip. You have a wonderful life. You should be happy,'" says Dawson. "Instead, she needs to brainstorm ideas with him on how to manage the stress or get help, if necessary."
When he gets sick.
The best way to support your husband through an illness — other than with chicken noodle soup and Netflix marathons, of course! — is to take care of yourself. "Depending on the illness, it could take a huge toll on her," explains Dawson. "After she has her own support system in place, she can be there for him to administer meds, oversee doctor's appointments, or whatever else is needed for recovery."