I haven’t felt like a very good wife lately. Although there aren’t egregious, concrete missteps or factors to specifically name that lead me to this evaluation, nor has my husband explicitly voiced overarching disappointment, the self-appraisal of poor performance is still there. It’s something I want to reverse promptly because I not only want to be the wonderful wife my husband deserves, but also because I derive happiness and fulfillment from being a great spouse and friend to Ben.
In the lines of the classic chicken-and-egg analogy, I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been more depressed lately that I perceive myself to be a worse wife (such that my self-esteem and overall affect is down so I’m just judging myself excessively critically) or if I’m in fact being a worse wife because I’ve been more depressed (such that it’s especially hard to put forth the tremendous effort it can take sometimes when I’m barely getting through the basics of taking care of the necessities of life). The two challenges certainly feed into one another in the sense that I feel more depressed when I sense I’m failing as a wife and when I am more depressed, I’m not situated as well to be a great partner.
So where do I go from here? I prefer the two-pronged approach: try to improve both the depression independent of my marriage and try to improve how I am as a wife in spite of how I’m doing myself. Attacking both simultaneously will make even relatively minute changes more detectable since I’m hitting the problems from both sides. This may help me feel like I’m actually making progress on what I would consider tough issues to remedy. After all, it’s not like I want to be depressed, for example, and haven’t been trying to elevate my mood! However, at least for me personally, it’s not easy to fix.
It’s easier to fathom stepping up as a wife right now. I believe there are always ways partners can be more present, loving, supportive, generous in every sense, patient, fun, or understanding (or multiple of these) towards one another. These improvements take extra effort and energy when you are depressed, which is particularly difficult to accommodate because of the major battery drain that depression itself is. The key to finding the reserves to meet the daunting energy and emotional output required to be that better wife even when I’m so depressed is to keep the rewards in mind: I’ll feel better (happier) if I’m the wife I want to be, which, in turn, furnishes a less depressed, more upbeat mood. Essentially, it’s a difficult investment in the moment, but the payoff is well worth it. I’ll see how well I can push myself and raise my mood, self-esteem, and feeling of confidence regarding being the best partner possible.