Witnessing your loved one in pain or dealing with some sort of upset may make you feel utterly helpless. Perhaps you try to offer solace, but your attempts are ineffective. Learning how to console your wife will improve the overall communication in your relationship and enhance the connection between you. While you cannot take your wife's discomfort away, you may be able to both nurture your relationship and alleviate the situation with a few kind words and gestures.
Listen to Her
Ask your partner what she is thinking and feeling, and what she needs. Different actions are comforting for different people, so your wife is your best resource for learning what words, actions and behaviors she finds reassuring. You may assume that she wants time by herself, for instance, when she actually finds great solace in your presence. Clarifying these things with your wife exhibits sensitivity and thoughtfulness, which she will likely find comforting in itself.
Offer Physical Comfort
Physical touch is one of the best ways to communicate emotion. If your wife is angry or frustrated, offer a massage to help ease her tension. If she is nervous, holding her and rocking her methodically can sooth her anxiety. Physical comfort is especially useful if you don't know what to say. Your wife will physically or verbally indicate which of your actions are welcome -- such as by leaning into you, or squeezing your hand.
Reassure Your Wife
You may be tempted to comfort your wife by fixing her problem for her. Problem-solving requires practical thinking, while emotional comfort can be much more complex. Actively helping her remedy the situation can be useful at a certain point, but it should not replace emotional comfort. Reassure her instead -- she may doubt herself or fear judgment. For instance, you might say, "I'm here to support you as you work through this. I know you can do it." For further encouragement, remind her about problems she successfully managed in the past, and solicit loved ones to similarly remind her of her strengths and past successes.
Assume More Responsibilities
If your wife is already emotionally overwhelmed, her daily tasks and responsibilities might be a little too much to handle. To ease your wife's discomfort, manage as many of her obligations as possible until she is feeling better. For example, you may manage the monthly bills, reschedule some of her appointments and complete some household chores. With fewer external issues to navigate, she will be better able to focus on working through her current situation.
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Jill Avery-Stoss is a graduate of Penn State University and a writer and editor based in northeast Pennsylvania. Having spent more than a decade working with victims of sexual and domestic violence, she specializes in writing about women's issues, with emphasis on families and relationships.