Coping with Mental Illness in Marriage

by Pastor Carol Wanjau

Marriage can withstand many pressures and challenges, but perhaps the least spoken about is how to cope with mental health challenges in a marriage.

In this interview, Mavuno Mashariki’s campus pastor Milton Jumba and his wife Vivian who have been married for 12 years, candidly share about their personal experience with mental illness. They give the following tips to help couples in a similar situation navigate their way through the challenges of mental illness.

Speak it Out If you have any mental health condition, be open and disclose it to your partner. This affords them a chance to make informed decisions regarding their desire of and involvement in the relationship.

Pray for Peace If your spouse has a mental health illness, pray for peace of heart and mind. This peace will help anchor your commitment to your marriage and guide your response to the situation.

Raise your Partner Be God’s comfort to your partner. They need compassion and encouragement.

Remember God’s Grace is Sufficient Your marriage may get difficult and tough, but God has given you all that you need to get through those situations. You don’t have to figure things out on your own, tap into the grace God provides. It will lead you through.

Keep your Covenant: Covenant relationships have a higher standard than romantic relationships. As a spouse you are called to love the way God loves; laying your life for the sake of your partner.

Your ability to bounce back from challenges in marriage is based on your understanding of its purpose.  Borrowing from Sacred Marriages, a book by Gary Thomas, I ask, “What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy more than to make us Happy?” Understanding this aspect of marriage should influence the way you treat your spouse.

That being said, a spouse having a mental illness may bring stress factors that make it seem like your marriage has more challenges than others do. However, don’t compare yourself to your neighbour. Each marriage has its unique challenges and God is available to lead everyone through their distinct situations.


  • Your ability to bounce back is based on your understanding of the purpose of your marriage.
  • Don’t compare your marriage to others’. Every marriage has its own unique challenges.
  • God has given you the grace to overcome the challenges in your marriage.
  • God is available to lead you through your marital challenges.
  • God gave you marriage to make you holy.

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