Marriage Problems and Chronic Illness: You Can Tackle This Together.

April 15, 2011 by

Marriage problems resulting from chronic illness are common, yet many of us don’t consider that possibility when we are young, healthy, and standing at the altar. But it happens and can put a serious strain on your relationship. It can be exhausting not just physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. You may be stressed about the financial implications of the disease. The caretaker may run out of patience, and the person suffering from the illness may become overwhelmed with guilt. 75% of these marriages end in divorce. But don’t let that statistic get you down. From my experience as an Oregon marriage counselor, I can tell you that you can overcome it together. You may even find that you’re stronger for it.

Marriage Problems and How to Deal with Them

Reconnect. You may forget to appreciate the person you married because you’re so busy dealing with the disease they’ve acquired. Make time to celebrate the things that made you fall in love in the first place.

Be a team. Instead of thinking of the illness as a burden for the caretaker, see it as a problem you are fighting together. You’re both dealing with this hardship. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective before you jump to anger.
Own the disease. Use the words “we” and “our” to remind both of you that this is something you are dealing with together. It can help you to feel less alone with the issue and help you feel more connected to each other.

Educate yourself. As an Oregon marriage counselor, this is something I always encourage my patients to do with any physical or psychological issue their partner has. By arming yourself with knowledge of the illness, you can be a more active participant in your partner’s life. He or she will not feel alone when important medical decisions come up. It is also a great way to show that you care and can help you to better understand what the other person is going through.

Want to Learn More?
This wonderful article from Good Therapy offers more advice on navigating the issues that come with chronic illness.  You may also want to seek help from a counselor to help you both to overcome your marriage problems.