Chronic illness in marriage: Supporting your partner emotionally

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Receiving the news that somebody you love is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition is never easy. Chronic illness in marriage is not often expected when you say “I Do,” and it can have a major impact on not only your partner, but also the both of you as a couple.

There are many instances of couples who have been put under so much pressure and strain after one person receives an illnness diagnosis. Being torn apart is devastating for the children, if there are any, especially if it leads to divorce.

If someone you care deeply about has been diagnosed with a major health condition, there are things to do so you look after your partner and also keep the relationship strong at its roots. As this process is complex and draining for all involved, make sure that you look after yourself.

Research the condition thoroughly

It’s in your best interests to do as much research into the condition as possible so you can support them the best of your ability. And not just the emotional repercussions but the medical ones too.

There is plenty of information online, so you can find various approaches to helping your partner deal with an illness. If your partner is suffering from a type of cancer that is potentially life-threatening, it’s important for you to get an overall perspective of how to best progress with the disease.

That is especially true when you look at things like alternative therapies. There are some details from Comprehensive Urology services about various cancers and the alternative therapies if surgery is not an option.

It is important when researching to not fall into the trap of over-Googling symptoms, though. Do what you and your spouse can to find the best course of action through verified health specialists when there is chronic illness in marriage.

Providing moral support

When your spouse is going through treatment, it should go without saying that you need to be there for them every step of the way. Their body and mind are going to be in a very sensitive position due to treatments like chemotherapy.

But, it can be difficult to provide that moral support if you’re going through a difficult time yourself. After all, this is a lot to cope with as a partner.

YOU need moral support also. Don’t think it selfish to take it, either. Only when you receive help can you be at your best to support your significant other.

There are many focus groups and support networks for people going through illness as well as their partners and close family members. There is probably a lot more support than you think there is out there.

You also need to think about looking after your mental well-being as the constant pressures of being in and out of hospital can have a devastating impact on your frame of mind. Get to know the methods that work for you when it comes to self-care.

From mindfulness to yoga or taking a walk, you need to know when to put the brakes on when it all gets too much. That’s especially true when your partner has a long-term or serious disease.

Takeaway on chronic illness in marriage

When someone you love has been diagnosed with a physical or mental health condition, it can have a major impact on your relationship in addition to the toll it takes on them. This unique journey is one you’re taking together but you have to also practice effective coping strategies for the stress you feel along the way. Support your partner as best as you can, remembering to take care of yourself too.

19 COMMENTS

  1. A lovely post, Christy. My husband was recently diagnosed with a Stage 1 melanoma. Luckily the removal of the mole and skin graft was a complete cure but it has still been a stressful time.

  2. I believe your inner strength is remarkable. All the research that you have done, the support, the mindfulness, and keeping yourself together in order to keep “The New Normal” present around you & family. You are truly an inspiration.
    Beckie

  3. Christy, my wife has been going through a lot, but we are in it together, being siamese twins for a long time together, 40 years! Your message is wonderful, and meaningful! Love you my sister!

  4. When my father was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), my mother pretty much sacrificed her life for the next five years, until he passed away. She would barely leave the house because she didn’t want to leave him alone. For about three of those years, she didn’t even go to church on Sunday morning, and they sat together and listened to the service on the radio. And she never complained. It was an incredible thing to see. He passed away a month before they would have been married for 58 years.

    She’s going to church again, and is very active with the other ladies at the church, now. But she never begrudged the sacrifices she made for my dad. Theirs was a love that you don’t see much any more.

  5. Been there, and yes, each situation is unique. There are many illnesses which can move along a lot faster than cancers. I say: take Christy’s advice, and take one day at a time.

  6. I’m with Ben, morale support being very important, as well as being there, if needed, knowing when space may be required also.

    Must admit, am not one for researching ‘a condition’ online, mainly due to reliability of the information that may be found. I did once do it whilst I had a sick relative and felt it only made my thoughts worse.

  7. Being a life partner of someone is a bliss and life partner are meant to be together in every thick and thin. This is the Real time that you have mentioned when one really seem for mental support from their partners.The proper love, care and mental support with proper treatment many times work like a miracle and will power of the patient to survive increases with it. Again a wonderful post dear.

  8. this offers great tips for supporting and managing crisis- although I have heard some medical professionals “warn” folks about researching too much after diagnoses – like one doc told her that it will make their heads spin. and could confuse them –
    ahhh
    and while I agree with the confusion that can sometimes ensue from backyard researching – it could actually help people get better care and they also bring in a lot more accountability to the pros that are caring for them.
    many doctors are very ignorant when it comes to the “process of cancer” and when patients and their families read up and “know their stuff” – it brings the doctor into accountability mode.
    and this is especially true with auto immune problems – our health care does well with surgery – gunshot wounds – and prescription writing – but because of their med school training – they continue to remain in the dark over GI disorders (until they become a huge problem and lead to something major) –
    well i could go on and on
    but what pisses me off is that refined sugar suppresses immune system – and if someone has cancer – it can feed the process of cancer in their body – but most doctors never talk to their patients about “getting off sugar” (they usually serve cookies in the waiting room) and they never talk about the immune system./
    want to fight disease?
    rebuild the immune system and get a kick ass bio terrain going …..

  9. Great post Christy,

    moral support is very important .Maybe the most important thing in that state.
    When you have someone who can tell “everything will be fine”, you are really blessed .

    Thank you

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