MY LIFE: Reconnecting with my spouse on our wedding anniversary

Courtesy of Creative Commons, used with permission from Hanza Butt

Today is my thirteen wedding anniversary. As many of you battling a chronic illness know, being sick can exact a heavy toll on your marriage and family life. So on this day of celebration, I decided to share some tips on connecting with your spouse despite your illness.

  1. Communicate. Don’t suffer in silence. It doesn’t help you, and it certainly doesn’t help your spouse, who will have no idea you’re having a rough day, etc. Our spouses are not mind readers. State your needs clearly. We need to tell them what’s going on so both of you can face the challenge of your illness together.
  2. Deal with anxieties so you can feel more in control. It’s normal to go through the stages of grief when your life changes so drastically. Don’t shove it all down inside and hope it stays there. It won’t. If you can’t deal with this yourself, use a therapist or counselor who specializes in treating people with depression and anxiety. And remember – your spouse might be grieving too.
  3. Watch your caregiver’s health too. The stress of helping you might be putting a burden on them, and if they’re sick, they can’t be there for you. Caregivers can suffer from burnout. Help them find ways to relax and recharge, alone or with you.
  4. Address the financial strains of the situation. Most people with chronic illness find that doctors’ appointments, meds, and other costs associated with the treatment of that illness can be a burden on a relationship. Use a financial planner if that helps – there are even some who specialize in helping chronic illness families figure out how to make their dollars go further. You’ll find a list of providers here.
  5. Put effort into your spouse whenever you can. if you’re able to cook a nice dinner, go see a movie with them, or schedule a time for them to get out of the house to do something they enjoy, do it. Make keeping your spouse happy a priority.
  6. Try to keep a positive attitude and encourage your spouse to do the same. Study after study has shown that attitude makes a huge difference in your health, and for a chronic illness warrior, this is especially crucial.
  7. Pursue your own activities and interests and make sure your spouse does the same. They may become so wrapped up in helping you that they neglect their own mental well-being. Make sure you each keep separate identities in addition to the joint identity you have as a married couple.
  8. Don’t stress about sex. Intimacy can be achieved in many ways that don’t require a marathon session of sex. Cuddling while watching a TV show, cooking together, going somewhere fun – all of these things can create a sense of togetherness.

So there you have it. Do you have any additional tips to share? Tell me in the comments, which I’ll read later, since today is all about my spouse and my marriage.