Most marriage vows includes the promise to love and cherish one another in sickness and in health. In the glowing excitement and thrill of the wedding day, the honeymoon and settling into newly married life, few couples would anticipate or even expect that their marriage could ever be affected by a serious illness. So if you or your spouse become seriously ill, you are no doubt going to feel the impact of it on your married relationship.
For Better or for Worse
Suddenly discovering that you have a serious illness to deal with in your marriage can either bring out the best or the worst in you, and sometimes a mixture of both. Your emotions can flip flop on an exhausting roller coaster ride as you grapple with coming to terms with your new reality. As you keep persevering and taking practical steps it is possible to view the illness as a pathway to renewal rather than to ruin, and let it bring out not the worst but the best in your relationship.
As you will soon realize there is no going back, only forward, and there are certain areas in which you can take some practical steps such as the following:
- Understanding the illness: Get all the information you can from reliable sources such as your doctor and good medical websites. This will help you come to grips with what you are dealing with and what you can expect.
- Face the finances: Financial concerns need to be addressed as soon as possible. Perhaps your health insurance will cover the medical expenses; otherwise you may need to make other arrangements or access some of your savings.
- Support is essential: Having a caring support group around you is essential for your well-being as individuals and as a couple. Family members and friends from your neighborhood, church groups, or care groups of those with similar illnesses are all possible sources for support. It is good to have at least five people you can call on for help and to give the primary caregiver regular breaks.
- Find time for fun: It is easy to let your whole life revolve around coping with the illness, but it is important to keep a sense of humor and to find time for fun and recreation. This may mean finding new interests that fit around the illness, or doing simple things together such as snuggling and watching a movie, or sharing a special meal together.
A new normality
As you settle into your new normality of daily routines, and you adjust your expectations, you will find a new way of living, loving and sharing life together as a married couple, both in sickness and in health.