Chronic illness adds challenges to marriage that can draw you closer together or cause you to become more distant. The type of illness you have and the level of support you have from your spouse really makes a difference.
My husband and I have been married for 26 years but I’ve only really dealt with chronic illness for the past 7 to 10 years. I’m thankful that it was a gradual thing so that my husband and I could both begin to adjust and adapt to it. But no matter whether it is gradual or comes upon you suddenly it’s never easy. In the beginning my husband had a difficult time understanding my symptoms and my limitations. It took him being out of work for several months and watching me daily, to really begin to understand.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book, “the five love languages” by Gary Chapman, but my husband’s primary love language is acts of service, which has truly benefited me. He has an incredible servants heart. I truly appreciate all that he does for me, and I have to be careful about not falling into a pattern of letting him do things for me that I should be doing myself.
A while ago we had a conversation about how we perceive each other in this season of our marriage. I felt that he was treating me more like a patient then a wife, and he felt like I was treating him more like a maid than a husband. I think as a result of that conversation we are more conscious of how we treat one another. But we by no means have this all figured out. I think the important thing here is to just continue having conversations.
One thing I struggle with is loneliness because I am home all day and have very few people who stop by. At least my husband gets to go to work and has interaction there. I understand that people have busy lives with their own children and activities. I have to say that I’m very thankful that one of my sisters lives not too far away and we try to get together at least once a month to spend the day together, just drinking tea and giving in to our silly side.
My family and friends who know me understand when I say, after visiting for a couple of hours, that I REALLY need to go lay down. Often times they’ll bring chairs into my bedroom and will continue hanging out in there, which tells me loud and clear how much they truly love and accept me, even if they don’t totally understand what I’m going through.
But it is stressful and it does take a toll on your marriage. I recently discovered a book called “praying for your husband from head to toe” by Sharon Jaynes and it is changing MY heart, even as I begin to see a transformation in my husband. My goal is not to change my husband, but to just bring him before the Lord every day and seek the Lords best for him. I strive to be the best wife that I can possibly be in spite of my illness.
Thanks for hanging out with me,