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3 Tips for Navigating Marriage When a Spouse Has Multiple Chronic Illnesses

How does a marriage survive when more than one chronic condition falls into the picture? When a bombshell hits one of the spouses with very serious illnesses, the realization that it will be a part of their union for the rest of their lives can leave both in shock. There will be medical testing and physician appointments as part of their daily routine along with possible outpatient procedures or inpatient stays.

These circumstances can “change the story” of their relationship. Life isn’t always perfect. Managing how the malaise affects both partners is just as important. Stronger and closer marriages can be built regardless of the presence of these issues.

Once the couple has established a new routine, here are a few coping mechanisms that can help keep them working together instead of against each other.

1. Communication.

Feelings should be expressed to each other about the situation at hand. This way they both will know how and why the other feels the way they do and a mutual understanding can be reached.

2. Set aside some time for fun.

A couple should take an hour or so to forget about their worries and do something they both like to do such as watching a DVD, visiting friends, going for a walk, watching a sunset, etc.

3. “In sickness and in health.”

This means now and in the future. Dealing with more than one serious illness is a long journey, but so is living a lifetime together.

Recently, I was diagnosed with another incurable disease as a result of Crohn’s. My husband and I decided to wait for the test results before making any decisions, and then we’d talk to my physicians about a “game plan.”

I can honestly say that I’ve been truly blessed to have a very caring and understanding spouse who’s always there for me even at my weakest moments. We do have times where frustration, confusion or even a misunderstanding may occur once in a while. We’ll take a brief “time out” before resuming the conversation.

Nobody said it would be easy, but then again, what is? To quote C.S. Lewis, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

Getty image by paper kites.