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Question of the Week: How has chronic illness impacted your marriage?

Posted Nov 15 2010 9:03am
Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr
Yesterday I had a heart-to-heart with my hubby about some things that were bothering me. While the details of the conversation are going to stay between me and my hubby, I will say that I found it took a lot of courage on my part to start the conversation. Which got me thinking about why that was...

One of the hardest parts about being disabled is how much more I rely on my hubby to help me, which is both a blessing and a burden. I've written before about how my hubby wants the old Selena back . It seems that my "new normal" is an issue that is being worked out by both of us individually and
between us in our marriage. After six years, my disability's true impact on our life together can no longer be dismissed, denied or downplayed.

What can I say, reality bites ... and we are now getting to the business of dealing with it.

For my part, being so much more dependent on my husband makes me feel more vulnerable. It now feels scary to contemplate not having his love and support, which makes broaching big, heavy subjects akin to taking a huge risk; a risk that I might loose his support, even momentarily, and be left to face my burgeoning needs all on my own.

I hate that I even think this...

Before chronic illness I never gave a second thought to speaking up and getting into it over something that was important to me. Now I hesitate, partly because fighting takes so much out of me and partly because the ground I now stand on doesn't feel quite level anymore. I'm feeling off-balance in my relationship and feeling like I have more to lose now. I imagine my hubby might be feeling off-balance and feeling heavier under the weight of his new responsibilities.

Chronic illness has definitely made me more of a "taker" and less of a "giver" in our relationship.

Despite my perceived vulnerability, I am confident that we will work this out--eventually. For even when we fight, scream, throw our hands up and (temporarily) throw in the towel, we continue to be blessed with the ability to find our way back to each other. Which makes me a very fortunate spouse, since statistics show that for people living with chronic illness, up to 75% of their marriages end in divorce .

Chronic illness can make staying married or staying together a whole lot harder.

So this week I want to know: how has chronic illness impacted your marriage or long-term relationship?
How do you and your partner cope? Please share with us your thoughts and ideas about this topic either here in a comment or at the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page .

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