Navigating Chronic Illness in Marriage… things I’ve learned from my husband John:
- Love is patient. You’ll miss the person he/she was and you’ll find yourself going into overdrive doing everything you can for this to be over. Trust that he/she will get better, that in God’s timing complete healing will happen.
- Speak life. When your spouse is sick, it’s likely that he/she is dealing with a lot of fear and worse case scenarios. As the spouse, try not to partner with their fear. Your spouse will need to be reminded of the truth. When John continually spoke life over my situation and reminded me that I was healing, I believed him even when I couldn’t see it.
- Take Care of yourself. Caregiver role strain is a real thing. They tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before anyone else for a reason! It’s impossible to care for someone if you’re not caring for yourself first. Spend time with your friends, keep going to church (even without your spouse), and do what you have to to take care of you!
When the person you marry gets sick, in sickness and in health take on a stronger reality. There is a reason married couples have vowed this for ages. We need each other and not in a co-dependent, clingy kind of need. God designed marriage for times like these. Marriage is not like the movies. It’s about going through the real messes and hardships life throws your way together because God doesn’t intend on us doing it alone.
I’m so grateful I didn’t walk through these last 3 years alone. I’m beyond blessed that John showed me what unconditional love looks like. We are nearing the end of weathering the fiercest storm I could have imagined and we are coming out of it stronger and more clear about the future.
I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Chronic illness can wreck a marriage. It can cause devastating blows to what was once a strong love. If that’s you, I pray for you! My heart breaks for you.
God knows what we need above all. Trust that your healing will come. Trust that your spouse will heal.