Loving Your Spouse through a Chronic Illness

22 Apr

When a couple recites their wedding vows and repeats the line “in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part”. I’m sure rarely, if ever, do they think that they may actually find themselves or their spouse suffering from a chronic illness. They like many of us, go through the motions of the moment without fully considering the “what if”. Someone very close to me, my husband’s sister recently received a kidney transplant. Everyone close to her was simply overwhelmed with joy because what we had been praying and believing God for had finally happened! Prior to receiving her transplant, my sister-in-law had been on dialysis for over 10 years. After numerous hospital stays, medical procedures and doctor’s visits she finally got the call that so many never receive – that there was a donor. One person’s tragedy – another person’s blessing.

I asked my sister-in-law and her husband to share with couples words of wisdom and encouragement should they find themselves in a situation where they are either battling a chronic illness or married to someone who is.

Mark-Twila

HER WORDS OF WISDOM

I describe the impact of living with a chronic illness like the hurdles life presents to us, at times. But, what I’ve learned over the long haul is that despite my suffering, it comes down to personal choice as to the outcome life hands to me. One thing I realized, at a critical point in my journey, is that no one is guaranteed to be physically fit tomorrow or even living and breathing. Life is truly a vapor and we are created with a purpose. I saw so many of the same people who prayed for me and, sometimes, pitied me, leave this earth before me.   We can choose to become bitter about our illness or we can choose to use it as a catalyst for growth. We can choose to focus on what we cannot do or we can look for opportunities to use our gifts and abilities to honor God.

HIS WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

In Sickness and In Health. We get married to experience life with our choice of a God-given mate. When marriage is working, it is great, to say the least; but when a prolonged storm of illness blows in, you can find yourself in a flood of disillusionment and in a dust bowl of dreams so thick, you can’t see your way out. This is not just true for the one that may be ill, but even more so for the healthy mate.

The only way to survive those days is to let the Lord bring you Days of Refreshing. Sometimes you get caught up so much in being the care-giver you forget to care for yourself. It is imperative that you get time to breathe. It is okay to be both physically and mentally tired. Experiencing fatigue does not mean you don’t love or care for your mate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Therefore, it is important that you do not feel guilty about your need for rest. Free yourself from other’s expectations.

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