Caregiving can cause wear and tear on a marriage, especially when it’s a live-in situation.
Marital strains, conflicts, tensions, and disagreements can stem from finances, less time
together, stress, frustration, fatigue, and resentment. It’s hard to get along when you’re
emotionally and physically exhausted from trying to balance everyone’s needs.
Maintaining your marriage while providing the best care possible for your loved one and not
losing your sanity in the process is difficult, but not impossible. The solution to protecting and
nurturing your marriage while caregiving lies in patience, understanding, emotional support,
and a commitment to working together. Hopefully these ideas will help you achieve a stronger,
more intimate relationship than ever.
Remember your spouse is your number one priority
Presumably, you’ll be spending the rest of your life with your spouse, long after your loved ones
re gone. When your relationship is under stress, it’s important for both parties to
make marriage a priority.
Honest communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Staying connected helps prevent
misunderstandings. Talk with your spouse about how this new role is affecting your relationship
and how they can support you.
Adjust your expectations
Unrealistic expectations not only set you up for disappointment, but they also set you up for
guilt, bitterness, frustration, and resentment. Set reasonable and realistic expectations for both
yourself and your spouse. Remember that they’re doing their best, just like you. Be kind–don’t
beat yourself up. When fatigue, anxiety, or aggravation sets in, let yourself feel it. Take a nap,
scream into a pillow, write it down in a journal–whatever it takes to let that feeling be felt–then
let it go and move on.
Foster “we” time
Fun and romance are often the first things to fly out the window in a marriage, especially under
the added stress of family caregiving. Three’s a crowd. Make sure you get some one-on-one,
unchaperoned time together to reconnect. Otherwise, your partner will inevitably start to
Your partner is your live-in sounding board, but constantly venting your frustrations to them
isn’t fair. Connect with others in similar situations online or in-person.
Say “thank you”
Oftentimes you as the caregiver do not receive a “thank you,” so why would your partner?
Make sure your spouse knows how much you appreciate their support by expressing your
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