By Karen Smith
Do you find yourself being a wife and caregiver at the same time? It’s never our plan for our husbands to be sick. However, sometimes when we find ourselves in that role, we struggle to know how to do both. I want to share tips to strengthen your marriage in sickness today.
In Sickness and In Health
Recently, I was visiting with A Wife Like Me reader, who was newly married. Just weeks into their marriage, her husband had to have emergency surgery, leaving these newlyweds a long recovery road ahead. Several more unpleasant surgeries awaited them. I could hear the heaviness in her voice.
Many of us have experienced a sick spouse on occasion. Some of us may have husbands who struggle with depression or cancer, or other debilitating diseases. Others may have husbands who have had accidents that changed them into completely different people.
When sickness happens, how do you navigate being a wife and a caregiver?
Caregiving requires much. It requires time, emotional investment and mental energy. For me, once we complete our morning routine, I need a nap. I am exhausted. Amid full-time caregiving, I have found we must take care of ourselves.
When we allow ourselves time to rest, when we feed our bodies healthy food, and when we take time to spend with Jesus, we are more apt to thrive instead of survive. In the middle of caregiving and caring for yourself, there is still a need to be a wife. After all, you were most likely a wife before you were a caregiver.
Instead of surviving, thriving allows you the opportunity to focus on being the wife God has called you to be.
5 Tips to Strengthen Your Marriage in Sickness
Here are five tips I’ve learned that strengthened my marriage in my husband’s sickness that can benefit you:
- Take time to converse about life.
Don’t let caregiving conversations be the only conversations you have. Thank goodness my husband and I were friends long before we began our dating and marriage. A friendship with your husband is imperative in the face of caregiving.
- Enjoy something together.
It could be a walk, a cup of coffee, a game, reading a book together, or anything you enjoy. We like to watch TV series together. I rarely sit down and relax during the day. But when we watch TV together, I can be present with my husband and allow my body to relax at the same time.
With my husband in a hospital bed, cuddling is quite tricky. However, it’s not impossible, and sometimes, cuddling is needed. More often than cuddling in bed, I will sit in his lap. I find touch to be beneficial for our marriage relationship. Touch communicates love.
- Find ways to allow your husband to feel like a husband.
When sickness and disease invade our husband’s life, it often robs him of his manly duties. As caregivers, we pick up much of his responsibility. However, we need to look for ways our husbands can still fulfill their roles.
My husband is significantly disabled; however, he has control of the Roomba. Yes, it is connected to his phone, and he tells his phone to make the Roomba go. This task gives him a bit of ownership and a feeling of helpfulness, which is important to most men.
- If possible, make love.
I won’t expound on this point, but our husbands need sexual moments with us wives. It is a God-given desire in their lives, and if possible, we need to allow time for that in our caregiving roles.
I know after caregiving, making love might not be on the top of your to-do list. However, I promise the rewards for you and him are well worth taking the time to love your spouse well.
Caregiving does not equal being a wife. Anyone can give care, but no one can be your husband’s wife except for you. Please don’t allow caregiving to be the only love you show your husband. Apply these tips to strengthen your marriage in sickness.
Wife Step: Which one of these tips can you use today to love your husband as a wife and caregiver?
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. What started out as a way to communicate medical facts has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey. When she’s not busy caring for her family or writing, you might find her cooking or crafting.