When she was a little girl, the female DG spent many a Friday overnight at Aunt Claire and Uncle Fred’s. Her aunt (she presumes) took a magazine that didn’t come to her house, Good Housekeeping, and in it was a tantalizing, confessional feature called “Will This Marriage Survive?”
Decades later, she’s here to proclaim that people remain extraordinarily curious about the interiors of a marriage. Her “Friction about friction” post on this blog remains one of the most read, as slight as it is. So it also shouldn’t surprise her that a whole cottage industry of blogs exist about the strains of married life, in particular when one spouse is diagnosed with a life threatening (or at least altering) disease or condition. You can take your pick of In Sickenss and in Health and even sign up for a Chronically Ill Coach (can’t make this stuff up).
She, of course, knows first hand about the strain a serious illness puts on a marriage andt has spent the better part of the last three years wondering “how do other people cope?” or maybe more accurately, “they must be doing better than I am/we are.”
Last week a friend brought to her attention an article on More.com, “How a Marriage Survives When One Partner Gets Sick.” In a somewhat breathless tone (as women’s magazines are so good at) it tells the story of how numerous couples have coped and are continuing to cope. “Illness requires so much extra time and labor—between medical appointments, insurance bills and health regimens, the need for rest, or just added time for the smallest things, like taking a shower or getting dressed,” says a psychotherapist quoted in the article. “Meanwhile, the healthy spouse often has to take on more of the to-do list for home and family life. People can get caught up in just doing and plowing through.”
Among other strategies the article advises “resetting priorities” and “rediscovering your friendship, the latter seeming a bit of a stretch when you’re plowing through. And what’s so wrong with plowing through? It seems a heck of a lot better than being stuck in the mud.