Struggling to make your marriage work because of your chronic illness? Here are some reasons why Chronic Illness can Affect Marriage

Chronic Illness Affect Marriage

Having a chronic illness can be confusing, scary, and frustrating. In some cases, this may even cause a strain on your marriage, which can be an added blow to what’s already a difficult time.

How a Chronic Illness Can Affect Your Marriage

If you’re having trouble with your marriage because of your chronic illness, perhaps seeking the help of a therapist would help? If not, and you feel as though there is no repairing the damage done to your relationship, seeking the help of a family law firm may be on the cards.

The question, can the problems caused by a chronic illness be that severe? In some cases, most likely, and here’s why…

Types of Chronic Illness

According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic illnesses are long-term health conditions that might not cure. Medline Plus provides an extensive list of chronic illnesses, some more debilitating than others, which include:

  • Alzheimer disease and dementia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • COPD
  • Crohn disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Mood disorders (bipolar, cyclothymic, and depression)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson disease

Many of these diseases affect a person’s motor functions, and others affect their mental capabilities. In other cases, it is the inner organs affected and, often, severe and ongoing pain can be a constant symptom.

Why Might Someone with a Chronic Illness Struggle?

There are many reasons why a chronic illness can cause a person to struggle day-to-day, both physically and emotionally. Some of these struggles might include:

Feeling Ignored

Many people who have a chronic illness talk about the difficult journey to getting a proper diagnosis. Not all doctors have the specific training to identify and treat certain diseases, especially considering it challenging for the patient to describe. This can become overwhelming for some people, who might feel as though it’s all in their head.

Feeling Alone

This inability to get a diagnosis can make the person feel entirely alone, understandably. Without knowing what’s happening to them and having no one around to understand it either, this can be isolating.

Loss of Lifestyle Due to Physical Capabilities

The thing with chronic illness is that it can completely alter your lifestyle, including your home and work life. In some cases, it may even cause you to lose your job, especially if the illness affects your physical ability to carry it out.

For example, something like asthma might affect your ability to do certain physical sports, like running. Alternatively, epilepsy may affect your ability to operate heavy machinery, which can be devastating if you work in this sort of environment.

These lifestyle changes can be difficult to swallow, likely causing mental health issues along the way.

Worsening of Physical Symptoms Due to Negative Thought Patterns

Chronic illnesses can have a huge effect on the physical capabilities of a person. Then, any physical symptoms of a chronic illness, including pain, can become worse due to the above negative feelings.

With negative thoughts, patterns can come disrupted sleep. This can, in turn, make tempers flare, and memory and concentration may also become poor.

These feelings can then have a knock-on effect on peoples’ ability to cope with pain and even the levels of pain they may experience! In fact, recently discussed an eye-opening bit of research that showed how pain could be manifested within the brain.

Imaging studies to map the brain pathways that generate and regulate pain and emotion showed the bigger picture. The study found that “our level of fear of pain and the narrative we tell ourselves about pain can influence how our brain learns to deal with it across time.”

So, when a person feels anxious, depressed, or fearful, patterns within the brain can lead to more physical pain being felt. This means that, for those already struggling with the emotional side of their chronic illness, pain may become a continuous and severe symptom too.

How Can Chronic Illness Struggles Affect Your Marriage?

Above, we’ve labeled some of the key struggles a chronic illness victim might suffer from. So, how can these issues bleed into everything else, potentially causing marital problems? Taking each struggle one by one, here are some thoughts:

  • Feeling ignored: when a doctor can’t even diagnose you, it might be natural for a partner to stop believing the problem is real too. This can make the victim feel gaslighted – as though they are crazy- leading to resentment and frustration.
  • Feeling alone: having no one around to understand the problems is hard enough, but when your partner can’t even empathize either, this can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, therefore leading to marital strain.
  • Loss of lifestyle: losing physical abilities can mean that hobbies you once shared aren’t possible anymore, and getting out of the house might be a struggle. This can lead you to both feel a little trapped. What’s more, losing a job could mean loss of income, putting a financial strain on you both.
  • Worsening of physical symptoms: ultimately, the worsened physical symptoms can lead you to feel extremely low, anxious, and depressed. This is not a recipe for an enjoyable and lasting relationship.

Overall, each of these issues is likely to make the victim feel like there’s no end in sight. Without the true understanding of a partner, who may be struggling to see what the problem is, marital strains are inevitable.

Struggling to make your marriage work because of your chronic illness? Here are some reasons why Chronic Illness can Affect Marriage

Let’s Save Your Marriage!

As is clear throughout this article, the symptoms caused by chronic illnesses can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. It’s no wonder that a marriage can be put under a lot of strain because of this.

If you think your marriage can be saved, be sure to communicate to help each other get through this difficult time. What’s more, don’t be shy about seeking the advice of a marriage counsellor who can provide you with a fresh perspective on the situation.

We hope you can find a way to work on your marriage despite these trials.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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