Supporting a Spouse Through a Health Challenge



Marriage isn’t all about enjoying each other and going through life happily ever after. No matter how much love between the spouses is strong, there are going to be big challenges throughout the marriage that will put your mutual love, respect, and support to test.

One of those challenges is when one of the spouses experiences a health challenge – it affects not only their health but also their mental state and the overall dynamics in the marriage. So, here’s how to be supportive when your spouse faces a serious health problem.

1. Give encouragement

When faced with a health issue, your spouse will probably need your encouragement more than your advice. Health experts are the ones to give them proper advice; your role is to listen to your spouse’s fears and worries, to show your support and to show them you are strong enough to follow them through the whole ordeal. Your spouse needs to feel your strength and readiness to build that strength in them, too.

2. Give them space

Sometimes when people are struggling with something serious, they may feel the need to withdraw for some time. If you notice that change in your spouse, don’t push too hard, trying to tear that wall down. You should show your spouse you trust them enough to give them the space they need to get their thoughts and feelings in order. Even if you feel the urge to know what they are thinking of, resist that feeling and just show your spouse you’re at the right distance, at their reach when they need you.

3. Be considerate of their feelings

When your spouse is facing a health struggle, it’s highly important to be very considerate of their feelings. No matter how unusual or irrational your spouse’s feelings may be, you need to be respectful to them and to be extra sensitive throughout that period. Be patient with your spouse – don’t react too harshly to your spouse’s emotions – every person dealing with a health issue has their own way of response, so take it seriously and thoughtfully.

4. Touch them often


It is an unbelievable thing just how much 
physical touch from loved ones can be calming and helpful in times of crisis. Whenever you feel like your spouse (or you) need it, hug them or touch their hands. Physical contact and physical support are equally important as anything else during a struggle.

5. Be physically present in times of need

Your assistance is of great importance to your spouse if they are suffering from a serious medical condition or an injury. In addition, if perhaps they have gone through a painful surgery followed by 
extended surgery rehabilitation treatment, they need you to be there for them throughout most of the process. Even if it seems that your spouse is handling the situation well or says they can do it on their own, this is the time to be at their side. Your presence alone is a huge form of support.

6. Exchange gratitude

Don’t avoid being grateful for certain things, no matter how difficult the situation is. And never forget that there is always 
something to be grateful for about your spouse, so don’t hesitate to tell them that. Tell them you are grateful when they feel good. If they have gone through surgery, tell them you are grateful for the nurses or that they are recovering. And allow your spouse to express their own gratitude for you being by their side. 

All in all

There will have to be stressful events throughout your marriage, including those related to health. The most important thing then is for you two to grow closer, and not apart.

Mianna Korben

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