Facing a life threatening illness is trying, but it's the most crucial time to emotionally support your spouse. Not doing so can cause your spouse to feel abandoned and lose hope. Take these steps to give your spouse what he needs to live through and perhaps overcome his illness:
Step 1: Learn Everything You Can about the Illness
Your spouse wants to know that you care. Getting informed about the illness is a more powerful way to show that you do, than just telling him that you do. Reading books, watching DVDs, doing research on the Internet and learning about the options will help to take some of the mental and emotional load off your spouse. You may be able to find helpful tips and remedies for your spouse in the process to help ease his suffering.
Step 2: Go to All Doctor Visits
Asking your spouse's doctors questions and being there to receive information is another way to support your spouse emotionally. Dealing with a life threatening illness can be overwhelming, and trying to mentally engage with a doctor who may have nothing but bad news is often too difficult for many people to handle. Your spouse may need your help to interact with his doctors, and in some cases, protect him from agreeing to unnecessary tests or treatments.
Step 3: Be Cheerful
Be as cheerful as much as possible when you're helping your spouse with daily living. For example, don't complain or look disgusted when you have to change his bed pan, turn him over, bathe him or do other activities that he has done on his own most of his life. He probably feels embarrassed that you have to take over those duties, and you having the wrong attitude about it could damage him emotionally. By simply smiling, you can put him at ease and make him feel good about you helping him when he's most vulnerable.
Step 4: Don't Stop Touching
A life threatening illness can cause some couples to stop touching one another. You may see your spouse as too fragile to touch, in some cases, touching him may cause him pain. Your job is to figure out safe ways to touch your spouse that won't be painful to him if that's the case. In many other cases though, such as cancer, there shouldn't be any problem with touching your spouse, and you should do so as a form of emotional support. Your spouse needs you to connect through touch, especially if the illness makes being intimate impossible.
Step 5: Talk to Your Spouse
Don't stop talking to your spouse. Have conversations, most of which should be about topics that are not related to his life threatening illness. Listen to radio programs or watch programs and have discussions about it. Do whatever you did before you found out about the illness to help your spouse retain some normalcy in his life.
Working hard to emotionally support your spouse could be helpful to his recovery. Do what you can to keep him from staying depressed.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.