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Keeping a Marriage Together While Caregiving

Tips on how to keep a marriage together while caregiving.

Taking care of a sick loved one, whether an older family member or a child, can take its toll on a relationship. The caregiver feels pulled in many directions, trying to balance family, work, friends and caregiving. According to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers can spend between 30 and 40 hours a week in this role and 53 percent of caregivers say it takes time away from their other loved ones. Caring for a relative often brings couples closer together, but in some cases it may drive them apart.

It’s important to nurture your relationships every day, but even more so in the time of high stress. Just a couple simple ideas:

  • Plan a Date
    When you’re busy, you tend to drop any “you time” from your schedule. Don’t. If possible, find someone who can sit with your family member so you can get out together. A date doesn’t have to be fancy, off-site or lengthy. Take a walk. Cook dinner together after your care recipient is in bed. Play a game. Go out for ice cream.
  • Use Technology
    Hole up in your room with the iPad and have a Breaking Bad or Homeland marathon together. Send tweets, Facebook messages or texts to your partner throughout the week. A simple, “You’re cute and I love you” out of the blue will make your sweetheart’s day.
  • Say Thank You
    More often than not, your partner is picking up the slack around the house while you take care of your loved one. Maybe he gets the kids up in the morning or takes them out on the weekends. Or, maybe she takes over more of the household chores. Don’t forget to say thank you; it goes a long way.

Your Tips on a Healthy Marriage

What helpful suggestions do you have about keeping a marriage healthy? Do you surprise your loved one with occasional flowers or tickets to a movie? Leave little notes about how much you love them? Our readers want to know your advice on marriage and caregiving. Share your comments in the section below.

About the Author:

Amanda Fretheim Gates is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis.

Comments

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3 Replies

  • By Jo

    One of the most wonderful suggestions that I can suggest is to obtain three days of care and attend a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend. It can Restore, Renew, and Rekindle. And no one is turned away from a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend because of financial reasons. It’s a beautiful thing!

  • By Amanda

    I’ve spent a few nights at my mom’s house this year, each time after a surgery. I miss my husband, and feel bad that he’s left to work his late hours AND care for the pets and feed himself. One of my love languages is food, I enjoy cooking for him every night. While I’m away I try to make sure to leave easy, quick, special dinners I know he’ll love. When I’m with my mom I cook for her and make sure to make extras to bring home. I’ll text him, “I made my chicken soup, bringing some home for you!” I hope it helps him feel like I’ve thought about him before taking off, and that I’m thinking about him while we are separated. On the flip side he always makes sure I come home to a clean house so I can rest after caring for my mom. I really appreciate that.

  • By diane poupart

    for me it s honnesty it helps big time. we both have to understand that they are days that we arent as happy as others like beeing tired and not having lots of energy. So we discuss about how we feel and try to agree with each other.And also spoil ourselves is another thing example cook a meal or do some cleaning for each other