Many of us are in a marriage or a long term relationship while also being a caregiver to a parent. When we were newlyweds this was far off in the future. We probably didn’t even give a thought to it at the time.
The ideal situation would be for both spouses to contribute to caregiving even if it is only emotional support but unfortunately this is not the way it usually turns out. Most often one spouse is a caregiver and has to balance their relationship as well as their caregiving duties. Besides this, they may often still have children at home and usually a job. All of this puts strain on the marriage and can often lead to divorce.
What are some ways to protect your marriage and keep it healthy while being a caregiver?
- Talk about it. Discuss your schedule with your spouse and ask for support. Each member of your family can spend a little more time taking over your tasks at home while you are caregiving. Express to them your fear that your loved one may soon pass away and that besides providing care for them you are also worried about what the future will bring.
- Plan for the future. Your caregiving role will not last forever so get together and plan a weekend away or a special occasion for when you finally have the time for it. This gives both of you something to look forward to. In the meantime establish small rituals that you can have with each other daily or weekly to keep your relationship intact.
- Look for outside resources. Many communities have caregiver support groups which will provide a way for you to let off steam. This way you’ll realize that you aren’t the only one going through this situation.
Keeping your relationship together while caregiving isn’t easy. It will take a huge amount of energy and the ability to be flexible. To read more on protecting your marriage while being a family caregiver, click here.