Finding Marriage Help When Coping With Terminal Illness
This is the first time we’ve discussed this on the blog.
It’s a painful topic…and a tragic reality of life that some couples have to face, unfortunately.
We never know on our wedding day what the future holds. We hope and work for the best. But sometimes we get the worst news of our life: Our spouse, the most important and special person in our world, has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
This is one of the saddest and darkest days that a husband or wife will ever know.
In addition to the emotional anguish, additional stresses come in the form of medical bills, reduced income, trips to the hospital for treatments, and the end of life planning process.
At first, you can’t believe this is happening to you. You feel shocked and numb.
It impacts your marriage and affects your relationship. So seeking marriage help is a wise thing to do for you to have the strength and support that you and your spouse need.
A husband and wife will go through many emotional stages during this journey, but not usually at the same time.
I’ve seen it where one spouse comes to terms with the matter and starts dealing with the situation while the other has great difficulty moving beyond the anger stage.
Seeking some kind of marriage help is one of the best things a couple can do in this situation because they need to journey through these difficult stages together.
What are some options for marriage help?
1. The first thing I’d suggest is to seek advice from your physician.
Your doctor can provide vital information to help you and your spouse understand the illness and what can be expected in the days and weeks to come.
Preparing yourself by knowing what is likely to happen, may reduce some of the stress that often comes with uncertainty and not knowing.
Taking this step is a form of marriage help.
2) Gaining strength in a support group.
Finding others who are in your situation can be a source of courage and strength. You don’t have to suffer quietly alone in isolation.
Finding a support group is a form of marriage help.
Having others to lean on who are going through a similar situation, can be therapeutic. They can help to prepare you for what lies ahead by letting you know what they’ve been through.
You might even find new information, treatments or alternative therapies from the people within your support group. Most of all, you will form wonderful relationships that you will cherish.
3. If you belong to a church or faith community, you may wish to discuss the wishes of your spouse with your pastor, priest or rabbi.
Discussing what you believe about death with your spiritual leader, and what your faith community believes, can bring a sense of peace and hope, especially if you believe that God has conquered the grave, and that death is only a brief pause and not a permanent goodbye.
Death is not the end. Is it scary? Yes. Sad? Absolutely. Heart-wrenching? Yes. Saying goodbye is never easy, even if it is only for a short period of time.
But death is not the end.
Having this discussion with your clergy can be a source of strength. It is likely that your pastor will offer to walk along beside you during this difficult time and offer any help or counseling that he or she can.
4. Enlist the support of a counselor.
Everything should be done to make the final days of one’s spouse as peaceful as is possible.
A counselor is a form of marriage help that facilitates the process.
The hospital’s pastoral care department will be able to connect you with a counseling service offered either by the hospital or another organization in the area.
Speak with the chaplain about finding a counselor who is pleasant and trustworthy, and is someone that you and your spouse can talk to as often as you need through the end of life process.
5. Financial concerns.
No one can put a price tag on human life. And we will do whatever it takes to save our loved one no matter the cost.
That said, medical costs can quickly climb into the tens of thousands of dollars or more. Although it is rarely talked about because it is a topic that is associated with such deep hurt and even bitterness at times, when the loved one passes, there is a strong possibility that charges for treatment will remain to be paid.
It might be a good a idea to meet with the hospital’s patient financial services department to discuss the situation and to learn of any options to manage or defray the costs to make this potential reality less painful.
I know this is a painful thought — and please know that I’m only trying to help – but when the day comes, if it comes, when you say goodbye to your loved one, the last thing you need is for a medical bill to arrive in your mailbox only days later.
Enlisting the help and cooperation of patient financial services can be a source of marriage help when you’re dealing with end of life issues.
There isn’t anything easy about coping with a terminal illness. These are the most difficult days any marriage faces.
But by availing yourself to some of the options we’ve discussed, you can make the last days of your loved one as pleasant and peaceful as is possible.
Face the future together as a husband and wife who are informed and who have a plan of action.
Make the most of the time that remains. Cherish the life and love that you still share by finding the strength and support that you deserve when dealing with terminal illness.