[callout]This is a guest post from Marco Bendinelli. Marco is an attorney in the state of Colorado. He’s shared a post on a topic that I haven’t covered on my blog before — what happens when one spouse suffers a life-changing injury, and how to make your marriage stronger through it. Whether you’ve experienced this or not, what he shares can benefit your marriage. If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my guest post guidelines and submit your post.[/callout]
Few things can shake up your personal life more than a major injury. When you suddenly become disabled or otherwise injured, many things can crash as a result; not least of all is your love and marriage. How do you remain strong as a couple while coming to terms with such devastating life changes?
When your personal body changes, it is easy to focus inwards and accidentally shun those you love. It is during these times especially that you should strive to work together as a couple. Indeed, couples that make the effort during the most difficult times often emerge with some of the strongest marriages you will likely see.
The Personal Connection
No matter what happens to your physical body, you are still you. Your loved one should still see you for who you are, in terms of personality, charisma and emotional connection, even if you do not. Because of this, spending time together and keeping that bond alive is crucial. There are many ways to do this. Let’s look at some classic date
- A Restaurant
- The Cinema
- A Romantic Dinner at home
- Feeling adventurous? Why not take a weekend away.
These can be easily done regardless of most injuries. What’s important is that couples take the time to go out together, growing as a pair. This is also about doing the things you used to do. There will still be many
things that are possible, so isn’t it better to focus on the positives rather than the negatives?
Other Shared Activities
When many people experience a life-changing injury, they are often encouraged to take up new activities in relation to their injury. These often include:
- Sports (such as those in the Paralympics)
- Less-active hobbies, such as arts and crafts
This is great for the individual, but it often sets up a barrier in relationships. Spend too much time doing this and you’re spending too much time away from your loved one.
Instead, or at least alongside, these activities, you should find things that can include your significant other. Play in a new sport? Invite your partner to the games, introduce them to the team and let them be involved
with this new part of you.
This helps to grow a bond between you as a couple, while also readily accepting your injuries. Without this, it’s possible to end up leading two lives – one where you deal with your disability and one where you spend time with your partner – rather than one, completely.
One of the easiest ways to cause a divide is by not talking. With physical changes to the body, many will often want to not talk about it, or see any sort of help as patronizing. While understandable, this isn’t something you should do to someone you care about.
Try letting them in and helping where they can. Communication and honesty will help identify any problems (from either person), solving them before they become an issue. When you can’t do something, or need a little help,
just ask. Your partner will appreciate being the one you come to with private or delicate matters.
Many couples can often underestimate the importance of a social life. Being able to enjoy your own company as well as others around you is a sure sign of a strong marriage. Yet, being injured or disabled can often cause people to worry. Similarly, support groups are useful but they should not replace your social life.
Talking to others allows you to let off steam while still being with those you care about. If you spend all the time indoors with each other, tensions can often get pretty high. Remember this at all times and, if you haven’t socialized in a while, isn’t it time you went out?
A Need for Empathy
Finally, this last point is just as important for either person in a marriage. Empathy is always crucial; the need to understand someone else on an emotional level is a key part of love. If your partner has been seriously injured, don’t rush their recovery. Healing often takes time, both emotionally and physically, so you should be there to support them.
On a similar note, you should understand and appreciate the level of support your partner is able to show you. If your partner has to adapt to providing care, they may get stressed or exhausted as a result. In these cases, you should recognize that they are trying.
In the end, they say love conquers all. This is most certainly true, but it doesn’t happen by chance. With a little work and commitment, couples can often come out of the darkest periods being stronger and closer than
[reminder]What are some other ways a couple can grow stronger after suffering a life-changing injury?[/reminder]
photo credit: Hay que reorganizar los cuidados via photopin (license)
I couldn’t agree more with the statements above. I injured my back 8 years ago and had a herniated disc and two bulging disc. It took me a long time to recover but my vision was to accomplish everything that I’d been putting off like running a marathon and other activities. As a result I also while recovering used other social activities to fill the void and supplement my life. I accomplished all I set out to and more but my relationships suffered because of the injury and road to recovery. I was more focused on me. Today that is not the case my relationships are number one.
Thanks for your transparency, Kirby. I’m glad you’ve learned from your experience and taken a different approach.
Kirby, that is incredible! I didn’t know that about you. That’s two poweful stories of healing, rolled into one 🙂
Thank you Jed. It really is humbling for me and it goes a lot deeper than that. I sprinkle my experiences around but struggle to put it into words which really encompasses the entire story. It is a different story to tell than me writing about self-help and personal growth. Takes a special kind of writing to convey that time frame in my life. Took a lot of grit and resiliency.
This is so true. I am the “unhealthy” spouse with a brain tumor which affects my personality. Being able to communicate about the differences and finding the good things have help to strengthen our marriage.
Thank you for sharing, Kendra. And for being an example of exactly what this post is talking about.
Love this! And although my wife and I are both blessed with our physical healthy, I see most all of these ideas as being just as applicable. Right now we’re working hard to keep our personal connection going during an exceptionally busy season of life. Thanks for the reminder that love, hard work, and commitment, allow a marriage to grow stronger and closer than ever 🙂
It’s my pleasure, Jed. Thanks for sharing.