According to a Caring.com survey, 80% of respondents said caregiving put a strain on their relationship or marriage. The stress of caregiving can quickly become an issue within a marriage because it can affect your daily activities, time, finances, and living space. To keep your marriage strong through the trials and tribulations of caregiving, it’s important to understand how caregiving impacts your marriage and what you can do to prevent unnecessary conflict with your spouse.
Caregiving and Marriage
Before we discuss how to prevent conflict within your marriage, you need to understand how caregiving can and does impact your relationships. According to the Mayo Clinic, caregiving can affect your relationship with your spouse by:
- Posing a financial burden
- Cutting into your time together as a couple
- Cutting into the time you have for family matters, such as child care and housework
- Causing frustration and fatigue
- Causing resentment of the loved one in need or of your spouse
- Creating tension or conflict between your spouse and other family members involved in your loved one’s care
- Creating more things to disagree about
10 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong When Caregiving
Now that you understand how caregiving can impact your marriage, the next step is to take proactive measures to avoid and manage conflict.. Below are the top 10 ways to keep your marriage strong, as suggested by numerous experts and articles within the caregiving community:
- Acknowledge the issues: When you start caregiving for an aging parent, recognize the issues that can come up and discuss strategies on how to manage the upcoming challenges.
- Express your concerns: If your spouse is a caregiver and you are upset, have concerns or other emotions, make sure to schedule time to discuss these issues.
- Ask and accept help: If you are feeling stressed, ask your spouse, family or friends for help! Here is some additional information on how to get and accept help.
- Ask for and grant forgiveness: We all make mistakes so don’t be afraid to apologize and remember to forgive both yourself and spouse.
- Always make time for your relationship: Put your spouse first. It may be difficult sometimes but always remember to schedule time for just the two of you.
- Make decisions together: If you are making big or small decisions about the care of your aging parent, then do so together. Include your spouse so they can understand what is happening.
- Do activities and events as a family: If you have to take your aging parent to an appointment ask your spouse and family to tag along – you can squeeze in more time together this way!
- Get outside help as needed: If the demand is too much for your family, then consider professional care services.
- Make communication a priority: To make this work you need to have open channels of communication with your spouse. This is the cornerstone of a happy marriage no matter what.
- Be spontaneous and keep romance alive: Not everything has to be scheduled. Show your love with a homemade dinner, a romantic night stroll, or in other personal ways.
Your spouse should always be your number one priority, but life has a way of adding many others to that list. Don’t forget to focus on your home life and remember your marriage and family need you too. There will be challenging moments but being open and honest will go a long way. It will even help to reduce your stress! Act today and discuss these tips with your spouse.