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A Message from Michele
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The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511205
07/22/05 06:34 AM
07/22/05 06:34 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 39
West Coast
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heartfocus Offline OP
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Michele,

I just bought TMB and we have only watched 3 hours so far, but still I think it's one of the best expenditures I have ever made! When we started watching it, my husband had been arguing for a divorce all day. Afterward, he actually kissed me on the way out the door to golf! We will watch the rest tomorrow.

I have a few questions. The tape starts off saying a little about the devastation caused by divorce, but not too much. The devastation mentioned is mostly about how it spreads to kids, and family. We have no family and no friends who care. It truly would not affect anyone else, in our case. But it would devastate me in my ability to survive. We are older, both disabled but he has all the resources. Do you have a chapter of a book or tape that talks about the effects of divorcing in a chronic illness? In my case I would never be able to live independently again if he divorced me, as my health deteriorated in our marriage of 3 years.

It seems like chronic illness and aging would be an important concept to educate us about, because of all the baby boomers reaching the senior era!

Also, the tape begins on a premise that a spouse who does not love back just doesn't have an "open heart". That's fine and true, but if they are the healthy one who really wants to "be free again" and they really do not care much for you and do not respect you, then what can you do? Just get a life of your own (not easily with chronic illnesses making you dependent and holding you back).

Also, the part where you each make a list of what you would like given in small acts of love to each other. Well I have tried this before - trading lists with him. He has a total inability to access his needs and wants. The *only* thing he wrote down was that he wants me to allow him to be silent and honor that. The problem is that he wants to be off the hook ALL the time for communicating any needs. He never asks for sex. He never asks me to cook a meal. He never tells me his desires. And I DO ask. And yet he complains that I try to read his mind. Michele, you said on the DVD that we can't read others minds. Well, if you were married to my husband, you'd see that you are forced into it. I love him but it's so miserable trying to guess all the time what it is he wants or desires or thinks or feels. I can't imagine what kind of wound occurred way back when to make him this way (he's 60).

Thank you again for the great DVD. I hope someone can refer me to marital resources for the elderly and/or chronically ill.

Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511206
07/24/05 09:53 AM
07/24/05 09:53 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
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clockwatcher Offline
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I saw an audio tape on marriage and surviving chronic illness advertised in a SmartMarriages.org newsletter. They said it is one of a kind. I am having trouble finding it again but I am determined to find it and I'll post it for you as a resource. I agree that "older adult" (50+) and senior (60+) subjects need to start being addressed by a lot more marriage workshops soon. Our population is rapidly getting older, and fewer couples have fewer children. I forget the number but there are going to be many millions of older Americans in the next ten years.

Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511207
08/02/05 02:00 AM
08/02/05 02:00 AM
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clockwatcher Offline
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I have not been able to get my hands on the info about the tape from Smart Marriages that I mentioned, but meanwhile I found a good page on managing your chronic illness:

http://www.mental-health-matters.com/articles/article.php?artID=818

9. Nurture Primary Relationships
Everyone needs love and support and it is especially important for those with chronic illness. It assists in the acceptance and adjustment process, helps you cope and relationships are what makes life worth living. There is nothing more fulfilling than loving and being loved. Chronic illness will undoubtedly be a strain and stress on relationships and has the potential to erode or destroy them if left unchecked. It will be necessary to make a conscious effort to nourish them. Make those most important to you a priority and reserve quality time for them. Encourage open communication of feelings. Deal with the impact the illness has on your relationships directly and honestly. People have a tendency to try and spare one another's feelings by avoiding these types of discussions, and although you may avoid the discomfort of the moment, in the long run this is destructive to the relationship. Seek friends who are supportive and understanding.<<

Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511208
08/29/05 04:31 AM
08/29/05 04:31 AM
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clockwatcher Offline
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OK, I do have this book, but it has mixed reviews:

SURVIVING YOUR SPOUSE'S CHRONIC ILLNESS


"The emotional and psychological impact of caring for a chronically ill spouse. When one's spouse is diagnosed with a serious illness, two lives are devastated. The partner is a victim, too. Author Chris McGonigle, who was a well spouse for fifteen years, draws on her own personal experience and on that of the many other men and women whom she interviewed and who spoke frankly to her about what it is really like to take care of a chronically ill spouse. Her honest book reassures readers that they are not alone in what they feel and are going through. The topics covered include initial reaction to the diagnosis; denial; communication; what losing the sexual part of marriage means; anger; violence; parenting; and spirituality. A final section tells where to turn for help. Through the wisdom and compassion of the many voices in the book, readers will learn how others cope and what they themselves can do to survive."


Other books available at amazon on this:

Customers who bought this book also bought
Beyond Chaos : One Man's Journey Alongside His Chronically Ill Wife by Gregg Piburn
Dirty Details: The Days and Nights of a Well Spouse by Marion Deutsche Cohen
The Chronic Illness Experience : Embracing the Imperfect Life by Cheri Register
A Caregiver's Survival Guide: How to Stay Healthy When Your Loved One Is Sick by Kay Marshall Strom


Michele, we are going to need a DVD seminar on this subject soon. The baby boomer generation is aging and we are many!!

Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511209
09/24/05 07:55 AM
09/24/05 07:55 AM
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Lilyflower Offline
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I read that book, and although very good, it is slanted toward the couple dealing with a terminal illness. What about couples where one or both are just, plain ol' disabled, and have some well periods interspersed with sickness? There's so much guilt for the sick person when you have to depend on the spouse to take care of you! Especially if you haven't been married all that long of a time. Two healthy people get married, and soon after one person comes down a chronic illness or a series of chronic illnesses. (Such can be the case with diabetes and diabetic complications - I just found out I have chronic pancreatitis). We really do need more marriage coping skills for when one spouse becomes the caregiver.

Please, Michele. Soon?

Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511210
09/26/05 06:41 PM
09/26/05 06:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,334
The GREAT Pacific Northwest
Jamesjohn Offline
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Jamesjohn  Offline
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The GREAT Pacific Northwest
When a chronic emotional or physical ailment enters into a marriage, it definitely takes it’s toll, and greatly affects both parties involved. It seems to throw that whole “50/50” deal out of the window, at least for awhile anyway. Even if it doesn’t get all the way back to 50/50, there can be ways to maximize the contributions that both can bring to the marriage. Making the necessary changes and adjustments can be tricky it seems, but it is possible.

If you are the “ill spouse”, what things are you doing to take care of yourself? What things are you doing that either help to alleviate your condition and symptoms, and what things are you doing that might be making them worse? What things should you be doing more of, and what things should you be doing less of? What are some of the things you “can’t do” versus what you “won’t do” for yourself? How does your partner know the difference between these two?

If you are the “well spouse”, again, what things are you doing to take care of yourself? What things are you doing to “put your oxygen mask on first” that will help you to help your partner? What activities, outside of caring for your partner, are you involved in that help to give you strength, and to give yourself a break?

Yes, this can be a very big, and important, topic for discussion! Currently being in the position of the “well spouse” myself, this is a subject I am close to. The above is just a “short list”, but it might be a place to start from. Remembering the basics of DB’ing is being “solution-oriented” can give us a great base to work from. Looking forward to hearing more from others on this!


JJ

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Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511211
11/16/05 06:42 AM
11/16/05 06:42 AM
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Quote:


If you are the “ill spouse”, what things are you doing to take care of yourself? What things are you doing that either help to alleviate your condition and symptoms, and what things are you doing that might be making them worse? What things should you be doing more of, and what things should you be doing less of? What are some of the things you “can’t do” versus what you “won’t do” for yourself? How does your partner know the difference between these two?

If you are the “well spouse”, again, what things are you doing to take care of yourself? What things are you doing to “put your oxygen mask on first” that will help you to help your partner? What activities, outside of caring for your partner, are you involved in that help to give you strength, and to give yourself a break?




I'm trying to become more solution-oriented, but right now my spouse and I are drowning in his emotional and communicative withdrawal, and the sex starved part.

He is the well one. He "takes care" of himself by masterbating alot. He is not taking care of himself enough. I encourage him every day to go out golfing with a friend, but his friends don't come through so I try to find other guys he can golf with. He mopes around in his bathrobe and the TV has become his passion. (And, as I said, HE is the "well" one!)

I take care of myself by keeping up on my medical appointments, trying to find ways to exercise without pain (yes swimming is extremely painful, even), I take my medicines - all eleven of them. I read self help books. I try to understand how I can help.

We really could use some more instruction other than find solutions, which we aren't very good at.

Re: The Marriage Breakthrough & chronic illness #511212
11/20/05 08:08 PM
11/20/05 08:08 PM
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Here's a whole bunch of articles at Smart Marriages in the archive about marriage and chronic illness:

http://archives.his.com/smartmarriages/search/swish.cgi?query=chronic+illness&submit=Search%21&metaname=swishdefault&sort=swishrank


Moderated by  Virginia 

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