When a cancer specialist tells you that you have the disease and you speak with a religious leader, you will often hear them say, “God will not give you a challenge you cannot overcome” or “I will pray for your early recovery.”
The former denotes that you are an active person, while the latter is a confirmation you only need prayers to complement the treatment you are getting. Both sentences, of course, have a way of making you feel better once you listen to them. It is as if cancer will not hurt you as much as it should since the big man in heaven will ease your pain.
Despite that, those words may be somewhat forgotten once the reality of living with an incurable illness and taking care of a cancer patient sets in fast. That much at least is correct from husbands and wives out there whose marriage suddenly had the disease as its main focal point.
Below are the other effects of a cancer diagnosis on married people.
- There Is Work 24/7For The Healthy Spouse
When the sick person starts receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or pills, the medication will expectedly weaken him or her for some time. The better half, therefore, has to cover his or her share of household chores and stay as the patient’s #1 caregiver.
- You Deal With Too Much Stress
According to Sonja Seglin, LCPC, “Stress can seem omnipresent. Between working, socializing and taking care of the home, it sometimes seems we don’t have a minute to ourselves, let alone enough time to really take care of our bodies and minds.” Knowing that you or your significant other has cancer can bring plenty of stress to your marriage. In case you do not possess top-quality medical insurance, you may need to pay for several treatments out of your pocket. The side effects of the drugs or therapy can be stressful to handle for both of you as well.
- There Are Less Sexy Times
Having a low sex drive is common for cancer patients due to the prescriptions they have to maintain for a while. In times in which the medication causes you to lose weight or hair, the reason may be because you feel undesirable.
- You Often Test The Waters
“Couples’ expectations about what marriage should be like are completely off from the reality of what marriage is actually like” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC says. The fact that you decided to plunge into marriage beforehand entails that you are very comfortable with each other. However, getting diagnosed with the illness may make the healthy spouse mindful of his or her questions and actions, for fear of upsetting their ill better half.
- The Risk Of Divorce Is Real
The news may also be a preamble to divorce. In reality, some men and women are not ready to fulfill their promise of being with the significant other in both sickness and health. Hence, that folks might bail out of the marriage early and leave the patient in the care of an immediate family. “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” Perhaps Lillian Harris LCPC-C was right when she said that.
A cancer diagnosis may be challenging to accept and manage, but the odds are more in your favor if you got it after getting married. You will not be alone; you have someone to look after your needs. For sure, there can be adverse effects on you and your spouse later, yet they will not last as long as you are in a marriage that’s full of love and respect.