Avoiding Resentment: Illness and Marriage

resentmentIllness can cause a lot of tension on a marriage if we don’t defuse those stressful moments quickly. Laura shares.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

I travel to Ohio to see my cardiologist twice yearly. It is a 600-mile round trip and I must rely on my husband to drive.

Traveling is challenging physically and emotionally. Physically I need to elevate my feet to avoid blood pressure drops. I experience headaches, nausea, pain, and other symptoms. I always dread one particular Ohio rest stop. I inevitably have to use the bathroom.

And if the air temperature is too cold my hands turn purple. The walk back to the car is a challenge, as I hold on to my husband with a death grip, my brain fogged, limbs getting heavier each step, praying I don’t pass out.

But worse than the physical perhaps is the emotional toll of the trip. We navigate–after 26 years of marriage–but these trips remind us clearly that chronic illness snuck into our marriage, grabbed hold and won’t let go. We had no choice in the matter.

After getting lost en route to the hospital for my latest appointment, we found ourselves in a traffic jam. Foggy and tired, I became crabby and said something that angered him.

After my appointment he was still upset and decided we would drive home; foregoing a hotel and a visit to a dear friend the following day. I was devastated. All I could do through my tears was pray, asking God to do the impossible–solve this problem. And after completing the prayers my husband said “let’s get a hotel tonight.”

Emotionally exhausted I asked for a room.

“God saved this room for you,” said the clerk. “I just turned away someone else.”

I know God stepped in that night and calmed our hearts. I am also aware that chronic illness strains a marriage and we must work to communicate so that it doesn’t destroy our bond. But with God on our team we have a fighting chance.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for answering my prayers that cold February night. Please guide others as they struggle with the challenges that chronic illness often puts on relationships. Amen.

About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband of 26 years and three kids. She travels to Toledo, Ohio to see a dysautonomia specialist. Dysautonomia is the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system which controls such things as blood pressure, breathing, temperature control and heart rate.

Do you turn to prayer when in stressful situations?

Marriages go through so many circumstances. Illness is one of the biggest, I believe. Here is a beautiful video with Casting Crowns singing “Broken Together.” Hoping you are blessed. -Lisa

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