A Chronic Illness in Marriage

Marriage is a complex form of relationship. Sometimes it rains on this relationship, and for some it can be like a devastating downpour. For example; It could be a heart attack, a cancer diagnosis, or the need for major surgery, and it could completely shake up the couple’s relationship. A chronic illness often causes great confusion in the family, between the spouses, it can terrify the family, it can change the homeostatic balance of the family. Such a crisis makes the family system tend to adapt to a new standstill. The family may not know what to do, how to follow a path, how to treat each other, how to approach. Couples who are faced with a health crisis even though they are in great pain, may not be able to express their feelings and emotions, taking into account that they are sick or that their spouse is sick. He or she may blame himself for causing his spouse this pain because he is ill, or the other healthy spouse may feel angry that he does not take good care of his sick spouse and does not take care of their health. At this point, family counseling helps the family to keep their emotions under control and supports the crisis by aiming at the continuation of rational decision making. Especially at the time of the diagnosis, the healthy spouse guides the sick spouse to keep their worries and fears under control and to react appropriately to the process. The family is a systematic structure, the disease state that has just entered this system will affect the life cycle of the family. It will hinder the functionality of the family. For example; Problems will arise regarding issues such as caring for a child, taking care of his studies, disruption of household chores if the mother is sick, or economic problems in case of the father’s illness. Here, a healthy spouse may feel helplessness, such as inability to make decisions, to evaluate events. Family counseling supports the family to reorganize their emotional balance, and supports the family in regaining the deteriorated functionality of the system as much as possible.

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