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7 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Strong Despite a Chronic Illness

Don't let chronic illness weaken the bond between you and your partner.
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5. Strengthen Social Connections continued...

“It’s become increasingly difficult for us to go to other people’s homes because of her wheelchair,” Jonathan Mosher says. “I’ve carried Mimi over many thresholds in the 23 years she’s had MS,” he says.

If you're the caregiver, you should feel free to socialize alone without feeling guilty about it. Keeping your own identity is important, Kalb says.

Kalb also suggests you and your partner keep a running list of things that need to be done so when friends or relatives ask what they can do to help, you’re prepared.

6. Address Financial Strain

Money can be a strain for any couple, and chronic illness can be a huge financial burden. You may have lost income because the illness made it impossible to keep working. You have increased medical expenses and even remodeling fees if your home needs to be made wheelchair-accessible. And whichever one of you is the caregiver may not be able to leave a job you don't like because of problems with insurance coverage.

You and your partner may want to work with a financial planner who has expertise in handling chronic medical conditions. Kalb recommends contacting the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

You and your partner may also benefit by learning how to cut drug costs and expenses related to doctor visits.

7. Prize Each Other

“My illness has made the marriage stronger in some ways," Marybeth says of her and Chris's relationship. "We’re a team. It’s been tough, but we try to keep the important things in mind, such as our two kids."

“We’re together all the time,” Jonathan Mosher says. “We’ve kind of morphed into one being.”

His wife Mimi says, “Do something kind for your spouse every day."

And that's good advice for any couple.

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Reviewed on November 22, 2012

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