Taking care of a sick loved one, whether an older family member or a child, can take its toll on a relationship. The caregiver feels pulled in many directions, trying to balance family, work, friends and caregiving. According to a survey by the National Alliance for Caregiving, caregivers can spend between 30 and 40 hours a week in this role and 53 percent of caregivers say it takes time away from their other loved ones. Caring for a relative often brings couples closer together, but in some cases it may drive them apart.
It’s important to nurture your relationships every day, but even more so in the time of high stress. Just a couple simple ideas:
- Plan a Date
When you’re busy, you tend to drop any “you time” from your schedule. Don’t. If possible, find someone who can sit with your family member so you can get out together. A date doesn’t have to be fancy, off-site or lengthy. Take a walk. Cook dinner together after your care recipient is in bed. Play a game. Go out for ice cream.
- Use Technology
Hole up in your room with the iPad and have a Breaking Bad or Homeland marathon together. Send tweets, Facebook messages or texts to your partner throughout the week. A simple, “You’re cute and I love you” out of the blue will make your sweetheart’s day.
- Say Thank You
More often than not, your partner is picking up the slack around the house while you take care of your loved one. Maybe he gets the kids up in the morning or takes them out on the weekends. Or, maybe she takes over more of the household chores. Don’t forget to say thank you; it goes a long way.
Your Tips on a Healthy Marriage
What helpful suggestions do you have about keeping a marriage healthy? Do you surprise your loved one with occasional flowers or tickets to a movie? Leave little notes about how much you love them? Our readers want to know your advice on marriage and caregiving. Share your comments in the section below.