doctor couldn't find anything wrong
with her, despite her complaints about
pain and extreme fatigue. He left the
room and her husband came back a few
Honey," she replied to her spouse,
as she carefully reached out for his
hand. But he didn't reach out to take
her outstretched hand; he just let it
sit there empty on the scratchy hospital
blanket. He looked at her with tired
eyes, full of frustration.
doctor said that there is nothing wrong,"
he said. "I think maybe you've
just been making all of this up the
was heartbroken and pulled her hand
back. He was her lifeline, the one thing
that was getting her through all of
this. He was the only person who she
trusted would always believe her, understand
and offer love and sympathy. And now
he thought she'd been deceptive, lying
about her pain
this scenario is a true story... and
all too familiar for many couples. Illness
can have a devastating effect on relationships,
especially when it is invisible, difficult
to diagnose, and hard to even understand.
So what's the answer if your spouse
doubts that you have an illness? While
there are no easy answers or tips that
will guarantee results, here are a few
ideas to make the journey easier.
Rather than praying as a last resort,
start praying first. Ask God to give
your spouse wisdom and discernment,
especially regarding your illness.
Pray that God will send people into
your spouse's life that can be a godly
influence, such as other spouses of
people with illness. Pray for a diagnosis
so that you can have the benefit of
the medical world on your side.
your spouse some time to see that
the illness is real. Don't expect
him/her to be convinced by what you
say. Let him/her see how you are over
a period of time.
yourself with supportive people who
do understand that you have
an illness and it's implications.
Join a support group or a women's
bible study. Ask for prayer for your
marriage. Let others encourage you
and stand by you when you need the
emotional support. See a pastor if
you need to talk to someone about
your marriage and the effect his or
her doubts are having on the relationship.
from trying to do more than you should
physically. Every time you do too
much you are sending signals that
you are able to do more, even
though only you will know how much
you will pay for it later in pain.
the research on your illness or symptoms
and continue to fight for a diagnosis.
If you already know what your illness
is, get as much information on it
as possible and keep well-informed.
your spouse to accompany you to a
support group meeting, a workshop
or conference on your illness. Explain
to him that you just want to find
out more information about this illness,
and that he might find it interesting.
spouse may find our caregiver column
interesting, which is featured in
each issue of HopeKeepers
Magazine. We also have a few
Clean out the reading materials
in the bathroom, and leave only
the magazine! You spouse may just
be bored enough to eventually read
it! :) Hey, even July 2004 featured
Casey Martin, the professional golfer.
It's worth a try.