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75% of marriages of those with
chronic illness end in divorce.

They don't have to. See the movie Fireproof!
It can change your marriage... and your life!

Scroll down for our regular spousal support section.


Support for Men and Women Who Have a Chronically Ill Spouse


Is your wife chronically ill?

Does your husband live with a chronic disease?

Whether your spouse lives with heart disease, fibromyalgia, chronic pain from an accident or migraines, coping with an ill spouse can easily define your marriage if you let it.

Sadly, for about 75% of marriages, illness destroys it*, ending in divorce. And we have many people at the Rest Ministries web site who have a experienced the pain when their loved one said, "I am leaving my critically ill spouse." The heartbreak is unimaginable. But you can joyfully stay in a marriage with a critically ill spouse.

Interesting Statistics
Overheard at Women's Group
Overheard at Men's Group
Resources to Encourage
Spouse/Caregiver Books
Article: In Sickness and In Health

In fact, the marriage may be better than ever because of your committment and love. Marriage, divoce and chronic illness don't always have to go together! We've put together some of the best marriage resources we could find and we'd love to hear from you about more that exist, specifically for the chronically ill.

Join one of our groups today! Whether your wife is sick or your husband is chronically ill, you are more than welcome! And just a reminder... we are a Christian group; anyone is welcome but please be respectful.

For Women: "Husbands with Illness"
For Men: "Wife with Illness"

Read an article below about
"In Sickness & In Health"

Are you a spouse who is a caregiver?
Most say,"I don't feel like I am caregiving formy spouse..." but in some ways you are.

When your spouse is depressed

The book "One True Vow"
features the "marriage story" of Rest Ministries director,
Lisa Copen and
her husband, Joel.

Try to hang in there!

One study showed that a decade after divorce, women reported
37% more physical illness than women who didn't get divorced.
* USA Today

In Fireproof, Caleb Holt tells his father that he is about to get a divorce. Caleb's dad asks him to wait 40 days before moving forward. Dad's challenge: work a day-at-a-time through a handwritten book he calls The Love Dare. Unconditional love is eagerly promised at weddings, but rarely practiced in real life. As a result, romantic hopes are often replaced with disappointment in the home, but it doesn't have to stay that way.

This book, The Love Dare, is a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love. Whether your marriage is hanging by a thread or healthy and strong, The Love Dare is a journey you need to take.

Central to the movie's plot, The Love Dare, now available, is hands-on study that both men and women can integrate into their marriages.



Interesting Statistics About Marriage and Illess

Does the Internet Help You?

58% of those who found the internet to be crucial or important during a loved one’s recent health crisis say the single most important source of information was something they found online.
Pew Internet and American Life

There was a 54% increases in the number of adults who said the internet played a major role as they helped another person cope with a major illness from January 2002 to March 2005.
* Major Moments Survey, Pew Internet and American Life


Do you give your spouse health advice?

In a recent study only 10% of respondents with illness wanted health advice from their spouse. Women were twice as likely as men to give health advice. But... men have an easier time offering health advice to their spouse (28 percent) than women (19 percent). 14% of the participants had a spouse with a chronic illness.
Overheard from women Overheard from men

"I love my husband. I am a Christian and intend to keep the vow I made. But wow, this isn't what I would have chosen for myself. It's taking a toll on me. But I probably have it much easier than a lot of other people. And I know my husband loves me. There are times he can be incredibly sweet. And times he apologizes for how difficult this is for me. And I DO know he's better off married to me than he'd have been remaining alone. I try to pray about it, to let the Lord's grace be sufficient for me. Anyway, thanks for listening..."

I am going nuts. My wife is driving me crazy. She can`t sleep without the tv on. It`s 60 degrees in our room and she can`t sleep without the fan on because she`s hot.


(response) I know what you're going thru. God has chosen us to serve our wives who are suffering. Commit it to the Lord, he will give you what you need!

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"My Husband Has an Illness"
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Articles Resources to Encourage

When your spouse is
depressed from chronic pain

  1. Listen, don't give advice unless asked for
  2. Lighten up your home; praise music, sunshine, moments of joy with the kids, will all help your spouse see what there is to appreciate
  3. Encourage counseling--for him or her before as a couple. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
  4. Encourage your spouse to share what his or her dreams are and then find ways to make them happen, even if they must be adapted.
  5. Understand that you can't change your spouse and it's impossible to perk him or her up. Pray this will pass.


Books of Interest for Spouses Who Are Caregivers
Article: In Sickness and In Health

When the husband is the partner in the marriage with the illness, his usual role as fully involved husband, father, and provider is disrupted. The division of responsibilities that the husband and wife are accustomed to becomes unbalanced, with more and more transferred to the healthy wife. The home is then restructured with the wife assuming her own responsibilities, the responsibilities of her sick husband, and the role of nurse too. Conflict can arise when the sick husband feels tension and frustration because he cannot function in every capacity that he once did.

When the wife is the ill partner she looks to the husband for emotional support and for him "to be there" for her. If he is unable to express emotion the ill wife may view him as insensitive or uncompassionate. Even though the wife needs her husband to be a strong emotional force, she still does not wish to become too dependent on him because it depletes her feeling of self-worth. Women are viewed as more emotional beings, and men are regarded as more rational, even in how they view illness

A distressing reaction to chronic illness common to both men and women is the feeling they are bringing less to the marital relationship than their healthy spouse. The ill spouse feels they are "holding back" the healthy spouse from being fulfilled. Feelings of insecurity arise along with shame and guilt. The ill spouse believes that their partner must be resentful of what their life has become due to illness. A vicious cycle develops with the feeling of inadequacy and the continual need to apologize. A good marriage consists of shared activities, shared responsibility, common goals, along with a healthy sexual relationship. Once one partner feels they are the reason for the disruption in the marriage, they feel deep anxiety. The ill spouse becomes encumbered with self-doubt and wonders why their spouse stays in the marriage.

Mature Love

The reactions to chronic illness which can resolve difficulties come from mature love. Mature love means:

1-- feeling free to ask for emotional support and getting it. Mutual support is intrinsic in the marriage commitment.

2-- talking openly as problems arise, rather than withholding resentment and avoiding conflict. Realize anger is a natural response to the limitations illness imposes on a marriage and needs to be expressed.

3-- deciding how you can best achieve a physical intimacy which affirms your feelings of love for each other. This requires talking very openly about how to do this and putting away unrealistic expectations about sex.

4-- taking the strain off your relationship and allowing friends and family to provide extra support, or seeking professional help before illness puts the marriage in jeopardy.

5-- swapping roles and responsibilities as necessary. Find self-esteem in your own adaptability.

6-- realizing that chronic illness will certainly disrupt the course of the marriage periodically, and the commitment to each other
must be reaffirmed.

7-- realizing that possibly what holds the marriage together is guilt, gratitude, or pity. The damage therein must be repaired or an unhealthy marriage needs to be dissolved.

8-- chronic illness must be contemplative and mindful, kept in perspective that it is only one factor that complicates an intimate relationship.

REFERENCE: Living With Chronic Illness, by Cheri Register, Reprinted with permission todo



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