Friday, February 20, 2009

When Your Wife is Ill and Romance Ain't Happening

When your wife is chronically ill it can be hard for her to think "romance." She may be in a great deal of physical pain or also suffer from side effects of the illness or medications, such as weight gain or loss, a "puffy prednisone," or even feeling sick to her stomach. She may also be dealing with the loss of her career and dealing with grief.

Be assured that you are not alone. Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA live with a chronic illness and so many marriages are impacted. Unfortunately, nearly seventy-five percent of them end in divorce when an illness is that "third party" in the marriage.

Is it possible for you to make a difference and let her know you want to romance her? Of course! With a few simple ideas, you can get the spark back into your marriage.

Go ahead and buy her that box of chocolate, but if she is watching her weight, don't ruin her diet. Instead find some Russell Stover's sugar free chocolate at your local Target or even the pharmacy. Chocolate, along with coconut, pecans, and many more, all contain phenyl ethylamine, a chemical that produces the feeling of "being in love." Good place to start, don't you think?

Be affectionate by simply reaching for her hand. Yes, I know you're hoping for more than holding hands, but if she's in physical pain it's going to take some real romance on your part to distract her from pain and get her refocused on you. Rub her back (gently!), cuddle, snuggle and don't pressure her for more. Pretty soon she'll be reaching out to you.

Pour out your heart about how much you admire the strength she shows in the darkest moments. Let her know you know that living with illness is difficult and that you are blessed to be married to someone with so much character and joy. Remind her that you love her and are in it "in sickness and in health."

Pamper her by purchasing her something that she wouldn't splurge on for herself. Let her know you are listening to her by purchasing a CD that she says has one of her favorite news songs on it. Buy her a down comforter for a cozier bed. Brainstorm about item that she could enjoy when she isn't feeling well.

Schedule a retreat for her at home. Find care for the kids, bring home dinner, and don't say anything when you come home at 6 p.m. and she's still in her pajamas.

Write little notes that she can find any time. And don't forget to say thanks too! For example, if she does laundry, put a note in your own sock drawer to find when she puts them away that says, "I know laundry isn't easy for you to do. Every time I find clean socks here I am reminded how much you love me and how blessed I am."

Being romantic at home isn't hard. Purchase a fondue pot and tell her that you will bring home something to dip every Wednesday night so you two can sit and have a conversation over candlelight (and cheese, chocolate, marshmallow, etc.)

Are you having troubles starting up some romantic conversations? Buy a book about conversation starters or fill a jar with topics. Do a search online for "romantic conversation starters."

Don't forget to make a few changes in the bedroom to spark some romance. As silly as it sounds, candles, roses, and a great play list on your ipod tells her that you cared enough to set the mood for her.

It's no surprise that women are complicated beings and rarely can you read her mind to know exactly what she needs and when she needs it. So be sure to just ask her outright. "What is on your mind most these days? How can I help you around the house more? What can I do to communicate just how much I love you?"

The good news is that perfection is not a requirement. Just by making the effort to increase the romance in the relationship will score you some big points. And she may not let you even have a chance to finish reading that book on romancing your wife, because if she sees you reading it, your willingness to read it may be all the romance she needs. One last piece of advice, doing the dishes or the laundry really can be the best way to your wife's heart. This is all the answer, How to love my wife.

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