On your wedding day, you and your spouse vowed to be there for each other through sickness and in health. While you meant every word you said as you gazed into your partner’s eyes, you never dreamed that one of you would end up with a disability. Now, you can’t help but worry every time you notice the strain that this new life change brings to your relationship. Although it’s natural to be concerned about your marriage’s future, you can preserve your relationship by using these strategies as an opportunity to grow even stronger together.
Understand the Common Pitfalls For Couples Faced With a Disability
Long-term relationships always involve a few challenges along the way.
Yet, couples with a disability face a few different ones that can put a marriage in jeopardy.
Your first step is to understand the common issues that might arise so that you can already have a plan in place to address them.
For example, you may experience feelings of guilt for not being able to do the same things you used to do to contribute to your marriage.
Alternatively, you may worry that your partner will stray if they no longer see you the same way.
These types of feelings are natural, and you can expect them to arise from time to time.
Be prepared for these moments by working with a professional therapist that can help you and your spouse learn to cope with the changes in your roles and emotional responses.
Identify Strategies to Increase Independence and Bonding
For many couples, one of the biggest worries about their relationship is trying to maintain a healthy physical relationship while trying to navigate the challenges that come with a disability.
However, passionate sex often begins long before a couple hits the bedroom.
Working to find ways to promote greater independence for the person with the disability helps to reduce stress levels in the home so that everyone is in the mood to enjoy each other’s company.
Whether you need to work with a physical therapist to gain more mobility or you need to find accommodations to help you get dressed each day, exploring new ways to do things independently keeps you both from feeling as though your spouse is your caretaker.
Find Ways to Keep the Spark Alive
In addition to finding ways to minimize your partner’s stress, you can also do little things each day that help to keep the romance in your marriage.
If you struggle with changes in your body image after becoming disabled, try experimenting with new ways to make yourself feel sexy to your partner.
For instance, colognes and perfumes that contain pheromones help to attract members of the opposite sex without being overly obvious.
Try wearing a new scent on a day that you both could use some bonding, and greet your partner with a kiss.
Making a little extra effort goes a long way toward preserving one of the most special parts of your relationship.
Break Up the Monotony
Over time, even the best long-term relationships fall into patterns, and having a disability makes it even more likely that you could fall into a rut.
After all, dealing with new events in your schedule such as doing therapeutic exercises puts a damper on spontaneity.
You can counteract this problem by making a plan to do something new at least once a week.
Go ahead and try that new restaurant down the street or try to identify the constellations in the sky on a clear night.
Doing new things together reinforces your bond.
Be Willing to Reach Out For Help
Living with a new disability is like moving into uncharted territory every day.
In fact, it often seems as though life throws a new wrench in your plans just when you thought that everything was going better.
Watch yours for signs that you and your partner are struggling emotionally.
For instance, you might begin to snap at each other more often, or you may notice that one of you stops doing those sweet gestures that always made the other person smile.
When this happens, remember that it is easier to fix your marriage when the issues are just beginning to arise.
Whether you need to arrange for help around the house to give your spouse a break or you both need to vent to a neutral party, be willing to find the appropriate professional care that gets you marriage back on track.
When thinking about your wedding day still brings a smile, you know that you and your partner have what it takes to continue your marriage even with your disability.
While it does take time and patience, working together gives you an opportunity to gain new insights about each other.
From dabbing on colognes and perfumes or an evening out or talking to a therapist, you have the tools you need to ensure that your marriage succeeds.