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7 Ways to Strengthen A Relationship Despite Chronic Illness

Strengthen A Relationship Despite Chronic Illness

Disclaimer: Elise Ho, aka “Dr. Ho” is a Holistic Health & Life Coach. Dr. Ho is NOT a medical doctor, licensed therapist, lawyer, or a bevy of other things. Products or services that Dr. Ho believes in are the only ones that she recommends. Dr. Ho may receive compensation, product, or an affiliate commission on anything you see on this site. This is a personal Website solely reflecting Dr. Ho’s personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of any organization with which I may be affiliated.

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Strengthen A Relationship Despite Chronic Illness


Chronic illnesses of any kind can take their toll on a relationship. But there are many ways to get past them and strengthen a relationship despite chronic illness.

Here are some tips to get started.

Talk About Any Issues You are Having


Being open and honest and talking about your problems, stresses, and worries is the best way to form and maintain bonds. The worst thing you can do is shit yourself when your partner is sick. Some illnesses require that you provide care and support. And this can be stressful for both parties. Your partner might feel guilty about relying on you. And you might find it challenging to cope with extra demands. However, even the most loving people can find it hard to talk. Fortunately, you can see couple and family therapy counselors for guidance and advice.

Support Can Help Strengthen A Relationship Despite Chronic Illness 


The strain that a chronic illness places on a relationship can be overwhelming. One study by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that out of 2,701 marriages with a chronic illness, 6% ended in divorce. While the figure is low, it still indicates that there is extra pressure. The same report also finds that the male partner usually leaves a sick woman. While you have the right to leave a relationship, you will find a more appropriate outcome by supporting each other. Care, Respect, and understanding are critical in the worst times.

Ask About the Best Needs for Your Partner


When someone is chronically ill, sometimes significant changes need to be made. Your home might need adopting, dietary plans might have to change, or your partner might have to sleep in a separate bed. So it’s essential to try and meet these changing needs as best you can to accommodate an ill partner. Of course, your needs are no less important. But meeting the requirements of a sick loved one as soon as you can mean the difference between comfort and suffering. As a caring partner, you don’t want their condition to be made any worse.

Stay Open and Respectful of Their Needs


As your partner’s needs change, it can severely impact the entire household. For instance, a spare room might be needed for bed rest. Or it might be necessary to stay quiet when your partner is in a bad way. So the entire home must respect the needs of your partner:

  • Provide care, comfort, and support when it’s needed.
  • Don’t take it personally when your partner becomes irritated when in pain.
  • Listen to any concerns they may have, such as dying or a worsening condition.
  • Try not to display frustration when your life is disrupted by caring for someone.
  • Never make a sick loved one feel guilty or gaslight them in any way.

When your partner is sick, they will have good and bad days. And so will you. This happens in all relationships. But the pressure of an illness can make it worse. So both partners must work together and stay respectful of each other to make it through the worst times with dignity.

Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss Sex


Sexual relationships are at the core of most marriages and partnerships. Especially when you are younger. Sex is important to relationships, and then it isn’t uncommon for a partnership to strain when one partner doesn’t want sex as much as the other. But an illness can cause someone to lose their libido and become depressed about their image or sexuality. But there is far more to a loving and caring relationship than sex. Aside from sex, there is intimacy. And intimacy doesn’t mean just sex. Intimacy is spending time together openly and lovingly.

Be Strong to Strengthen A Relationships Affected By Chronic Illness


When you are in a loving relationship, strength and love are what bind you. So, you will be upset by seeing your partner suffer. But staying strong is essential for helping them through some of the worst times. You need the strength of character, compassion, and the strength to stay motivated to get extra work done. For example, when your partner is ill, it might fall upon you to do what they usually do. Such as preparing the kids for school, doing house chores, and cooking meals. So also don’t be afraid to ask for help from the family from time to time.

Try to Learn About Your Partner’s Illness


There are many chronic illnesses out there. Diabetes, epilepsy, and heart disease are common examples. Any of these requires ongoing care, lifelong medication, and treatment and poses a severe hazard to the patient’s health. However, although there are no cures, plenty of information is available. Doctors and nurses are a great source of information on your partner’s chronic illness. As are official medical websites such as WebMD. Therefore, you can greatly help your partner by learning about their condition, so you know what to do when needed.



It’s vital to strengthen relationships with an ill partner. Of course, always being open and honest is a great help. But you can also help by learning everything you can about a condition.


Please use the comment section below to share your tips, questions, and/or thoughts about this post.

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Naturally Yours,
Elise Ho
Ph.D., D.N. Psych.
Behavioral & Mental Health Specialist

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About The Author

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho is a Holistic Health & Life Coach with a special interest in emotional health, life alignment, and energy flow.

Elise will partner with you to align your mindset, your energy, your home and your career so that you can live your life's desire with freedom and love.

Elise offers 30 years of experience and multiple certifications and degrees including a Ph.D. in Natural Health and a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Psychology.