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Caring for your marriage, also

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s a good time to
consider strategies to prevent your partner from getting overlooked because of
your caregiving.

Caring for an aging relative definitely affects your ability
to nurture your significant other. A poll at caregiving.com revealed that 81%
of family caregivers say caregiving tested their marriage in ways they never
imagined.

In that light, we draw upon suggestions of family caregivers
and the research of noted couples counselor Dr. John Gottman to suggest ways to
maintain the health of your marriage as you care for the health of your aging
loved one.

Communication

  • Review
    family values and goals.

    Establish a sense of shared purpose. How does eldercare fit with your values?
    Having a shared vision makes it easier to accept inconveniences.
  • Discuss
    fears, concerns, and expectations.

    You and your partner may have strong memories and assumptions based on watching
    your parents care for—or not care for—your grandparents.
  • Show
    interest when your partner shows signs of stress.
    Demonstrate that his or her emotional and physical needs are
    also a priority.
  • Stay
    positive.
    Even when there
    are problems between you, notice and point out the good things.

Time together

  • Set aside
    time for your partner.

    Whether it’s a walk, a movie, a weekend away, make sure to have fun together.
    Consider date nights, just the two of you.
  • Make it
    quality time.
    Pay attention
    to your partner. Be “present” for your moments together. No talking
    about your caregiving!
  • Avoid
    discussion of marital problems.

    Separate your problem-solving time from time together spent nurturing your
    relationship.

This Valentine’s Day consider starting a tradition of
getting together weekly, just the two of you, for some light fun. Help
yourselves remember why you became a couple in the first place.

Is caring for your loved one affecting your marriage?
As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates speak from experience: Even though your parent was crucial to your past, you also need to nurture your relationship as it is your future. Give us a call at 301-593-5285. Let us help you find a balance.