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Marriage & Cancer: Ways to Maintain Your Relationship After Diagnosis

“For better or for worse” is a monumental promise and precious commitment. When “for worse” sounds like a doctor’s “ I’m sorry, it’s cancer,” your expectations, dreams, and connection are shaken.

The hard work of marriage just got exponentially harder.

You could lose each other in the battle, if you’re not careful. You could turn on each other when the way gets too rough.

Unless you have a plan.

Stephanie Madsen, four-time cancer survivor and motivational speaker, offers some advice. Her relationship survival plan looks like this:

1. Commit.

Repeatedly choose to stick by each other. Even when things get complicated, uncomfortable, and sadder than you’ve ever known. Make “no matter what” your mantra.

2. Communicate.

It may be easier to contemplate, grieve, and suffer in silence. But don’t stay in that place too long. Sharing your vulnerabilities will draw you closer and deepen your connection

3. Prioritize.

Practically, cancer throws your life into chaos. Decide what’s most important to you and your partner. Keep your health and marriage at the top of the priority list.

4. Be Flexible.

Cancer is teaching you that things change. Release some old ideas about your dreams or future. Stay flexible; you may see new goals and desires begin to take shape.

5. Remain Teammates.

Anger will happen. Be careful with your spouse. Direct your anger at cancer, don’t beat each other up with words or a lack of empathy. You need each other.

6. Pursue Each Other.

Make time to make your spouse feel special. Really listen to each other. Find ways to creatively love each other.

7. Be Grateful.

Keep your hearts soft and open with gratitude. Thanksgiving will help your perspective and keep you strong.

8. Maintain Intimacy.

Stephanie Madsen notes, “When biology is thrown off, creativity is born.” Cancer often affects sexual function. Creatively adapt. Gently discover ways to stay connected.

9. Remember Your Vows.

You need to hold fast to those promises now. In sickness and in health. For better or for worse. You gave your word. You’re in this together.

Read the full article here: Marriage and Cancer: 10 Ways to Maintain Your Relationship After a Diagnosis

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