Couples Facing Life-threatening & Chronic Illness
If you are a newly-married or re-married couple, or a couple who has been together
for decades, you know that every part of your life is being affected by this illness on a daily basis.
The diagnosis of a Life-threatening or Chronic illness is always a shock. No one is ever prepared.
Are you facing…
- Chronic Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hashimoto’s Disease
- or another illness
… that affects both of you and your relationship every day?
Even if you haven’t been feeling well or you have been undergoing tests, when your ears first hear those words from a doctor, you are shocked.
And often, in your shock and disbelief you kick into hyperdrive and focus on what to DO next.
Figuring out what might be next is very stressful
And so off you go, into the complex, often dysfunctional world of doctors, labs, meds and sometimes hospitals; trying to figure out how to successfully navigate that perverse labyrinth that, all too often, throws up one roadblock after the other and defies reason and logic.
You and your partner are probably reacting to the same crisis in very different ways. You most likely have different experiences of the same circumstance, and different needs and different priorities.
And, if all that isn’t enough, very often your needs and priorities are competing with those of your partner’s.
As you move along the uncertain path of medical treatments, and the often stressful, confusing time post treatment, the tiny or not-so-tiny upsets, offenses, affronts, and hurts that have been building up between you for weeks or months have gone unnoticed and unattended.
Life-threatening and chronic illness are tremendous stressors on the longest and happiest marriages; and negatively impact couples who are close, have effective ways to communicate and solve problems, and who share the same values around marriage, family, honesty, work and parenting.
Are you sure you’d rather do it yourself
Have you ever had a moment when you thought how wonderful it could be to have someone to guide you along the way through the maelstrom of life-threatening and chronic illness?
Sports teams and athletes have coaches. Opera singers and actors have coaches. What if there is a coach for couples facing life-threatening and chronic illness?
How valuable might that be for you, your partner and your relationship?
Couples coaching is not about your illness
The coaching we do together is not directly related to the illness one partner is living with.
The diagnosis, traditional medical plan, and any alternative medical resources you may be taking advantage of are just one piece of the puzzle, or one leg of a three-legged stool.
You both already understand that it takes time and energy to manage this aspect of your life.
My approach to working with you is like the three-legged stool
My approach to working with couples facing life-threatening and chronic illness is best understood by thinking about a three-legged stool.
Leg #1: This leg represents everything related to the medical diagnosis; your traditional medical plan, and any alternative medical resources you may be taking advantage of; and all the time and energy required from BOTH partners to manage everything related to this leg of the stool.
Leg #2: This leg represents each of you as individuals. Living with life-threatening and chronic illness can often feel like life has been put on hold. There are ways to be present for yourself and your partner that will serve both of you, and your Couples Work will show you how.
Leg #3: This leg represents you as a couple. Fear, denial, exhaustion and the emotional rollercoaster of living with and loving a partner living with life-threatening and chronic illness can drive partners apart. Your Couples Work will guide you to repair and strengthen your connection.
Common experiences when you are in survival mode
It is very common for both of you to have trouble conceptualizing or talking about your fears and anxieties; and your feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.
You are both yanked out of your life and catapulted into survival mode.
Then, most people stay in survival mode. Some can dig down deep and find coping mechanisms to deal with what’s next, and what’s next after that.
Some people can’t find “good enough” coping mechanisms, and fall into feelings of denial, numbness or checking out through “feel-better” behaviors.
It is completely normal for you to…
- Have a single focus on the diagnosis and medical plan and little or no focus on your marriage.
- Be experiencing shock, numbness and disbelief.
- Be grieving.
- Not be aware, yet how this illness impacts affects and influences you and your relationship on a daily basis.
- Be afraid that life as you knew it is over. And it might be.
- Believe that your hopes and dreams, your vision and goals for the future are unachievable now. And they may be.
Staying in survival mode for a long time is not a good plan
In the beginning, couples, very understandably, have a single focus: Figure out exactly what is going on and get on the road to healing and restoring health and well-being.
Except, in the world of life-threatening and chronic illness it is almost never that easy or straightforward. And while you are on the windy road averting pitfalls and precipices, your life and love-life as you knew it is shifting.
In addition to all the time, energy and focus on fighting this new enemy, your finances, career, family relationships and friendships become more and more stressed.
The fallout from living with life-threatening and chronic illness can be overwhelming. While initially, your fear serves as the engine that drives your focus on figuring what to do next, the threat to the loving relationship you enjoyed pre-diagnosis is very real and cannot go unnoticed and unattended any longer.
A word about post treatment
The time post treatment can be just as risky for your marriage as post diagnosis.
If you don’t shift from your single focus on the illness, then post treatment, your marriage can still be a casualty.
Significant benefits of coaching
Marriage coaching can guide you to move forward into stronger and closer connection with each other, and return you to a rich, meaningful and loving, life and love-life!
- Get out of the overwhelm and slow down the rollercoaster of emotions.
- Positively impact the (stress) triggers that are playing havoc in your life and love-life.
- Help you clarify your fears, concerns, worries and all kinds of challenges; and share them with each other.
- Ensure that you can learn how to have a life and love-life as the medical treatment unfolds and post treatment.
- Restore the closeness.
- Inspire your curiosity about living well; and engaging in co-creating your new normal with deliberate intention and attention.
- Guide you to find your unique way to LIVE an extraordinary life together, no matter what health challenges you are facing.
We can work together in two different ways
Marriage coaching is a vigorous change process that works; and I have designed two, very different ways that we can work together:
7-Week, Multimedia, Online Course
3-Day Destination Marriage Retreat
The 7-Week, Multimedia, Online Course is a self-study, self-paced course that includes, videos, PDF worksheets that will support and promote personal growth experiences, live calls with me and other participants, a private community so you may connect with other couples facing life-threatening and chronic illness, and a Resource Library containing TEDx Talks, books, apps and more. Learn more.
During the 3-Day Destination Couples Retreat, you and your partner will work me in person, for 3-days. Learn more.
Let’s talk about your interest in the 7-Week, Multimedia, Online Course or the 3-Day Destination Marriage Retreat and explore which option might work best for you
If you are looking for BIG shifts and vastly different results than you have ever had with other kinds of marriage support, then you are in the right place!
Vastly different and undeniably better results are achieved when….
1. You understand what YOU want for yourself, from your partner and with each other in your marriage;
2. You focus on exactly what YOU need to be your BEST Self in the presence of your partner.
Your relationship success doesn’t have anything to do with what I think you should do.
Here’s your first step
Please complete and submit my Contact form, then watch your Inbox for an email from me in a day or two with a link to my Personal Online Calendar so I can know a few of the basics about you and your partner, and we can make the best use of our time together during our first phone conversation.
Then watch your Inbox for an email from me in a day or two with a link to my Personal Online Calendar so you can schedule your Couples Facing Illness Conversation with me soon.
If you do not hear back from me in a few days, first check your junk mail folder and then email me and make sure I received your Contact Form.
Please know that these Marriage Coaching Programs are educational and not therapy. All information gathered during the intake and registration process is strictly confidential. Every effort has been made to accurately represent the intention and quality of these Programs and the content on this web site. Nothing in the content of this web site is intended to be interpreted as promises, guarantees or warranties. Please understand that you create your own unique results based on your effort, your commitment to your personal growth, your life experience, vision, values, and your own resources. Your results are achieved by the choices you make.