Monday, 7 July 2008

Romancing Your Husband Even When Sick

"Hot & bothered" has long referred to romance & those sparks of chemistry between you & the one you love, but if you have a chronic illness, romance may be the last thing on your mind. Chronic illness can quickly redefine "hot" to mean the symptoms of a thyroid condition, night sweats, or a hot heating pad. "Bothered" is something you feel every night when you are annoyed you can't sleep. For example, achy joints, a dog who snores from his resting place on your pillow, and a spouse that can sleep through anything. Romantic evenings may be the last thing on your mind in your home! Most people don't realize that nearly 1 in 2 people live with a chronic illness in the U.S.A. And when it comes to marriages, chronic illness and mental illness, does not have a good impact! More than 75% of these marriages end in divorce. It takes more than Valentine's Day romance a few days a year to keep a marriage alive and romantic. So, how do you create that romantic environment when you are in physical pain? I've got some creative romantic ideas to get some of that spark back! Put forth some effort. No more excuses. "I'm so exhausted, I don't feel that great. My body feels like it was run over by a truck." I've said them all. But guess what? If you have an illness you'll probably always be tired in a way normal people aren't tired. So put on some music and relax. The distraction of romance can make you forget about a great deal of the pain! Make romance a priority. That means not spending the whole Saturday cleaning your house and then being exhausted. Rest up, even if it's just so you can have a conversation without falling asleep. Do whatever it takes to be enthusiastic for your romantic evening. If you go out for a nice dinner, don't tell him over the menu, "I actually feel pretty sick, so I don't know what to eat. I really am going out just as a favor for you." (That won't turn your loved one on in the least!) Even if your romance is just dinner out, enjoy talking about some dreams you still have or what your hopes are for the future. Avoid talking about your illness or how it could change them all at the drop of a hat. You don't have to write romantic love poems. Just put together a mini-album of your favorite photos and include notes about your memories and how much he means to you. Surely your spouse does some things for you without complaint. Does he bring home your favorite ice cream? Throw in a load of laundry? Never expect you to iron or serve a five course meal? Write down all of the things you notice he does that you don't usually thank him for and give it to him as a special appreciation note. Women, get out of the grandma section of underwear and buy something red, black or anything that doesn't have waist bands wider than an inch. Stop being so self-conscious. Learn to text message with your phone and send him a messge that says something out of character for you. Be outrageously romantic, just make sure you send it to the right person in your phone book! Design some simple home-made coupons for something he would enjoy but typically wouldn't do because he feel he needs to take care of you or just spend time with you. For example, "Good for 5 guilt-free hours with your friends watching baseball." Don't even make him feel badly for doing things you can't do like taking a hike or going for a roller coaster ride. Perfect marriages will never exist, but a even a marriage that has an illness can be a huge blessing and not just a state of survival. Romance comes in many ways. I remember loving my husband more than ever the night I couldn't move because of a rheumatoid arthritis flare. I "slept" sitting on the couch and he spent the night on the floor beside the couch to comfort me every time I screamed from the pain. Love comes in many forms. One of the books I've bought all the couples in my life is "Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, the Respect He Desperately Needs" by Emerson Eggerichs. Men often feel loved when they are respected, women want to feel loved. Usually we are offering our spouse what we want, not what they need. Being aware of all of the little things we do each day that give one another love and respect, add up to romance when you least expect it.

Get a free download of 200 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend from "Beyond Casseroles" by Lisa Copen when you subscribe to HopeNotes invisible illness ezine at http://www.restministries.org/ . Lisa is the coordinator Rest Ministries' many websites, is an author and co-ordinator of Invisible Illness Awareness network. View all articles by Lisa Copen Syndicate Lisa Copen Articles


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