“Through sickness and in health.” That’s the vow, isn’t it? Millions of couples around the world each year exchange that very vow, but I don’t think they really put thought into what it means. Maybe they don’t think it will ever really come up—the whole sickness thing—or they believe that if sickness does strike their relationship, it will pass quickly. OR, each might think, “This vow just ensures my partner will be a nurse to me” rather than thinking about the fact that they might be the one in the caretaker position.
Taking care of a sick partner—whether it’s a short illness or a chronic one—is a massive responsibility. Some couples go into a relationship knowing that one partner lives with a chronic illness, and prepared for what that life will look like. Others only discover later in the relationship that one person will deal with a chronic illness for life. Even if you or your partner doesn’t have a chronic illness that plagues you every day, you may have a condition that acts up sometimes, and when it does, it’s a major handicap. No matter how often or how strongly illness strikes your relationship, it’s important that you are the best caretakers to each other. That’s the deal.
Your partner is supposed to be your new family, and, just like your parents cared for you so dearly when you were young and sick, your partner should do the same for you when your health isn’t great. How a partner cares for you when you’re ill says a lot about what kind of person he is, and what kind of partner he is. And on that note, if you’re newly dating someone who doesn’t take great care of you, that’s a huge red flag. How will he be later in life, when things get really rough? Here is how your partner should care for you when you’re sick.
You shouldn’t feel like a burden
Your partner should never make you feel like a burden when you are sick. If you call to him from the other room, needing something when you’re in bed, he should be happy to help. He shouldn’t ignore you, hoping you let it go. He shouldn’t groan or roll his eyes or ask if you really need it. He should make you feel that he’s happy to be there for you.