Coping with an illness in your marriage

A serious illness puts incredible stress on even the strongest relationship. This week’s guest, David Garver LMFT, and host Lee Rosen discuss the emotional and psychological impact of an illness on both the well and the ill spouse, and touch on how these events can affect previous issues in the relationship, as well as how both spouses can address their newfound emotions of guilt, anger, and frustration.

David Garver specializes in couples therapy with University Psychological Associates in Charlotte, NC. He also works with adolescents and adults with trauma histories, adjustment/transitions, and family issues and focuses on helping adolescents gain greater self-esteem and assertiveness so that they may lead more satisfying, fulfilling lives. David can be reached at (704) 547-1483 or by visiting

You can access a transcript of this show here

Click below to play the show.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri Corcoran April 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

I have just read Lee Rosen’s interview with David Garver which was re-published in an e-newsletter to members of the Well Spouse Association. I am so glad that attention is being paid to the plight of spousal caregivers. Unlike other family caregivers, spousal caregivers suffer great loss in the marriage relationship.
One thing Dr. Garver did not address is the challenge of the ill spouse having dementia. In this case, it is not possible for the couple to deal with the illness together. I became a well spouse almost as soon as I married my husband 10 years ago. He is afflicted with Fragile X Tremor Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS), a genetic neurodegenerative illness which has atrophied his brain and horribly disabled him mentally and physically. I have basically “done” this marriage alone, but am glad to be able to say I found God along the way, and miraculously our marriage hit the 10-year mark last week with my husband and I still loving each other, even though he barely speaks and cannot do much of anything.
My question from the beginning was “how do you have a marriage when your husband has dementia?”, but by the grace of God, Well Spouse Assn., and good Christian counseling, I have found some answers. Nothing will ever replace my husband’s brilliant mind, but God has given me a more healthy and hopeful perspective.
If only the healthy couples out there would realize how lucky they are, and stop sweating the petty stuff!!!!!

M February 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm

My spouse is on two kidney transplant lists in two different hospitals and states, and we did not receive any information for the caregivers at all. The person in the radio show says that there are a lot of places that offer help, but maybe they offer it to people with other illnesses.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: