Become a Fan
The words "hot and bothered" may spark images of twisted sheets and breathlessly reaching out to the one you love for most people. But if you have a chronic illness, "hot" likely refers to a thyroid condition, night sweats, or a heating pad on high.
The words "hot and bothered" may spark images of twisted sheets and breathlessly reaching out to the one you love for most people. But if you have a chronic illness, "hot" likely refers to a thyroid condition, night sweats, or a heating pad on high. "Bothered" is everything else that happens in bed. Like achy joints that pop when you roll over, a cat that insists on sleeping on your leg, or a spouse who snores through thunder and lightening. Romance may be hard to find in your home!
You may be surprised to know that nearly 1 in 2 people live with a chronic illness in the U.S.A. That means a whole lot of marriages have a third bed partner called "illness"--including mental illness too. Sadly, seventy-five percent of marriages that include illness end in divorce. Valentine's Day romance is a year-round requirement to keep the communication and joy going in your relationship.
So, how can you add back some of that spark? I've got some romantic ideas that will tell your hubby "I love you" even when you are in chronic pain.
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!
Prioritize romance. Cleaning the house all day Saturday and then claiming you're "just too tired" can make your spouse feel that he isn't as important as your own agenda. Get some rest so you can at least have a decent conversation without falling asleep.
Show some enthusiasm for getting to spend a romantic evening with your loved one. Even if it's just a nice dinner out, don't say, "I'm feeling terrible, but I really wanted to do this for you." (Hint: that won't turn him or her on!) Flirt a little bit. Talk about some fun times you've had or dreams you'd still like to pursue. Give yourself the gift of not talking about your illness the entire night.
Even if you don't have the gift of writing poetry, do something that tells your spouse how much you appreciate him. Cover a page with sentences of things you appreciate and love using different colored markers. Make up a mini-photo albumn.
Think of all of the thing you notice your spouse does that is never done with complaint and write them down with a bit thank you at the bottom. Does he take out the garbage, get you medicine in the middle of the night, bathe your child without complaint, or even clean out the litter box? Write these out or type tehm in fun fonts as something for him to treasure.
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!
Make up coupons for something he would like but wouldn't typically splurge on for himself. For example, "Good for 5 guilt-free hours of going fishing with the guys." Don't make him feel guilty whenever he wants to do something you can participate in (like going for a bike ride or on a roller coaster.)
Perfect marriages don't exist. But they can be one of the most amazing experiences in your life when both people are involved in keeping it alive. In fact, the existence of a chronic illness in a marriage can make your relationship even stronger. Romance comes in many forms. I know I loved my husband more than ever the evening I literally couldn't move when I had a rheumatoid arthritis flare and he slept on the floor beside the couch to comfort me every time I moved or screamed out in 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. It talks a lot about "love languages" and how men feel loved when they feel respected, while women want to feel loved with emotions and words. Oftentimes we are offering our spouse what we desire rather than the "love language" they need. Being aware of all of the small ways we can show each other love and respect add up to romance when you least expect it.