I recently got over the flu. It was one week of literal hell with my consistent 103 degree fever, and another week of feeling like I got hit by a truck. I’m normally very independent and a huge go-getter, so when I was unable to go to work and physically couldn’t get out of bed, in a fever daze with tears coming out of my eyes because I felt THAT TERRIBLE, my fiance was like “who are you right now?” He’s seen a couple of sinus infections and a cold here and there, but never that.
The sniffles start, then comes the sneezing, and then the fever. The head fog and body aches follow shortly behind. You wash your hands a little bit longer than usual, noticing the quick onset of your partner’s sickness. Whether it’s a cold, the flu, strep throat, or anything else that would knock you out of work for a couple of days, you want NO PART in getting what they have, right?! It’s easy to put some distance between yourself and your spouse in an effort to stay healthy, but you’re also supposed to be their rock – in sickness and in health. While it may feel tough to balance giving your partner what they need while sick while also keeping yourself healthy and managing all of your own daily life tasks, it is possible. Your partner isn’t asking you to move mountains – they just need you to take some of the load off and help them get better.
Here are a few tips to help –
- No matter if you’re mad at them or irritated at helping for some reason, pick up the slack, anyway. They’re out of commission, and their job is to rest when they’re sick. If you’ve gotten in an argument the night before they got sick or you’re irritated with their attitude, help anyway. You can talk about your feelings when they aren’t sick anymore. Try putting your stuff on the shelf, and pick it back up when it’s the appropriate time.
- Practice patience and understanding. They’re doing the best they can. Whether it’s day 2, day 5, or day 8 of being sick, stick with them. If they aren’t able to follow through with date plans or aren’t able to manage their responsibilities, simply step up (eagerly!!) to help them out. Remind them that you want what is best for them, and in this case, it is to rest.
- Stay home with them. It may feel tempting to go have fun with the friends when your spouse wouldn’t be able to go, anyway. However, they will feel your support even if they’re sleeping and you’re in the other room. It reminds them that you’re there for them through it. They’ll be able to feel your presence, even if they don’t have the energy to express that appreciation.
- Get them their favorite things. They may not be able to eat very much. Getting any food or drink in them is better than nothing. Bring them a variety of things to try to eat, and don’t get frustrated if some (or all) of it goes to waste. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and will know that their favorite foods are sitting in the fridge for when they’re feeling better.
- Don’t stop doing all these things if they get sick often. Remember that they didn’t choose this. Nobody likes being sick! Chronic illness is much more exhausting for them as the person experiencing it than it is for you as the spouse.
No matter your partner’s love language, it will be easy for them to feel loved by you when you take that step up. Remember – it’s the little things!