Though the ideal marriage is devoid of serious illness or life-threatening accidents, colds, flus, and broken bones are inevitable. Trust us; nothing tests a marriage like a nasty fender bender or a night of food poisoning. So when it comes to dealing with a sick spouse, we have a few recommendations that will help them get better and help you keep your sanity. Let us just say: Patience is key.
The most important thing you need when dealing with a sick spouse (aside from compassion) is tolerance. For instance, they don't want to be ignored, nor do they want to be smothered with care. We learned by trial and error the importance of giving your spouse space and not overdoing the pampering but still showing genuine concern. One way to show that concern is to keep the lines of communication open. There is a tendency to let that slide during an illness, but this is one of those times when communicating with one another is super important.
If you have a sick spouse on your hands, and feel a bit useless when it comes to helping them through it (without infecting yourself), keep reading for five fail-proof tips.
Make a "Survival Kit"
As much as you want to help your ailing spouse, they may not want it. After all, it's hard to be a good partner when you can barely breathe through your nose. In cases like these, make what we like to call a "survival kit" packed with with their favorite movies, a couple of books, electrolyte-packed beverages, and snacks. Bonus points if they're homemade.
Hide the Bell
When you are home and available, resist the temptation to give your sick spouse a bell to ring whenever they "need" you. Trust us; you'll get annoyed at their not-so-emergencies quickly. If they really need you, they'll let you know sans bell. Plus, a bell can turn into a less-than-desirable power play.
If your partner asks you to leave them alone, listen to them. Think about it this way: If you were sick and feeling terrible, you'd probably want to be alone in bed, binging your favorite show and sipping tea. You wouldn't want someone—now matter how much you love them—constantly checking in and trying to engage with you. Respect their wishes and know that if they need you or want to hang out, they'll let you know.
Pamper Every Once in a While
The best thing for a cold may be a combination of rest and hydration, but the second best thing is the royal treatment. Maybe once or twice throughout their bout of sickness, serve them breakfast in bed, give them a scalp massage, or anything they particularly love.
Stock the Kitchen
If you're off at work, hanging out with your friends, or running errands, keep the pantry and refrigerator stocked with a few things your sick spouse may want. For instance, fresh ginger, lemon, and hot water are miracles for colds, so maybe peel and chop a few pieces of ginger and leave them by the lemons. You can never go wrong with Saltines—especially if your partner doesn't have much of an appetite—oranges or clementines, pasta, and soup.