By Adrienne Dellwo, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Guide
Easing Marital Strain With Fibromyalgia
Saturday November 6, 2010
Marriage is hard enough under normal circumstances. When one spouse
becomes chronically ill, it can put a lot of strain on the
New research predictably shows that husbands of women with
fibromyalgia have worse health -- both physically and mentally -- than
husbands of healthy women.
The fibro husbands reported less satisfaction with their marriages,
saying that sexual, domestic and support issues all had an impact. The
one factor researchers identified that made these men more satisfied
with their marriages was social support.
Looking at my own marriage, I can really relate to this. My husband
has been wonderful and supportive to me, but I haven't always been
able to support him. Even though I'm doing a lot better than I was a
few years ago, he still has to pick up more than his share of work
around the house. He constantly deals with frustrations related to my
While many of us feel isolated, we do have places to turn for support.
Blogs, forums, Facebook fan pages, local support groups -- they're all
out there, and they can make a huge difference in how we deal with our
illness. But what do our spouses have?
I think men have it especially hard socially when it comes to support.
They don't talk about personal issues with friends like women do.
They're often expected to carry their burdens stoically, and may be
seen as weak if they ask for help -- especially of the emotional kind.
That all combines to create a huge amount of stress.
Knowing that (in this study, anyway) support is the one factor that
improved marital satisfaction, I decided our spouses need someplace to
go. I created a Facebook page called Husbands & Wives of Fibromyalgia
& Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and I hope you'll let your spouse or
significant other know about it, so they can start building a
community of their own. We benefit tremendously by knowing we're not
alone in this, and the people who are important to us deserve to
experience that feeling as well. You can find the page here:
Story at: http://chronicfatigue.about.com/b/2010/11/06/easing-marital-strain-with-fibromyalgia.htm
Link to research cited: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20939626