Especially When Your Spouse Has Cancer
Are Your Relationships Suffering?
Has your husband’s cancer affected the relationships in your life? Are there strains in your family relationships that weren’t there before?
When someone is facing a serious illness, the repercussions are not only felt by that person, but by all those that care about him. It is likely that your family members will all have different responses to your husband’s struggle. Some family members will distance themselves which may feel to you like they don’t care or don’t want to help. Others may want to be more involved and have lots of opinions about what you should do. This can sometimes feel stifling and intrusive. You, as the spouse and primary caregiver are often the one who is interacting with the rest of the family, so you may feel these changes the most.
The good news is that now matter how others around you act, you can still get to decide how you want to feel about them.
Seriously. Regardless of what they say or do, how you think about that relationship is up to you!
Here are the four things you need to know so that you can make the most out of the relationship in your life:
- Relationships Are Defined By Our Thoughts
- Relationships Are Not Defined By Their Actions
- Adults Get To Be Adults!
- You Can Always Choose Love
1. Relationships Are Defined By Our Thoughts
Contrary to popular belief, relationships are NOT defined by the interaction between two people. In fact, we don’t have to be near someone at all in order to have a relationship with them.
This is because relationships are actually defined by our thoughts about another person.
Many of us have relationships with people we hardly ever see. You have a relationship with your aunt who lives in another state, or your best friend from college who you haven’t even talked to in years! You may even have a relationship with someone who has passed away.
How we think about another person is what defines our relationship with them. Just as their thoughts about us define their relationship with us.
When you were younger, did you ever like someone who just didn’t feel the same way? See… that is exactly what I mean. You each had different thoughts about each other that affected how you saw the relationship.
2. Relationships Are Not Defined By Their Actions
I bet you are thinking…
Doesn’t their behavior matter? What if they are mean and hateful to me? How can that not influence our relationship?
Even if someone is mean and hateful to you, it doesn’t have to affect your relationship.
It is not their behavior that determines the relationship, it is your thoughts about them and their behavior. Even if they act mean, you can still choose to love them. It may be more difficult, because you are going to want to make their words mean something, but you still get to choose how you show up for the relationship.
When we have a good relationship, it’s because we have good thoughts about the person. When it’s a bad relationship, it’s because we have negative thoughts about the person.
Think about it like this. Your two year old may misbehave, but you still love them. You would never call that a bad relationship. You expect your two year old to misbehave on occasion, so you are less likely to have lasting negative thoughts about it when it happens. You still love them, even when they throw a fit!
3. Adults Get To Be Adults!
The last important part about relationships is that adults get to do what they want. No matter what! Even if we think their actions are wrong, bad, or mean, they are still adults and get to make their own choices… and live with the consequences.
This is important to remember when talking about relationships because we all want to make decisions for other people. From time to time, we all think that we know how someone in our life should act or what they should do. It can seem so obvious!
However, when we try to control other people because we think we know what’s best for them, it simply doesn’t work! None of us want to be controlled and none of us like being told what to do.
4. You Can Always Choose Love (Over Being Right)
When the relationships in our lives get strained, one tried and true stand by is to choose love.
Let’s say you feel like your husband’s parents are too pushy in their opinions about his treatment. You may really disagree with how they are handling it, but sometimes, we choose being right over our relationship. Even if you disagree with their approach, you can choose to love them anyway. Why would you do this? Because it feels much better to love than to be angry!
You Have Control Over Your Relationships
Our relationships can be one of the most wonderful and fulfilling parts of our life. They can also be a source of great stress.
Now that you understand how much control you have over the relationships in your life, you can always improve them. It doesn’t require them to change at all! So if there is someone in your life who is particularly difficult, start by paying attention to your thoughts about them to see how they are impacting your relationship. When you are frustrated with how they are acting, remind yourself that they are adults and get to do what they want, even if you disagree. And last but not least, you can always choose love.
I created this short video to share the 3 things I really wish someone would have told me right from the beginning about coping with my spouses cancer. Click the link to watch today! You will learn:
- How to best support them when they are in pain
- How important it is to take care of your own needs
- And the real secret to your suffering (it’s not cancer) and what to do about it