chronic illness and marriage

Navigating marriage with chronic illness can be dark and lonely.

Yet it can also be an opportunity to learn patience, forgiveness, tenderness, humility and sacrifice – gifts of a love forged by fire, a love to celebrate and savor.

Marriage and Chronic Illness

About Marriage and Chronic Illness

When one spouse has chronic illness, 75% of marriages end in divorce.

Chronic illness is defined by conditions that last at least one year, require ongoing medical attention, and limit daily activities.

Chronic illness within marriage is hard on both spouses. As a caregiver, one spouse feels the weight of being leaned upon by the sick spouse. The spouse living with illness often feels guilt and shame about being dependent on his/her spouse and financial issues arising from medical costs.

Both spouses often feel isolated, alone, and forgotten about which increases the likelihood of anxiety and/or depression arising in both spouses.


Celebrating or honoring your spouse, a friend, or loved one with a gift of hope is even more meaningful when it also enriches the lives of those living with chronic physical and mental illness, kindling the precious embers of hope in the lives of those who often feel isolated, forgotten about, and alone. LEARN MORE. 

Hover over an image to learn more.


Celebrating YOU!


Celebrate someone special with a gift of hope in their name, a gift whose ripples enriches the lives of all those impacted by chronic physical and mental illness.


Celebrating YOU!


A gift in honor of a loved one, mentor, friend, or colleague is a beautiful link in the life-giving ministry of Chronic Joy. Together we are always better!

Prayer for Marriage

Prayer Pond • Your Safe Harbor for Prayer.
Chronic illness is hard. Often finding and/or being a part of a community when chronic illness is the unwanted third-wheel in your marriage can be even more challenging.
You’re invited to the Prayer Pond, your safe harbor, where you can share your prayer requests, updates, and shouts of praise.Whether a request, praise, lament, suffering, loss, hope, grief, or joy, each prayer ripples far beyond this day and the boundaries of our world.
How often we hear, “Prayer is the least I can do,” when in reality, prayer is the most we can do. 

Featured Books

I TAKE YOU IN SICKNESS & IN HEALTH: Marriage with Chronic Illness

Cindee Snider Re

Rejuvenate, revitalize, rekindle, and reconnect with this insightful and enriching 10-chapter study, designed just for couples, offers you and your spouse a safe place to grieve, heal, grow, and begin to dream together again – to thrive as one – in sickness and in health.


Buy from Amazon

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

John Piper et al.

Discover the Biblical meaning of marriage over its emotion, exhorting couples to keep their covenant as a display of Christ’s covenant-keeping love for the church. Lifting the church’s low view of marriage to something infinitely greater - a vision of Jesus’s unswerving allegiance to and affection for his bride. This book unpacks the Biblical vision, its unexpected contours, and its weighty implications.

Buy from Amazon

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love

Katherine Wolf et al.

When all seems lost, where can hope be found? Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was rushed into surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. Through 40 days on life support and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab.  Years later, they are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope through their ministry Hope Heals.

Buy from Amazon


Love at First Fight

Carey and Dena Dyer

If you find that the once endearing, charming, and distinct qualities that attracted you to your spouse are now a source of stress and conflict. In sharing humorous, personal stories from both the male and female perspective, you will discover that a fun, resilient, fulfilling marriage can be realized through hard work, forgiveness, God’s grace, and a sense of humor. Fifty-two conversational meditations including practical action steps to develop a deeper connection with your spouse.

Buy from Amazon

The Amazon buttons are affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Chronic Joy will receive an affiliate commission.

Blog Posts

Even More



Chronic Illness in Marriage: There’s a Purpose for the Pain

“There’s a purpose for our pain.  Our perishing bodies are being used for His glory.” Jolene Engle

Spousal Caregivers: When Chronic Illness Crashes into Your Marriage

“When Thomas* and Carina* returned from their honeymoon in 1997, Carina was placed on long-term disability from work due to a string of illnesses – including lupus, fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis and heart problems….What followed were years of chronic physical pain, sometimes keeping Carina bound to her bed day in and day out. Thomas often cooks, cleans, cares for their two young boys, does the laundry, buys groceries and serves as Carina’s primary caregiver. ‘I had the feeling of helplessness when I realized that her conditions simply wouldn’t go away,’ he recalls.” Focus on the Family Canada

How to Get Your Focus Back on Your Marriage

“Despite the distractions, difficulties, and sicknesses there are tangible things that we all can do to get our focus back on our marriage and make it strong and to help it thrive.” Tricia, Abounding in Hope with Lyme

Marriage Blessings Through Chronic Illness

“When we married in 2002, I already had a chronic illness. At that time, I was still able to attend college, and after graduating I was able to work a part-time job for a while. However, less than two years after getting married, my health deteriorated to the point that I became disabled and homebound.” Rachel Lundy

When Chronic Illness Joins Your Marriage

“It can be so easy to focus on our health and lose the focus on our relationship. Marriage is hard work – with or without a chronic illness. But anything worthwhile is worth the work involved.” KimGrace is Sufficient: Finding and Purpose after Diagnosis





FIERCE MARRIAGE is a call for married couples to put God first and to love with a fierce tenacity that never gives up and never gives in. Founded to point couples to Christ and to commission marriages for the Gospel, founders Ryan and Selena Frederick offer hope and practical help for common struggles, including communication problems, sexual frustration, financial tension, screen-time disconnection, and unrealistic expectations.



More than 400 years ago, the ancient prayer of Examen helped the Franciscan Monks intentionally seek the Presence of God. It was a retuning to or a refocusing on God in order to reflect on the day and discover God’s Presence eve.

At its heart, Examen is simply sharing our day with Jesus and seeking His direction in prayer.

Click here for this free guide.


Bucket lists are way of charting our hopes and dreams, the things we‘d love to see and experience before we die. You can write a bucket list for each season of the year or for specific seasons of life.

Items on your bucket list don’t have to be extreme or expensive. They can include things like going to a new restaurant or to a concert in the park, learning to play chess or learning to write a memoir, or watching the sunrise.They are a wonderful opportunity for you and your spouse to begin to dream together again.

Click here for this free guide.


Maintaining a healthy marriage is a sacrificial pursuit and a life-long journey.

Fulfillment isn’t something that just happens. It requires honesty and intentionality, commitment and compromise, patience and attention, trust and a willingness to forgive. Love that gives, multiplies. When we pursue one another, love deepens and grows.

Click here for this free guide.

Image Gallery



by Our American Stories | Marriage On The Mind: Chronic Emotional/Physical Pain (Ep 1)


by Our American Stories | Marriage On The Mind: Chronic Illness (Ep 2)

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