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.

Prayer for Marriage

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 Chronic Joy Prayer Pond, a community rippling with radical hope and compassionate change. A place 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

Before we can truly love one another, we must first discover how radically, passionately and perfectly we are loved by God.


This insightful and enriching 10-chapter study, designed just for couples, offers you and your spouse a safe place to acknowledge chronic illness and its impact on your marriage, as you grieve, heal, and begin to thrive again together.

Love at First Fight

Carey and Dena Dyer

Love at First Fight will give your marriage encouragement and hope 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, Carey and Dena Dyer will help you 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 begin with Scripture, end with prayers, and include practical action steps to develop a deeper connection with your spouse.

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 and Jay married right after college and sought adventure in Los Angeles. On April 21, 2008, as their son, James, slept in the other room, 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, Katherine and Jay, struggled to regain a life for Katherine. Eight years later, they are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope through their ministry Hope Heals.

When God Doesn't Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can't Live Without

Laura Story

Recording artist Laura Story’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The fairy-tale life Laura had dreamed of was no longer possible. Yet in struggling with God about how to live with broken dreams, Laura has found joy and a deeper intimacy with Jesus. She examines the brokenness of some of the heroes of our faith, and shows how despite their flaws and flawed stories, God was able to use them in extraordinary ways, not because of their faith, but because of the faithfulness of their God.

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

John Piper et al.

Reflecting on over forty years of matrimony, John Piper exalts 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. He aims to lift 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 Momentary Marriage unpacks the biblical vision, its unexpected contours, and its weighty implications for married, single, divorced, and remarried alike.

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Gary L. Thomas 

Your marriage is more than a sacred covenant. It is a spiritual discipline designed to help you know God better, trust him more fully, and love him more deeply. What if God’s primary intent for your marriage isn’t to make you happy . . . but holy? With insights from Scripture, church history, time-tested wisdom from Christian classics, and examples from today’s marriages, Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more. Whether delightful or difficult, your marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God.

Songs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word and In the Mood

Anita Renfroe et al.

Filled with insights from a real couple on real issues, Songs in the Key of Solomon will get you and your spouse laughing, thinking, sharing, touching, and praying – possibly all during the same reading. Each offering in this devotional is designed to spark connections around issues that matter, so you’ll deepen your emotional, spiritual, and physical unity and ignite new levels of intimacy. Here is an invitation to hear the music in your marriage – maybe for the first time…or maybe once again.

Blog Posts

Your Pain Comes with Possibilities

It Seemed Like A Good Idea It seemed like a good idea at the time. They would borrow the camping gear collecting dust in the garage, and they would head to the mountains to enjoy a night under the stars. Two college buddies enjoying the great outdoors. Trevor, the young man who would later...

Your pain comes with possibilities.

Your Disaster Zone Is God’s Construction Zone

Last year my family visited the National September 11 Memorial in New York City. It’s a solemn work of art, bringing life and a bit of peace to a place of death and destruction. As my family and I paused there, I found myself grateful that the project’s architects had not covered over the...

your disaster zone is God's construction zone

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

Chronic Illness: A Blessing in Our Marriage

“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



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)


Without God, we might have survived. We might still be married, but we’d have missed out on a love deeper, richer and more beautiful than we ever dreamed possible – love built on the bedrock of Jesus.


Has chronic illness caused a rift in your marriage? Do you argue more than you talk? Are you drifting apart? Catherine de Hueck’s says, “With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing.” Could listening become an olive branch of healing?


“The more you love God, the more capacity you will have to truly love each other.” Dave Willis

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