Navigating the Marital Relationship During Cancer Treatment

Whether you or your partner has received a cancer diagnosis, this challenge will undoubtedly have an impact on your marriage. Any serious illness or life event has the potential to test the strength of a relationship but that doesn’t mean that you can’t weather the storm together.

Rather than letting cancer treatment drive you apart, you can take steps to become even closer and fight the disease together. Cancer treatment can be distressing, uncomfortable, and comes with many side effects, so maintaining a strong marriage throughout the process will bring more hope and courage.


Because cancer is such a frightening topic, talking about it with your spouse can be contentious. They may disagree about the next steps, potentially leading to arguments. The best way to avoid different perspectives from making you both feel disjointed is to communicate your honest feelings to each other.

Don’t be afraid to express the reasons behind your thoughts even if your partner doesn’t share your view. This kind of honesty makes it easier for you to make decisions together and reduce the risk of added stress.

Adapt to New Roles

Cancer treatment can cause someone to experience serious physical side effects which might make it harder to work. If this is the case, your household must be prepared to adjust. Perhaps you or your spouse can no longer contribute as much financially as before, meaning that the other person will need to take on extra responsibilities.

Resisting these kinds of changes can cause more friction than necessary, adding to your emotional burden at an already difficult time. Instead, accept that a cancer diagnosis comes with lifestyle adjustments.

Focus on Understanding Each Other’s Experience

If you’re the partner going through cancer treatment, you may have complicated feelings about your spouse taking on more of a caregiving role. If your partner has cancer, you may be overwhelmed by anxiety about their future. Either way, the key is to seek mutual understanding for each other’s experiences. This might mean finding out more about your partner’s specific form of cancer so you can understand how they feel.

For example, learning the different ovarian cancer signs and symptoms means researching the illness and how it affects people. When you understand how your partner feels, it’s easier to be sympathetic and patient, even when going through a rough patch.

Talk to a Professional

You don’t need to try to maintain a healthy relationship all by yourselves. Attending therapy can be an extremely practical way to clarify each partner’s needs during the cancer treatment. If it’s too painful to discuss certain topics at home, saving them for therapy can help you to communicate better and with greater purpose. Having a third party with no stake in your relationship can be truly beneficial to your marriage in both the short and the term.

Facing cancer is one of life’s hardest challenges, but you don’t need to do it alone. Keeping your marriage strong during cancer treatment might seem difficult, but many couples find their bond has strengthened through shared struggles. By communicating, adapting, and understanding, you can both provide each other with hope for the future.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Read More

Scroll to Top