You both promised to care for each other through better or worse, in sickness as well as in health. When these cherished sentiments are first spoken on your wedding day, it is hard to imagine that one day you might feel resentment in caring for your spouse. Yet anger, frustration, and resentment can go hand-in-hand with fulfilling your vows when caregiving for your spouse.
How Can I Resent Caring for the Person I Love the Most?
In short, it’s overwhelming, both emotionally and physically, to care for someone you love. You may feel:
- Frustrated from insufficient time for self-care
- Frightened regarding your spouse’s prognosis
- Unappreciated and taken for granted
- Angry or irritated for inexplicable reasons
- Stretched too thin
All of these feelings are valid and perfectly normal, even if unexpected – and there are steps you can take to overcome them while strengthening your relationship with your spouse.
How to Conquer Resentment in Caring for Your Spouse
Face your emotions. You might be attempting to cover up how you feel to keep the peace, but it is important to find a safe space to vent. Caregiving is hard on many levels, and identifying a strong network of support is crucial. Talk regularly with a trusted friend or family member, counselor, or spiritual guide.
Set and maintain boundaries. Remind yourself that you are human, and you can’t (and should not attempt to) do it all. Setting an unattainable bar for yourself as a caregiver will quickly lead to depression, burnout, and a reduced quality of care for your spouse. Determine reasonable expectations which are consistent with your abilities and strengths, and bring in help for the others.
Explore couple’s therapy. A professional marriage therapist can be helpful to both of you individually and as a couple. You’ll gain the tools you’ll need to resolve disputes in a healthy way, to better understand each other’s perspective, to better manage feelings of resentment, and to improve communication. The therapist may also provide you with referrals to other helpful resources as appropriate.
Take care of YOU. If you think of self-care as selfish, think again. Taking good care of yourself empowers you to take better care of your spouse. Carve out and prioritize time for pastimes you enjoy, socializing with friends and other family members, and stress-relieving activities: exercise, reading, journaling, listening to music, being outdoors.
JFS Care is here to serve as your partner in care to help you restore a healthier life balance and to rediscover the joy of spending quality time with your spouse. Contact us online or call us at 213-383-2273 to ask about our respite care services and to request a free of cost in-home consultation for more information on the many ways we can help. Our services are available in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas.