If your partner is seriously ill, you may need help answering, “How to save my relationship?” Here’s what to do: Set up multiple circles of support for you, your partner and your family.
When dealing with a long-term, possibly life-threatening illness, get plenty of help, even if you think you don’t need it. When your ill partner has to conserve all of her/his energy for healing, you need to take of yourself, and you won’t be able to if you and the people who are helping are burning out.
To form the largest circle, send out a mass email to as many friends and family members as possible—near and far. Ask people to sign up for the duty/duties of their choice. The categories may include cooking, driving to appointments/treatments, coming over for visits, food shopping, errand running, researching about a disease, cleaning the house, gardening, checking in on children, caring for pets, fundraising (if you don’t have the funds for medical care), etc.
Form a smaller middle circle of twelve people whom your partner personally chooses. Meet on a weekly basis at your home – just in case your mate feels well enough to join in. The purpose of this circle is to fill in all the gaps that the larger group didn’t sign up for.
The smallest circle is comprised of six people—once again, all of whom your partner handpicks. (You may have to help him/her, if she/he is too weak to do so.) This intimate group is designed to help in the event of death. Some friends will be in all three of these circles, some just in one.
There are two essential parts to setting up these circles:
- For the outer circle, get help from as many people as possible, but choose your two inner, closer circles wisely. Make sure that they are friends and family members who mean the most to you, who can help you, and won’t upset you. Make these two smaller circles work for you, even though some people may be offended that they aren’t the chosen ones.
- Make sure that each circle has rotating “captains” and the point person is never you.
Sometimes you’ll be disappointed; but in general, people come through in surprising and magical ways. These three concentric circles are how to save your relationship and keep your family intact when facing a major health challenge.
Pass on this information to friends and family who are in trouble right now. I also want you to know about Ceres in Sebastopol, CA, a nonprofit group that provides nourishing meals to people who are ill, whether you can pay or not. There are many ways to get the help you need. Read more about Ceres here.