Help Your Spouse Cope with Diabetes

Diabetes presents many challenges to those who suffer from the disease, but their spouses may also struggle with worry, resentment, and fear as they share the diabetic experience.

In addition, the spouse must deal with mood swings, agitation, and fatigue.  Just like the mortgage, raising children, and career issues, diabetes in the household is best handled through joint effort.  If you are the spouse of an individual dealing with diabetes, there are things you can do to ensure good quality of life for the both of you.

Learning to take a non-critical supportive approach is crucial for spouses. The diabetic will not likely appreciate having a watchdog taking note of every misstep in the diet.

Being told what to do and what to eat can lead to conflict, stubbornness, and feelings that the disease is a greater burden than it really is.

Leading by example is a more effective approach. Bring only nutritious food into the house and plan a family menu that meets diabetic standards, because it will be healthy for the both of you. And develop an exercise routine that you can do together.

Partners also need to realize that diabetes cannot be ignored.  The non-diabetic spouse should be present at most of the doctor appointments and nutritional guidance meetings.   Visit a dietician together and plan your lifestyle according to the advice you receive.

The spouse of a diabetic can relieve any resentment felt by remembering that at any time, any of us can develop a condition or have an accident that would change the way we live.  What if you were paralyzed tomorrow?  What if you had a heart attack, a stroke, or needed a leg amputated? You would hope your partner would stand by you, that he or she would understand your inability to control certain things and love you unconditionally.  Like you, a diabetic needs to feel loved and supported as their daily battle rages on.

Encouraging dialog about the disease is a must. To ease both of your minds, discuss problems before they get out of hand. If your spouse is in a bad mood, he or she should feel free to tell you. Then, you should act appropriately.
If you know ahead of time what your spouse would like you to do when a foul mood strikes, getting through it will be easier for both of you. Is silent support best, or would an activity such as a walk together help? A clear plan will prevent feelings of isolation and resentment.

Finally, learn as much about diabetes as you possibly can. With adequate knowledge, open communication and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, you will be well prepared to help your spouse deal with diabetes.

Author Doreen Lynnkom edits the ezine Diabetes Notes.  Visit  to  sign  up  for  her ezine and search the diabetes resources.