October 16, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

An older adult who understands overcoming resentment while caring for your spouse holds her husband as they look out the window.

Married couples promise an undying love for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. When you first speak these words at the altar, it’s hard to imagine how it will feel to actually live them out. It may come as a surprise to you that anger, frustration, and resentment can go hand-in-hand with fulfilling your vows when caregiving for your spouse.

Why Did You Become Resentful When Caring for Your Spouse?

Put simply, caregiving is a taxing ordeal, both emotionally and physically. You may feel:

  • Frightened about your spouse’s prognosis
  • Stretched too thin
  • Unappreciated and taken for granted
  • Frustrated from insufficient time for self-care
  • Angry or irritated for inexplicable reasons

These feelings are not uncommon, and they are very valid. There are steps you can take to overcome them while strengthening your relationship with your spouse.

How to Overcome Spousal Caregiving Resentment

Be honest with yourself about your feelings. Your natural reaction to these feelings may be to sweep them under the rug when caring for your spouse, but it’s important to find a safe space to vent. Caregiving is hard on many levels, and having a strong network of support is crucial. Talk regularly with a trusted friend or family member, counselor, or spiritual guide.

Establish and stand on firm boundaries. You are only human, and you can’t do it all.  Setting an unattainable bar for yourself as a caregiver will quickly lead to burnout, depression, and a lower quality of care for your spouse. Determine realistic expectations that are in line with your strengths and abilities, and bring in help for the rest.

Consider a marriage counselor. A professional marriage counselor can be helpful to both of you individually and as a couple. You’ll gain the tools you 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 counselor can also provide you with referrals to other helpful resources as appropriate.

Don’t forget YOU. Self-care is just as important as the care you provide your spouse. Taking 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, and being in nature.

At Home Independent Living is always ready to help you restore a healthy life balance and to rediscover the joy of spending quality time with your spouse. Contact us online or at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to inquire about our respite care services and to request a free in-home consultation to learn more about the many ways we can help. Our services are available in Syracuse, Camillus, Clay, and the surrounding areas.