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When couples take vows to continue honoring and cherishing one another, even in sickness and in health, they rarely expect to find themselves dealing with something as challenging as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Couples dealing with TBI have a statistically high rate of separation and divorce.
Sadly, this is because many people fail to establish proactive plans for protecting their relationships. With these tips, you can strengthen your union so that the traumatic brain injury doesn’t have the opportunity to take it from you.
Honor the Natural Right to Grieve After TBI
Surprisingly, grieving often makes people feel guilty. It’s almost as if those who’ve suffered tremendous loss are supposed to either shrug it off or shoulder it with a grin. For traumatic brain injury sufferers, there’s the incredibly pervasive idea of needing to be constantly grateful for continued life, even though their lives are remarkably different from the ones they once led
While it’s certainly good to be grateful for surviving the accident that caused your brain injury, gratitude does not require you to always be upbeat, positive, and optimistic. More importantly, it does not take away your right or your partner’s right to grieve. In fact, grieving is actually one of the healthiest things that couples can do in their efforts to adapt to their new lives and the new demands that are being placed on their marriages.
Not only does grieving allow people to honor and acknowledge their losses, but it is also the very first step towards moving past them. Working with a grief counselor or a marriage counselor is a great way for married couples to effectively navigate the grieving process and start moving forward.
Take Steps to Prevent Excessive Financial Stress
The greatest strain on any marriage after traumatic brain injury is always money-related. TBI causes job loss and loss of many future earnings opportunities. Without financial compensation and other forms of support, one partner will be left shouldering the responsibility of paying all household bills.
It’s also important to note that the ongoing care for someone living with TBI can be extremely expensive. Many families pay thousands of dollars each month just to meet the basic needs of their injured loved ones.
Thus, one of the best things that you can do to eliminate marital strain after TBI is to seek legal assistance. A seasoned attorney can assist you in getting the compensation that both covers the ongoing costs of living with TBI, and acknowledges all of the related losses, pain, and suffering. According to Chalik and Chalik injury lawyers, insurance pays 3.5 times more for claims with legal representation than for those without.
Redefine Your Relationship With New Shared Activities
TBI victims experience changes in behavior and personality, even as they deal with tremendous losses in their physical and cognitive functioning. While it’s okay to grieve the loss of the days that you once spent hiking, camping, or cycling with your loved one, there must also come a time when you start replacing these activities with new and more abilities-specific ones. For instance, couples living with TBI can:
- Get couples massages
- Tour museums
- Play board games
- Read to one another
- Binge-watch their favorite movies and shows
Once injured parties have solid therapy plans in place, their uninjured spouses can work with therapists to discover additional activities that will prove both safe and beneficial to engage in.
Seek Counseling and Support
traumatic brain injury is not something that anyone should have to deal with on their own. Those living with TBI can work with counselors to address the overwhelming anxiety and depression that these injuries entail, work through difficult emotions, and get help in moving through the grieving process. Uninjured spouses can talk to counselors to find strategies for avoiding caregiver burnout, and to get help in addressing any depression or anxiety of their own.
Joining support groups can be beneficial for both parties. Support groups offer a sense of community and camaraderie that can be very helpful for establishing and maintaining the right mindset. These groups serve as safe spaces where people can be honest about their feelings, and where most participants discover that they’re not alone.
Traumatic brain injury can result in tremendous losses for both those who’ve sustained these injuries and those who love them. What TBI doesn’t have to take, however, is your marriage. With the strategies above, you can learn how to evolve in your union to remain loving and mutually supportive partners despite the many challenges you’re facing.