When you first met your spouse years ago, you were enthralled with how they made you feel. Seeing one another and spending time together was really all you needed to feel giddy, happy, and complete.
Life continued its course, your relationship progressed, and with the years came successes and challenges. Honesty, with both with your partner and yourself, likely played a huge factor in how you tackled those challenges.
Tackling your incontinence deserves the same level of honesty you’ve used in other situations. The person you chose to spend the rest of your life with is your best mirror and they will have the most insight into how to keep you accountable with your care and how to help you live a full life. To leave them out of the conversation about your health is taking away one of the best assets you will have in managing your care and moving away from embarrassment and secrecy.
We believe honesty is the best policy and asking for help is a good thing. We also believe that those who are most close to you can be the biggest supporters in your life. Use that insight and commitment to your advantage and ask for help in every day things. Practicing this in other aspects of life will trickle into your health, too!
Here are five ways your spouse can keep you honest:
1. Pick a designated time during the day or the week when you give one another one piece of positive reinforcement and one suggestion for improvement.
Example of positive reinforcement: “You were so helpful this week doing the laundry while I was at coffee with my friend.” OR “I think John really appreciated your phone call to him this weekend—great job reaching out!”
Example of a suggested improvement: “Next time you call me on your way to work, could you please say ‘I love you’?” OR “I felt like you didn’t really want to help me rake the yard this weekend. Next time I ask for help can you be up front if you’re in a bad mood?”
2. Choose a household item that can serve as a reminder to you that you need to check-in with your treatment plan.
This could be a figurine, candle, or paperweight. Decide on a place for this item to be placed and ask your spouse to put this item in that designated place when they think you need to re-evaluate your treatment plan. Maybe you haven’t been taking your medicine as prescribed or you’ve avoided drinking water like your doctor recommended.
Let this object be a check in that your spouse can initiate.
3. Swap household duties (within reason) with your spouse for one week and report back at the end of the swap. Discuss ways you have both made assumptions about the other’s work or how you can display gratitude for their help more often.
Pick a few chores that your significant other typically does and do them for a week instead. Report back to them at the end of the week and discuss the challenges of walking in their shoes for a week.
4. Designate a jar or vase on your dresser or somewhere in your personal space that serves as a compliment jar.
Ask your spouse to use this jar as a way to compliment you on areas of treatment you’re excelling in. Use the jar in the same way for areas of their health and life they’re looking to improve.
Read the compliments before going to bed every week or every month.
5. Give yourself a report card every season and ask your spouse to check your grading.
Sketch a basic grading rubric with boxes for each area of life you’re looking to improve in (i.e. sleep, diet, exercise, downtime, community), fill out your own evaluation, and go over the details with your spouse. Discuss goals you can set to improve in the next season.
Tell us how you keep the lines of communication open with your spouse in the comments below.