WELL­SPOUSE

The Covington News - - Lo­cal news -

“They’re un­com­fort­able.” When her son came upon her los­ing her tem­per and scream­ing at the dog, she knew she needed to step back and find some help.

At her daugh­ter’s sug­ges­tion, she looked into a sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tion called the Well Spouse As­so­ca­tion. Made up of wives, hus­bands and part­ners car­ing for their chron­i­cally ill or dis­abled spouses or part­ners, find­ing the As­so­ci­a­tion was a god­send for Al­loway. In some ways, it saved her life.

“Oh my gosh, there’s just noth­ing like it,” she said. “To meet some­one who knows what you’re do­ing and what you’re go­ing through, and it’s not fun.” The needs and re­la­tion­ship strains of spouses are unique and un­like the strains of other re­la­tion­ships, such as par­ents and chil­dren, or sib­lings.

So­ci­ety of­ten ig­nores the needs of the help­ing spouse, she pointed out. “We are just now com­ing into where we should be in rec­og­niz­ing this group of peo­ple,” she said.

The Well Spouse As­so­ci­a­tion is not wide-spread in the South, said Al­loway. Cur­rently, there are two groups in Ge­or­gia – in At­lanta and Athens – and Al­loway is be­gin­ning her own group this com­ing Jan­uary. Al­loway’s aim is to pro­vide the kind of safe space to dis­cuss any­thing – such as the in­ti­mate chal­lenges be­tween a hus­band and wife where one spouse is dis­abled or ill – that she found with the As­so­ci­a­tion.

“There’s no judg­ment,” she said. “You are your own con­science. Un­til you’ve been in their shoes, you can­not judge them.”

Al­loway’s group meets first and third Wed­nes­day at the Cov­ing­ton First United Methodist Church from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The group is open to spouses only. For in­for­ma­tion about the group, call (678) 296-3392.

To con­tact the Well Spouse As­so­ca­tion, go to www.well­spouse.org or call 1-800-8380879.

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