Rapids aren't rough spots. They are places where things move very fast, and where rocks and shoals lie below the surface, visible by the turbulent waves they create. In their lee, the current flows fast and smooth. Your trip through may be a graceful, exhilaratingly quick slalom, or it may be a gut-wrenching crash, followed by lonely dunking into wild savage water.
A severe illness can provide many of these moments. People deal with the shadow of death's wing differently. Some are practical, ensuring that the life insurance is paid up, and do you know who you want the moose head to go to, 'cause it sure isn't staying here.
Some are emotional, looking at the inevitability of parting and the hope of reuniting. Chocolate helps, and please pass the kleenex. (At this point, the practical person buys stock in the tissue-paper company.)
There's the Egyptian approach. De Nile. If I don't read about it, talk about, or think about it, it won't happen.
And there's the irritatingly flippant, who makes jokes about his/her own condition, and expects the rest of the world to laugh.
We;'re really each of these, at some point along the journey. The trick to a smooth ride through, with our spouse, is to synchronize who we are through understanding.
That means understanding your emotions, controlling, and directing the. Yes, controlling them, because you can do it, and in the extreme, you have to. You can't control those of your spouse. He's paddling for all he's worth, based on what he sees from his end of the boat.
You have to control your own oar.
It's not that hard. You want to be flippant? Practice. Make a smart remark about something which befalls you. Maybe don't start with cancer. Joke about a broken wrist, instead. It hurts? So what, it'll still hurt even if you're reverential to the thing.
Practical? Look at your broken wrist, and figure out how you're going to do the dishes.
The important thing is to develop a synchronicity that isn't in phase with that of your spouse. Don't be the same thing at the same time. When he's emitional, be practical. He'll think you're cold and unfeeling, but so what? if you're emotional too, all you'll do is reinforce his funk.
If he's flippant, be emotional. two people sharing flippancy can become callous, more quickly that you might think.
In wave mechanics, when two waves meet, in phase, they add their heights, and you get One Really Big Wave.
When two waves meet exactly out of phase, they cancel each other out. What do you get?