1 Year with Celiac~Part 2~ The Spouse…Why it pays to be Supportive


Hand’s down the most important factor in keeping my sanity during the first months after my Celiac diagnosis was support from The Husband.

Occasionally on one of the Celiac forums or in blog comments I read about (almost always) women diagnosed with Celiac whose spouse is less than supportive… (if this describes your spouse…email him this post)

How do I say this nicely? Are you stinkin kidding me? One of my favorite gluten-free bloggers, The Gluten Dude says it this way:

“No spousal support for Celiac? Find another spouse.”

Gluten Dude doesn’t really mean that  … and I don’t either…really.  But, short of finding another spouse, I would encourage some kind of professional counseling because if your spouse doesn’t support you as you navigate your way through all the pitfalls of this life changing autoimmune disease, he/she is almost certainly self-absorbed and lacking in empathy and a little counseling couldn’t hurt.

When I was diagnosed, The Husband immediately went 100% gluten free. (He was GF for 3 months until I forced him to start eating normal) Looking back, it meant the world to have him right there with me trying to find gluten free pasta that wasn’t soggy and gluten free cookies that weren’t like muffin-tops.

He also immersed himself in all-things Celiac, reading everything he could get his hands on.  He called ahead when we ate out, and talked to the servers about how serious it was if I got gluten and the first time I got sick after eating at a restaurant that promised gluten-free food, he insisted we go back to talk to the manager. That man was and still is fiercely protective and completely on board.

When I hear about a husband who whines about having to go to dinner at the same (safe) restaurants over and over or is unsympathetic when their wife with Celiac gets sick it makes me so angry. If The Husband did behave that way it would crush me and it would damage our relationship. And I couldn’t help it…the way I looked at him would be …less.

But as it is people, I will sing that man’s praise till the day I die. I’m so thankful for his love and support and I would do anything for him.

See…it pays off to be supportive…even if you’re a self-absorbed-it’s all about me– kind of spouse, think of how much YOU can get out of supporting your wife (husband) with Celiac. So step up, in the end it’ll benefit you too!

One more thing…the next line of support has come from my son, daughters and son-in-laws. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been on two vacations with them and multiple dinners-out, birthday parties and holiday get-togethers, and they never fail to take my limitations into consideration. One of them is always on a smart phone checking menus for GF meals or bringing gluten free treats for me.  They never complain or make me feel like a burden. If you have a relative with Celiac…please for the love of pete and all that’s holy…treat them like you’d want to be treated, because I promise you, they already feel terrible about having to cause trouble.

Whew…okay, I’m done.

A Celiac diagnosis for one family member is really, a diagnosis for the whole family.  But it’s also an opportunity for the family to show love in a very tangible way.

~Prayers that all of us seize the opportunity to give away some love today ~


  1. says

    Beautiful. The way Jesus loves us. Right now, Ricky’s making breakfast–bacon and omlets, Udi’s toast for me.

    I’ll never forget when we had to leave a restaurant because he watched the kitchen crew throw flour all over my pizza. I went out and sat in the car while he talked to the manager.

    • Robin says

      Julie, you are a huge support for me by the way. And yes, your hubby is amazing. We are blessed xo

  2. says

    I love this post, I think it is so easy to overlook the changes Coeliac disease makes to those around us and most especially those closest to us. I am so pleased that your husband has been so supportive. It does make it so much easier, especially in the first year when it’s such a big adjustment.

    Over the last 12 years Tim and I have come to a compromise about what we cook for us taht is gluten-free like pasta and other stuff like bread which he eats normal and my daughter and I have gluten-free. We’ve a range of cake recipes he says taste as good and I like. I think I’ve now forgotten what ‘normal’ cake tastes like so rely on his judgement for if it’s good enough to serve to others. He has got used to separate toasters, separate margarines and butter . He has a ‘gluten worksurface’ in the kitchen where he prepares gluten containing foods and a separate cupboard all to reduce cross contamination.

    He is fab at finding places to go when we’re out and about that can cater for GF diet and when he’s been away often hunts out the local health food shops to see if there’s anything new or different for our daughter and me. I can’t image living as happily or healthily for either me or Caitlin without his support. I doubt I could have lived with someone all this time who didn’t understand the importance of my coeliac disease and how to manage it, he’s never moaned or complained. Tomorrow he’s making GF cake for my birthday party on Tuesday.

    I am also fortunate that both my and Tim’s family have been so supportive over the years and helped to keep me well. It does make all the difference.

    • Robin says

      Elizabeth, any and every effort you make w/ your friend will be soooo appreciated. sending you love today my friend

  3. says

    First, you are blessed beyond measure. Kudos to THE HUSBAND and the rest of your family. Second, i would expect the support you or any “celiac person” should receive from spouse and family should be the same as any spouse or family that has cancer, an addiction, or any other “disease’ that requires help and patience and understanding. So glad you have written what you have.

    • Robin says

      Bill, it’s so true that no matter what we go through in life, the support from our family and friends is necessary. So many people are missing that support (as I’m sure you see as a pastor). I’m blessed to have it, I pray I’ll never forget to give it to others.

  4. Cindy says

    I am amazed when I see spouses who are so supportive. My daughter recently (finally) admitted gluten was making her ill, and her fiancé immediately contacted me to find out how to help her. I am so impressed with the young man she has chosen to marry. He even brought me GF cupcakes for Mother’s Day. My husband resents the fact that we are gluten free and lactose intolerant even though I cook pasta for him and keep all his favorite bread, cookies, snacks, etc in the house. You are very blessed.

  5. Jen says

    Heart warming to read about your “special” husband and supportive family. I can see this kind of support is crucial to your well-being.


  6. says

    Thanks Robin…

    I also went GF for the first few months after Brent’s diagnosis and now limit my gluten to eating out unless I’m having a ladies event at the house and happen to carefully sneak in a gluten filled treat. I’m not sure Brent is as appreciative as you are :). Since he doesn’t get violently sick when he gets glutened he tends to let his guard down when we are out, not wanting to be fussy. Maybe its over-protective, but my alerts to the servers and chefs are more serious than his. So many people either don’t know what we are talking about or think it’s a fad to eat GF. Ugh. Going out is a challenge, but the good news is that we cook in much more and eat better and even cheaper since we aren’t out as much.

    So glad your family takes it seriously…love to you and we should meet you for a GF meal sometime!


  7. says

    In so many ways when you are faced with a serious and chronic illness, support becomes its own form of “medicine” to you. And what The Husband and the rest of your family has done is shown the rest of us that we can all do something in support! Truly what you all are exemplifying, is love for each other. You’ve blessed us all with this post and provided encouragement for the journey.

    Love you to you the moon…

    • Robin says

      Vicky, you know this about support more than anyone I know. I pray I can be a support to those who need me…xoxo

  8. says

    I join you in thanking God for the husband he has given you. He is amazing on many levels. Blessings and thanksgiving.

  9. says

    Bob started out eating gluten free with me and 5 years later he still is. In fact he discovered he felt better too. At first he would eat an occasional piece of fried chicken or a doughnut at work till he figured out it was making him sick. He is also the one who made a list of foods I could still eat during the first month when I was having a pity party. I still keep that list on my fridge door. I keep a gluten free household and he is always telling me how much he loves my cooking and all the new foods I have discovered over the years. As long as I keep making him gluten free cookies and an occasional loaf of gluten free bread he is happy. I am truly blessed with one of the “good guys.” Glad to hear you are too.

  10. Tim says

    I am actually writing a book for spouses, family members, and significant others of anyone with Celiacs. My wife was diagnosed 13 months ago and after hearing story after story of people suffering from apathetic relationships, I felt it was time to provide some perspective. Kuddos to your husband – I don’t know him but like him already!

  11. says

    Thank you Robin; I love this post. My husband has been very supportive of me and my celiac disease as well. I also have many food allergies to cope with and he is so good about eating what my way. He does have a loaf of gluten bread in the house, but otherwise he eats everything I do. He even cooks for me. I get a lot of migraines and am unable to cook for myself for many days at a time and he comes home after twelve hour days (he is self employed) and he cooks me dinner. Very basic meals, but they are gluten and allergy free. He is so sweet. We have been marries twenty years this year and I could not ask for more from a husband. I think my girls who are twenty one and twenty three know what my allergies are better than I do. When we go out for lunch, they are usually the ones who are telling the wait staff how to take care of my diet. I feel so special sometimes. I do not know about you, but after almost a year I have lost almost sixty five pounds too. Thank you for such a great post. I will be sure to follow you in the future. I started to blog for the sole purpose of reminding myself of the creative spirit I had lost due to health restrictions (to say the least) I have arthritis of the spine and ms. I find that writing makes me think more creative and makes me push myself towards a more creative being and more who I was before I was sick. Sometimes I push myself too hard, but it sure is fun at the time. I am getting off the track, I just wanted to thank you for saying what I think everyday about my spouse too. I will have to read your post to him so I do not forget to tell him. Thank you again. Cherie

    • says

      Cherie, your comment inspired me! Thank you for taking time to write it. I feel blogging is therapeutic and truly does help my creativity which can be doused by so many things. I’m glad you have a great support system, saying a prayer for your health and for your spirit that you thrive my new friend xo

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