Ok, let me back up a bit for theory. So basically the theory is this: In a system, we’ll say a family, there are certain ways of relating to each other. Sometimes there is an issue that people chose to ignore or is taboo. Such as drinking, drugs, or the like. This is the thing that everyone in the family knows about but no one actually talks about a nd they all choose to deal with it in their own way. Then, a crisis hits and the dysfunctional functioning is exaggerated because no one can avoid it. It impedes/interferes with the coping or dealing with the crisis.
So patient has had a health scare and the family has dealt with it. Day by day. Other family members deal with in their own way and hope that this will be resolved, or “fixed” and then things will go back to normal. This is the “hope” that everyone clings to. But the health issue affects them all even only one person is sick, but they all deal with it as the sick person is away from the regular routine.. and the snowball gets bigger.
So … the issue in this case is that spouses didn’t really have an appropriate communication style in the first place and now that the system/relationships are stressed, they fight about little things but they are actually a part of a whole things that is not working.
The interesting thing about this type of situation is that people in crisis either function and rise above, or they hide their heads in the sand and hope it will go away so they can continue living as it was before. Crisis either makes you stronger or you break.