Chronic pain caused by arthritis or any other condition can be a marriage-threatening event. But there are things both partners can do to minimize pain-related marital stress and perhaps even make the marriage stronger. Because chronic pain affects the patients life and his or her ability to function comfortably, it also generally affects the patients spouse," says Beth Minzter, MD, Department of Pain Management at Cleveland Clinic. "Pain interferes with a couples ability to do things together. So to think that it doesnt affect your spouse isnt realistic."