Actor Michael Douglas was diagnosed with a tumor in his throat, E! Online reported Monday.  The 65-year-old actor said he is “optimistic” about his health in a statement, though it has not been released whether the tumor is cancerous or benign.  Douglas has a wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, and three children, two of them with Zeta-Jones.

How can you get past a large health setback as a couple?

Cupid’s Advice:

Though the disease is in its early stages, this is a crucial time for Douglas and Zeta-Jones.  Strong family and spousal support in a time of sickness can often make a large difference in a patient’s chance for recovery, as well as for the success of the relationship through this difficult time.

1. Stay private: Whether or not the couple dealing with illness is a celebrity or an everyday couple, it’s necessary to keep the matter within only those who need to know.  Personal friends and family are the only ones who need to be brought in.

2. Be involved: It’s important that those dealing with the illness, especially the patient’s partner, are as involved as possible.  Stay up-to-date on doctor’s findings, appointments, and your partner’s needs.  Make the illness and healing as easy to deal with as possible.

3. Prepare for the aftershock: Even after an illness has been treated, there is the potential for the patient to feel vulnerable or angry afterward.  Be ready for this, and understand that it’s a natural reaction.  Be supportive.