This study was conducted to determine the impact of a husband's chronic illness on the spouse's life. The sample was 76 married women, 46 whose husbands had a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 30 whose husbands did not have a chronic illness. On a mailed questionnaire wives of COPD patients reported higher subjective stress (p = .032) and lower life satisfaction (p = .006) than the wives whose husbands did not have a chronic illness. The COPD wives assumed more new roles and responsibilities, relinquished more social activities, rated their health lower, and reported less frequent marital relations. Implications for future research are addressed.