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To the Man Who Will Choose Me and My Life With Illness

I don’t know who you are yet. There are plenty of days I wonder if I’ll ever find out. Sometimes my life looks complicated, and I cannot see how anyone would willingly step into this chaos. Maybe you’ll be so blind by love that none of it will matter. Do you know what you’re getting into?

When you choose me, you will choose my life and all that comes with it. You will choose hospital bracelets and doctor’s appointments. You will choose holding my hand when the tests hurt, and you will choose the simultaneous mingling of protecting me and valuing my strength. You will choose making adjustments at times, and you will choose being creative as we establish our daily lives. You will choose the unexpected and so many things most people try to avoid and prevent.

But you will also choose to be loved sweetly and fiercely. You will choose laughter and joy. You will choose determination and my tenacious spirit. You will choose someone with understanding and gentleness, who wants you to be everything you were created to be. You will choose the greatest and most beautiful adventure of our lives. You will choose not to see beyond illness but to see all of me. I know you will choose this life because you want to choose me, and this heart that will care most deeply for you.

At the time we will stand before our friends, family and God to make a lifelong commitment to each other, we will promise to not waver in sickness or in health; and we will understand the poignancy of that promise because we know it’s more than just words. We know what they truly mean, and we won’t take it lightly. We’d have no other choice. We already know sickness is a guarantee. Still, we will choose to face it together.

But what if it’s not what you thought it would be? Would you still choose this life even if you knew it would be hard and uncomfortable at times?

Here is what I ask of you: Don’t ever allow me to be the sole source of your happiness. Life together will be so, so wonderful – I can promise you that. But for it to be, we have to look deeper at what happiness really means. It’s not about what we will get from each other.

We have to be willing to let go of expectations. We have to be willing to make sacrifices. We have to be willing to not place perfectionist standards on each other. We have to be willing to put our hope and identity in something greater than ourselves and offer forgiveness to each other every single day. We have to be willing to work hard and show up when we don’t feel like it. We have to be
willing to be flexible. We have to be willing to go to the scary places we’re led, and we have to be willing to identify joy as we walk the journey. If your happiness is only ever dependent on me, I will fail you. I want to be your best friend, not something you use to make your life better – and not something to blame when life is hard. I’m here to walk through the good and the bad with you. Your problems are my problems. And, although my health may present some problems, I am not one of your problems. From the day you put a ring on my finger, my challenges become your challenges and we fight them as a team.

Sometimes the shoe will be on the other foot. There may be moments where I am tempted to make you my only source of validation. But don’t let me put you in that position. I am a brave and beautiful person because of who I am, not because of anything I’ve done or what others say about me. If I have trouble believing it when you remind me, let me deal with that in my heart. Support me, but don’t let me make you the final authority on the matter.

Our life together will be full because we will give more than we take, even if there are moments where we give in different ways. We will look for opportunities to cheer each other on instead of only seeing circumstance that hold us back. We will work together and not separately. We will believe we’ve been called to love each other and daily, with a whole lot of grace, we will learn
how to love well.

Even if sickness was not part of the picture, life would still be tough. Illness is just another face to the same challenges all couples experience. Life won’t go as planned. It won’t be exactly everything we anticipated. But it will be good because we will choose to believe it’s true. We will choose love and commitment.

We will choose hope. We will choose to surrender ourselves to the lessons we will learn, and we will choose to grow. We will choose to embrace the process of becoming mature and complete because of the trials we will face.

You will choose me and I will choose you. And together we will choose this life.

Follow this journey on Letting Go of Why.

The Mighty is asking the following: What do you want your past, current or future partner to know about being with someone with your disability, disease or mental illness? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.