14 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Promising to Love 'in Sickness and in Health'

If you’re thinking about marriage — you may be engaged, talking about engagement or fanaticizing about marrying that beautiful person — whatever your status is, seriously ask yourself, are you really ready to say “I do?”

After writing a letter to my newly divorced self, I realized that at 20 years old, my fiancé might not have understood the commitment he was about to make. When he looked into my eyes, shaking with nerves and happiness as he said “I do,” he likely didn’t understand what “in sickness and health” meant. I was pretty healthy! I was studying full-time and had two jobs. Yes, he knew about my struggle with depression and had cared for me through many chest and sinus infections. Even though he knew all that when he put a ring on it, he was not prepared for chronic pain, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Who is?

bride writing on a table using a feather pen
Alexandra on her wedding day.

When we married in November 2010, we were both pretty healthy. Sadly, the chronic pain from endometriosis had well and truly set in during my January period. We’d barely been married two months, and his promise to love me in sickness and health was already put to the test.

What does promising to love someone in sickness and health look like? Sure, you’re both healthy now. You can run, go for strolls on the beach, have a bowling date, have painless sex and ready to stick by your partner for better and worse. But…

Are you willing to take an income hit if they can’t work full time?

Are you willing to use days off to drive your partner to the doctor?

Are you willing to accept potential infertility?

Are you willing to see a marriage counselor to help you process the grief and changes together?

Are you willing to see a sex therapist, even if it is super embarrassing and awkward?

Are you willing to deal with your grief?

Are you willing suck up your pride, seek your own support and see a counselor yourself to help you accept, process and manage your own feelings of loss, disappointment, resentment, anger, bitterness and unfairness?

Are you willing to use your leave to help care for your partner if they need surgery?

Are you willing to watch the person you love the most in this world suffer physical and mental pain?

Are you willing to try new activities, ones that you can do together, things you wouldn’t have tried until your options were limited?

Are you willing to advocate for your partner when they have lost hope and when no one else will?

Are you willing to learn about the illness with your partner?

Are you willing to ask your friends and family for personal support?

Are you going to choose to love that person, even if you hate the illness?

You never know how you will react in a situation until you’re in it. But if you can’t answer yes to many of these questions, maybe it’s something to ponder.

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.

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