When Fibromyalgia Challenges Your 'in Sickness and in Health' Vows
When you are a healthy bride and you’re standing there with the groom repeating your wedding vows, you never anticipate having to deal with the “sickness” part of those vows. It’s a fabulous, glorious day and all you see ahead of you is love and minor speed bumps in the road of your romance. No one anticipates a spouse will receive a diagnosis that will become life-altering for both of you.
Some spouses will find it more difficult because this is not what they bargained for. What makes it even more challenging is that fibromyalgia is such an unpredictable illness, where symptoms can change daily, even hourly. It may appear you are just being lazy or looking for attention. You and I know that’s not the truth. No one would choose this.
If one of the couple is diagnosed early in the marriage before deep levels of trust have been developed, the marriage may not survive. Counseling and help from friends and family to relieve some of the burden on the spouse that is well may take some pressure off the marriage. It will keep you from feeling less like patient and caretaker and more like husband and wife.
When the one with fibromyalgia has a good day, do something together that you both enjoy. Keep investing in your spouse and your marriage as much as you are able.
Keeping the lines of communication open is super important. Following are some conversation starters:
1. What do you need most from me?
2. Do you feel safe sharing all your feelings, positive and negative, with me?
3. How comfortable are you being emotionally intimate with me?
4. Do you think we have enough fun?
5. Do you feel like you can be yourself with me?
6. Are there things you wish you didn’t have to do?
7. What can I do to make things easier for you?
8. Does it feel safe to be weak and vulnerable with me?
9. When was the last time I made you feel cared for?
10. Do you feel you can be yourself around me?
11. Do I tell you often enough how much I appreciate you?
12. What was it about me that you fell in love with? Do you love that still?
13. What can we do to put some excitement into our marriage?
When you ask these questions, it’s so important to allow each other time to respond, no interrupting. These kinds of questions have really helped my hubby and me stay connected and closer emotionally. We try to come up with a question to spend time discussing at least twice a week. I’ve had some real eye-openers when we have had some really honest dialogue. Our marriage is the best it has been as a result.
I know a lot of us felt that the “in sickness” part of our vows would be for when we were old and gray. Unfortunately that’s not what’s happened for me. Let me encourage you to never stop fighting for your marriage and to keep open and honest communication flowing.
If your spouse has chosen not to stay in the marriage because of your fibromyalgia, just know you are not alone and my heart truly breaks for you. It’s abandonment piled on top of illness and that’s so unfair. Just remember this community is here for you.
I hope this proves to be helpful and a blessing to you. What are your thoughts?
This post originally appeared on Fibromyalgia News Today.
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