How My Husband Exceeds His Vow 'in Sickness and in Health'

When you get married, one thing that some people don’t realize is that the “sickness” in “in sickness and in health” may come earlier than expected. With any illness – chronic, invisible, or not – it can strike at any age. It’s something that I feel like many young, healthy people rarely think about. Especially before saying, “I do.”

I’m apart of a lot of dysautonomia and Ehlers-Danlos support groups online and way too often I see someone who is upset, sick and just at a loss because their spouse or partner doesn’t believe they’re sick – or they’re just tired of dealing with it.

Whether you were sick before you met your partner or if it surfaced after you’d been together for months or years, it can definitely throw a curveball into the relationship. Day to day life becomes unpredictable as well as any long term plans and goals. While only one person may be dealing with the illness itself, you have to acknowledge that all the inconveniences that come with it also greatly effect our loved ones.

I had health problems before my husband (Greg) and I met, but my symptoms took a turn for the worst after we had been together for almost two years. I was diagnosed with dysautonomia in October of 2009 – just one month before Greg proposed.

The year and a half that followed our engagement was less than ideal. I was pretty much stuck in bed 90 percent of the time. Unable to sit up long enough to even eat a meal together without feeling like I was going to pass out. I think the only places we went together during that time were to a few doctor appointments and trips to the emergency room.

Despite all of this, Greg kept coming back to spend weekend after weekend with me at my parents. While I’m sure there were times he was frustrated and probably wanted more for us – he never said a word to me about it. Never complained and never questioned me.

Now don’t get me wrong – of course there were rough times. Once we got married and were living together, there were more changed plans, canceled plans and backing out of things last minute due to me not feeling well which obviously ended in disappointment. Being together all the time gave him a clearer understanding of just how much my health issues effect even little everyday things. How I will sometimes leave any given room in our house in a disaster state because I got too dizzy to finish cooking, cleaning, or whatever I had been doing and had to go lay down. He also learned that “I’m tired” sometimes means that I will cook and eat dinner with him, but then go directly to bed where I will stay sound asleep for the next 12 hours because I’m so exhausted from just being. At times, this can happen for a few days in a row and we feel like we barely see each other even though we live in the same house.

But after being together almost 10 years, he still reassures me that whatever happens isn’t my fault. That I can’t control my health. For those of you who have any kind of illness, you know just how much hearing that means.

So to my hubby, I want to say thank you. For laying around with me for hours when I’m not feeling well. For opening my Powerades when I’m too weak. For making me laugh by comparing me to a wild cat when I almost fall out of your arms after you carried me to the bathroom on a horrible day with vertigo. For accusing me of stealing our kitchen spoons because you know I am low on them (a little spoon theory humor). For going along with my more adventurous plans on my “good days” even when you know it will probably end in a crash. I feel very lucky to have found someone who just “gets it.” Through the highs and lows, I am forever thankful for all that you do to make the best out of everything that comes our way.

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