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To My Husband Who Vowed to Be With Me in Sickness and in Health

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Ten years ago, we started seriously discussing the idea of marriage. That was oh so long ago. We had so many hopes and goals. We talked about things like having children, finances and matters of health. We knew I had chronic health issues back then, but try as we might, there was no way we could imagine how it would impact our marriage or how much worse I would become.

Remember how much marriage itself was an adjustment? Add in raising babies and dealing with unexpected complications of health issues, and our commitment to each other was both tested and cemented all at once. The scary moments often drew us closer together, while the day-to-day weariness of having to deal with my limitations tended to wear us both down. The frustration sometimes fueled anger and resentment for you and me both.

At times, I wondered if our marriage could handle the strain.

And yet here we are, still very much in this together, and still in love. Ten years ago, I needed flowers and chocolate as a token of that love. Now, while I still enjoy receiving such gifts, I’m overwhelmed with the many other ways you show me love as only you can. The acts of selfless love. The moments you give of yourself when it’s inconvenient and even unpleasant. It’s often the little things that turn out to be a big deal for me, and those are times you go the extra mile without complaining.

Times like the other day when I apologetically mentioned we’d need to bring the wheelchair into town because I know how it can be a hassle, and you cheerfully responded that you were already planning on it. Or like the other night, when you returned from caring for our child in the middle of the night to find me in pain, struggling with spasms throughout my body that wouldn’t stop twisting my arms and legs. You got back out of bed to make sure I took my medication because I couldn’t remember. I felt so loved.

No one knows me and my specific needs better than you do after so many years of living this together. When I’m at my worst and need assistance to get to the bathroom, you’re there facing me, lending your arms for me to grasp for dear life as I fight to make my legs work. You walk backward at the perfect pace so I can try to make my way the few steps it takes to get from bedside to bathroom. In the midst of my concentrating hard to make sure I don’t fall and keep moving forward in this slow dance of sorts, I feel the love again, and my heart bursts with gratitude.

It’s these moments I must remember and cherish when the going gets tough and we don’t seem to be on the same page for anything. When we’re both fed up with it all. When you’re grumpy and I feel all alone. When you’re irritated and complaining, and I forget I’m not the only one in pain. I’m so blessed to have a family who cares and a partner who still loves and cares for me. I know this sort of strain can take its toll on relationships, causing them to crumble. Certainly this was way more than either of us signed up for, and life has turned out differently than either of us hoped or expected. But we’re doing it together, and I’m so grateful.

I’m so glad that while my physical limitations have changed so much of what life is like, we still enjoy life together. Somehow you still find my sense of humor funny. We love to live and laugh together and cherish the moments we get alone in the midst of raising four precious children. Life is difficult at times, but it’s good.

I’m so glad we’ve spent the past 10 years together, and I pray we have many more to come. I’m so blessed to have someone who has stuck with me through everything, especially in sickness and in health.

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Originally published: November 4, 2015
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