Marriage and Multiple Sclerosis: Lessons in Love
Marriage is hard. It is also the most beautiful, sacred, and honest of all my experiences. Our vulnerable reality is a far cry from the blissful naivete of our wedding day. We had no idea how trying our future would become or how deeply our devotion would grow. I credit God for this trajectory.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) had no place in our hopes and dreams. We made promises in a state of euphoric arrogance. It was us against the world. I smile as I recall the simplicity of that day. I am grateful that, for a while, we lived with that enchantment.
I was diagnosed after 11 years of marriage. MS came and shook my world — it rocked both of us. The changes were seismic. My husband did not ask to be a caregiver, and I resented needing one. He would refute this, but we both resented the invasion of this disease into our lives.
And that is OK.
Resentment is a natural emotion. But its toxicity can kill the strongest marriage. We had tearful nights and silent dawns. We went through the motions. Then one day, we wanted more. We wanted each other but our attempts had failed. We knew we could not do it alone, so we sought help.
We became a couple educated. We cried and hung on to each other for dear life. Our tears were for rather than because of each other. We learned to identify our needs and communicate them. We gave each other permission to feel, and by doing so, bolstered each other.
I learned that my husband is fiercely devoted. Why it took such devastation to discover this is a mystery to me. I allowed him to be my hero, and he let me be his. I discovered that I had incredible strength.
MS brings so much loss. Feeling alone in the company of your spouse is frightening. Loss of intimacy, income, togetherness, and support is overwhelming. Rediscover and redefine. Reach out your hand; I assure you that they are just as scared as you are. You have the power to shift your relationship.
We will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary toward the end of this month. We have experienced incredible highs and harrowing lows. Our journey has had hairpin turns, arduous climbs, and smooth flows. We have run low on fuel and stalled many times, using our jumper cables to revive our marriage. But we thrive.
We continue to travel this road together.
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