Marriage and Multiple Sclerosis: Lessons in Love

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

by Jennifer (Jenn) Powell |

Share this article:

Share article via email
neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself

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.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Erin avatar


Thank you for sharing both the trials and the triumphs of your marriage. God gave me a wonderful husband, and MS showed me just how wonderful he really is.

Adrian avatar


This is all true. I was diagnosed 25 years ago, 2 years after I was married. Initially it was relapsing remitting but now it's chronic progressive. I so often feel guilty that I can't help my wife " the way I should" such as getting our luggage, emptying the trunk etc etc. She says she is quite ok with this, sad but ok. She's overseas now seeing our daughter, I just got an apple watch that has the fall detection feature, which is very useful to me ( and reassuring to her)- As you can see from my email address I used to be a doctor but because of my MS I retired 2 years ago at 60

Linda Waxman avatar

Linda Waxman

What can I say? We are going to be married 50 ! !! years next year. Our relationship is strong but still having problems with the disease.

Debby avatar


Thank you for your inspiring story of the challenges that MS brings to a marriage. I have celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary this year and MS has been part of that story for nearly half of that time as I was diagnosed 10 years ago but my symptoms started 9 years before my diagnosis. I too have been blessed to be married to a very special guy who has stood beside me and showed that he is also up for the challenges that MS brings to a relationship. God willing, we will continue to face the future together and see our marriage continue to grow and deepen in ways we may not have known without the arrival of MS.

joshua l jannereth avatar

joshua l jannereth

My wife was dignosed just 3 months into our marriage and it has been extremely difficult. I am 31 years old and she is 28. The fear I have of losing our insurance or her being disabled has been extremly hard. I find myself pushing her sometimes to much because of my fears. Talking through this is very important. Shes still the love of my life and hold hope that a cure will be found in my life time.

Michelle Silvers avatar

Michelle Silvers

Thank you. My husband and I celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary in two days. I was diagnosed when we had been married 13 years, and for the first ten years after my diagnosis, it was RRMS. Then it progressed to SPMS. Since then, I have lost the ability to walk and am chair-bound. My husband has become my caregiver as well as doing all housework and cooking. Definitely not in our plans! But God blessed me with a wonderful man who loves me dearly, as I love him. We have the unknown together.

Michelle Silvers avatar

Michelle Silvers

Sorry, my comment should say we face the unknown together. I really do dislike autocorrect!

Rasha avatar


Thanks for this topic that is what I really need.
Actually I have ms since 6 years I am really afraid can I get married or not?
This question killing me every night before sleep and I am really33 years old
Can I get married?


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here