Saturday, October 25, 2014

12 Things a Marriage Is

This list is from a piece in the Huffington Post.  I think it applies to all couples who are in a committed relationship, not just formally married ones.  I have highlighted the items that are relevant to those of us living with illness in our relationship.

12 Things That Marriage Is:
1. Marriage is the potential for an intense, deep and diverse intimacy. Sexual. Emotional. Relational.
2. Marriage is knowing someone has your back. Always. You have theirs. It's about interdependence.
3. Marriage is realizing that you have been seen in your worst times, and that you are still loved. There's an overriding sense of gratitude and security.
4. Marriage is sharing old jokes. Or some story that may be told over and over but it still makes you laugh 'til you are left gasping for breath.
5. Marriage is getting teary-eyed together.
6. Marriage is thinking about the other one not being there anymore. And not being able to think about it.
7. Marriage is getting irritated by the things that always irritate you. Have irritated you for 24 years. Will irritate you for 24 more. And tolerating it because it is way overbalanced by the good stuff.
8. Marriage is not being able to wait to get home to share some little something.
9. Marriage is wishing you were the one having the operation. Or the illness. Not him.
10. Marriage is sometimes fighting. Trying to slowly learn to fight more fairly. To apologize. To listen. To learn. To find resolution.
11. Marriage is about vulnerability. Giving someone the right to hurt or disappoint you. While simultaneously giving that someone the opportunity to bring you tremendous joy and laughter.
12. Marriage is a promise. A vow. To try the hardest you have ever tried in your life. Marriage is a place for the achievement of a personal integrity like no other.

#6 and #9 really hit home for me.  

#6:  I know I should become more competent in some of the areas Richard has expertise -- like setting up a universal remote for the TV, programming our Nest thermostats, keeping meticulous financial records on templates he designed.  But every time I think of approaching him for lessons in these areas, I back down.  Not because the tasks are onerous for me (although they are), but because my taking them on foretells a time when Richard is not there to do them himself.  And I can't bear thinking about that.

#9:  Sixteen months ago, Richard had open heart surgery and I got to be the caregiver, for a change.  I was not exhausted by the tasks I had to do.  Nor did I feel the least bit burdened.  What I could not tolerate was the depth of my own helplessness -- no matter what I did, I could not make him better, nor could I force his pain to go away.  I realized I'd rather be the patient than be the caregiver unable to cure my sweetie.

What are your thoughts about #6 and #9?  Do you ever imagine losing your partner? Do you ever wish to change places with your partner (whether your the ill or well partner)?

1 comment:

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Yes, I do think of being here w/o OO but not for long and it is, as you so well stated, hard to do so I don't. He's 16 years older so the likelihood of him going first is good but the idea of trying to be without him is unbearable. I have flares and he's the only one who knows what to do to make it ok despite it not being ok at the moment. He know when I have to hit the ER; when I have to have a vaporizer bag full of medicine; when I've turned the corner and am a shade of pink that looks like it might live to see the morn...

He's sick as we speak and it's harder being the well(er) one, for sure. Listening to him be ill is no fun and yet there's little, or most often nothing, I can do to take it away-as you know.

Your list is comprehensive and accurate. Well done.