I won the ‘love lottery’ when I met my husband.
I’m not saying that he’s perfect. I’m not saying that he doesn’t drive me crazy sometimes (both in good and bad ways –wink, wink). And I’m not saying that our marriage has been all smooth sailing.
What I am saying is, he’s an amazing person, and I’m so very lucky that he’s mine.
Having a chronic condition takes a lot of my attention. In the daily struggle to keep participating in my own life, it’s easy to get narrow vision and lose sight of the things that are going on around me. In the haze of pain and anxiety that clouds pretty much my every waking moment, it’s easy to forget that I’m not the only one suffering.
My husband will be the first to tell you that being in pain is worse than loving someone who is in pain, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a picnic to be on his side of the fence.
He’s not in pain, but the effect of my chronic condition on him is multi-faceted. He gets to deal with my wildly fluctuating and unpredictable emotional states. He fields my calls during his busy work day when I’m sobbing and hysterical – sometimes for no apparent reason. He’s the primary breadwinner, but also picks up the slack when I can’t be the primary caregiver for our children. He routinely takes on jobs that fall within my scope of responsibility – although I’m pretty sure I never agreed that cleaning bathrooms was something I was willing to do 😉
Plus, let’s not forget that he has to witness my struggle. And most of the time there isn’t a thing he can do to help – not to ease the pain anyway. Not an easy position to be in – can make a person feel pretty helpless.
He does all this without complaint, at least to me anyway; I’m not sure what goes on when he’s at the pub with his friends. They don’t give me strange looks though, so I think they’re talking about something else.
So, today, in recognition of all the caregivers out there, I would like to give a shout-out to the ways MY HUSBAND is absolutely AMAZING – this list is seemingly endless, so I’m going to limit to 10.
10 REASONS MY HUSBAND IS AMAZING:
He makes me a priority.
TRANSLATION: He never blows me off or complains when I call him at work crying.
Every single time, he calmly talks me down from whatever crisis I’m having – real or imagined. And he never brings it up again, ever.
He recognizes and respects that I have limitations.
TRANSLATION: He never suggests that I do more housework, no matter how far behind I am or how much ‘free-time’ I’ve had.
He always says, “You should read your book,” when I ask if I should read or do some housework.
He believes that I need “me” time, even if it seems that I’m always ‘resting.’
He’s always available to listen.
TRANSLATION: He never says he doesn’t have time to talk with me about the anguish I’m feeling.
It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve had the same conversation or what else he was trying to do. Sometimes, I can see in his eyes that he’s overwhelmed by the magnitude of my emotional turmoil, but he never turns me away.
He’s unfailing in his belief in me.
TRANSLATION: He never sees my disabilities or my limitations.He only ever sees and encourages my abilities and my strengths – even when I’m blind to them myself. Click To Tweet
He regularly puts my ‘needs’ first.
TRANSLATION: He never says “no” when I need him to go the store to get me a sweet treat because I’ve reached my coping limit.
Doesn’t matter what time it is. He never mentions that I’m supposed to be sugar-free while he’s doing it or while I’m eating it. AND later, when I’m bemoaning the fact that I’ve put on weight, he never mentions the late night chocolate, ice cream or gummy bears.
He’s one of my biggest fans 🙂
TRANSLATION: He always gives me space to pursue my passions (like writing this blog).
Even if it means he has to clean the bathroom when he gets home from work.
He believes I will get better.
TRANSLATION: He always supports me in whatever alternative therapy or lifestyle I’m desperately trying in an attempt to be ‘healthy.’
Even though sometimes I’m pretty sure I can hear the scientist in him cringing.He believes I will get better. Click To Tweet
He recognizes my need for personal growth, despite my health challenges.
TRANSLATION: He always encourages me to try new things or pursue new passions.
It doesn’t matter that he knows that my new passion will take time and sap energy that I could be using for domestic pursuits like cleaning the bathroom.
He’s endlessly patient.
TRANSLATION: He always humours my quirkiness/neurosis.
He always texts me on his way home, so that I don’t waste precious emotional energy agonizing over whether or not he’s dead – even though it’s been 10 years since he was hit on his bike, and I should be over it by now.
And he doesn’t book the Friday night flight to Calgary because it ALWAYS gets delayed, and I inevitably start panicking that the plane crashed, and he’s dead – even though he’s never been in a plane crash or turned up dead.
He shows that he loves me.
TRANSLATION: He always kisses me goodnight 🙂
Every night – not matter how cranky or I’ve been. He says it’s ‘cause he loves me, and I’m his girl.
He says I’m his favourite person.
WHAT DOES HE ASK IN RETURN?
He doesn’t ask for much. He’s content with just having the freedom to play rugby. He goes to rugby practice once a week and plays a game most Sundays – that’s it. And I’m happy to comply.
Being a caregiver of any variety is HARD WORK and emotionally draining. It’s also usually a thankless job, because the person being cared for is often so emotionally depleted themselves (or in the case of children just don’t know any better) that they’ve got nothing to give back.
I’m willing to bet though, if you could pull back the layers of sickness and pain, every single one of those people being cared for would want to show their thanks. We do recognize how fortunate we are that we have people who care about us enough to support us in our struggle. We just don’t always have the resources left to express it.
I’m sending hugs and appreciation out to all those people out there who care about someone suffering from a chronic condition, but particularly to my husband who stands beside me every day to make sure that I can be the best me.
I’m tearing up as I write this because I’m so grateful – and prone to crying at tender moments.
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