Ten years ago this weekend, my husband and I had our very first date. We’ve had some amazing times and some tumultuous times, but most of the time, it is somewhere in that comfortable state of connection and friendship that makes the weeks and years zoom by.
Relationships are hard. Relationships with a chronic illness are even harder. Not only do you lose yourself, but you lose chunks of the couple you once were together. It is so easy to get wrapped up in yourself and neglect your partner. Priorities shift, dreams become deferred. Sacrifice, guilt, expectation and resentment easily seep into the cracks. The enormity of how my illness has affected our relationship is difficult for me to even reflect on, let alone put into words. In the beginning, I felt it was my burden to bear alone and I did not fall apart very gracefully. I dug my nails into my previous identity and grieved every single loss loudly and fiercely. I am a lion who is no longer able to hunt, but I am still very much a lion.
Thankfully, he fell in love with the lion in my heart and has stood by me with a strength and tenacity I never would have expected from another person. And somewhere along the road, we learned to cope as a couple and to keep our relationship a priority in our lives. We are far from perfect and have to work hard to keep compromise, understanding and communication in the picture, but I think we are one of the lucky ones.
Cheers to a decade! And hopefully many more. ❤