Every marriage has it’s ups and downs. There is no such thing as the perfect person or the perfect relationship. Having a disability or illness in your marriage can be almost as bad as having an unwanted mistress if you allow it to be one. It can create resentment if you do not talk about problems. It can limit your options for outings and activities if you’re not willing to think outside of the box. We all know the financial stress that it adds to daily life. It can take a perfect day and ruin it if you’re in the mindset to allow it to do that.
I think that being married post accident made things much easier for us as a couple. There was no adjustment period from the ways things were before his accident and how do we do things now. This has always been our marriage and yet there are still times that frustrations surface of why can’t we be “normal”. I’m sorry that my chemo stopped you from having your friends come over because I may become sick. I’m sorry that your anxiety and PTSD won’t allow you to do things when you want to do them. I’m sorry my treatments cost so much financially and the insurance likes to fight tooth and nail for every penny. I’m sorry the world isn’t completely accessible. Here we are today and these are the guilty things we carry on our minds.
We have many friends who say we have the perfect marriage and oh how I’d love to have that type of love in my life. Don’t confuse the two of those things. Love and marriage are not the same thing. Love is a feeling and an action of doing for your partner because you want to make them happy. Marriage is a thing and things go bad. There have been times that we have spoken of divorce because times have been that tough between us, but the love never once changed, only our situation.
What do you do when a good marriage begins to go bad because of things you can’t control? The first step is acknowledging that a problem exists and that is not an easy task when you want to pretend the world is perfect. Then you need to talk about it and who wants to admit that they were possibly wrong? What happens if you can’t come to a compromise or find an answer on your own to fix your problems? Do you seek counseling? Do you divorce? Or do you ignore all of the problems until it blows up in your face? We chose the last choice and hence this blog was born. You’d think that as a therapist I would be able to see and fix these problems as they develop, but that’s not the case at all. It takes two people to make a marriage and two people to let it fall apart.
We all know the difficulties that come with living with a disability. No one ever intends to allow those small instances to build up over time, but that’s what happens when you don’t sit down and talk about these things. One day you wake up screaming at each other that you can’t live like this anymore. Being married is hard, having any disability is hard, but having any type of disability in your marriage can make things twice as hard if you let it happen. Don’t let that happen to you. Sit down and talk about the small things while they are small and can be laughed at together. Discuss that annoying thing that he or she does that OMG if it happens one more time I will scream. Marriage is work because all things require work. Love alone is not enough, and we can’t expect it to be either. Love didn’t create our problems and it’s not going to fix them either.