Ben and I have been married for eighteen years now. We’ve grown in our marriage in so many areas. But there is one question that I still haven’t figured out yet: how can I separate myself and my moods from those of my husband?
I’m sure many couples grapple with this question. Over the years as we’ve grown together in living as “one flesh,” I’ve found that Ben’s failures feel like my failures and his successes become my successes. Of course, the opposite is often the case as well. Many times, Ben’s strong faith helps me when my faith is weak. Ben is there to lift me up, remind me of God’s truth, and pray with me and for me when I am struggling. And I know I do the same for him.
These things make a marriage. But when one partner in a marriage repeatedly suffers due to ill health, job loss, depression or other circumstances, I think this becomes much more of an issue. Most times, I find that I struggle to remain positive or joyful when Ben is doing poorly. When he suffers, I suffer. I find that I define my day by the quality of Ben’s health. If he is struggling, I struggle. If he is seizure free, I feel the freedom to do well…although often it takes a few days of Ben doing well before I can fully breathe freely and relax (although I must say that as of writing this, Ben has been seizure free for the past week since he’s been home from the hospital).
What does being “one flesh” really mean? I would love to remain faith-filled and not have my moods dictated by the state of my husband’s health. But is this even what God wants? What does it mean to love and care for someone, to bear his burdens and walk alongside him, when he is suffering in body and/or spirit? And how do I live a full life, with friends of my own and work and responsibilities, without feeling guilty or depressed because my husband is often home suffering alone, without the opportunities and support that I have due to my own good health?
I’ve never asked for comments on this blog. But I would love your thoughts, either by comment or email. I’m specifically thinking of this from a woman’s perspective. How do I live with my husband in a God-glorifying way when he is suffering? How do I support him and care for him without allowing his circumstances to completely define my mood?