Is It Too Much to Wish for Marital Bliss?

Kristin Neva avatar

by Kristin Neva |

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I felt twinges of grief as I shopped for a card for a young couple’s wedding.

First card: “Wishes on this special day for happiness, joy, and love, along with a future that will bring everything you are dreaming of.”

Sigh. I wish my husband and I had a future. I was 26 when Todd and I said our vows. He was 32. We never dreamed that seven years and two children later, he would be diagnosed with ALS.

It’s been devastating to watch my once-capable husband lose ability after ability to weakness and paralysis. Daily life became harder, but one of the biggest losses was that of our dreams for the future. Before his diagnosis, life held so many options and possibilities. Where should we take the kids on vacation? Would we end up moving somewhere else in the country or world? Where would life take us?

That feeling of adventure and optimism disappeared with ALS.

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Second card: “Finding each other. Falling in love. Spending forever together. Wishing you an amazing life and more happiness than you can even imagine.”

More happiness than you can imagine? Sigh. Once ALS entered the picture, life has had less happiness than I imagined. I work to find bits of joy, but I’m often sad.

Together forever? It’s a common sentiment, but one that’s not realistic for any couple. Barring an accident where a couple dies at the same time, one spouse will experience the grief of losing the other.

A third card described marriage as a gift from God:

“… where we find the freedom to truly love and be loved in return …”

We still have that. I’m thankful that ALS has not taken love from us, and our love has remained reciprocal. Sadly, I know that’s not the case for everyone with this disease.

“… the support to grow into our brightest dreams, the space to work through challenges with flexibility, faith, and compassion …”

Well, at least this card has balance. While I do feel the weight of crushed dreams, we have learned to be flexible and work through challenges.

“… and the joy of sharing life with the one who makes wherever we are feel like home.”

That last line still rings true. Todd used to be so active, and so early in the disease, he wondered how he would find purpose after it forced him to do less and less. He now spends his days on the computer and hasn’t been out of the house since a doctor’s appointment two and a half months ago, but he still finds projects to work on, topics to research, and books to read. Todd is an encouraging and supportive presence in my life and the lives of our children. He makes us feel like we are home.

I do hope that this young couple has a bright future where dreams come true and they have marital bliss well into old age. We all have those hopes going into marriage, but it’s not guaranteed.

I settled on the third card.


Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.

Comments

Carrie avatar

Carrie

Your post hits home and to my heart. My daughter’s fiancé was diagnosed a little over a year ago with ALS. He is 40, she 33 and I see how ALS has changed their dreams and future. She is his full time caregiver, while working from home. He is struggling with his diagnosis while dealing with his body changes each day.
Each day seems a test of endurance, strength and patience. I fly to them to offer support and relief every two months but it never seems like enough.. I look to each day with them as a gift, and yet mourn the loss of seeing them marry and holding a grandchild in my arms.

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