Today is my wedding anniversary. I've been married for 23 years and known my husband for 29 years. This is more than half of my lifetime. Thus, I have been reflecting on our marriage for much of this week.
I came down with CFS/ME in 2010. One of the HUGE pieces of baggage hubs brought into our relationship was his inability to deal with my getting ill. He was a great partner until I came down with a cold. One of our first fights after we got married was over his wanting to go out to a movie because I had a cold and was stuck in bed so I couldn't do anything with him. I want to say insensitive but that implies cruel intent, it was more like completely clueless. He literally saw nothing wrong with it. I was used to being pampered when I was sick. Talk about a huge disconnect. He didn't even want to be in the same room with me because he didn't want to get sick himself. It took a few years to come to a truce over this one.
In 2011, a year into my illness, our marriage was at its breaking point. The stress of my illness was almost too much for it. He was so angry about me being ill that a nasty mean streak came out. I was actually making plans to leave and he desperately wanted to run away. There was lots and lots of yelling and quite a few things got broken in the kitchen. Occasionally he grabbed at me. He never ever hit me but I was scared shitless. So for my own sanity, my health and my safety, I was actively making plans to get out.
However, that summer he decided to man up and stay with me through the illness. His attitude changed profoundly. The mean streak didn't raise its ugly head as often. Things calmed down. The yelling stopped. He found a new job which he loved and our finances stabilized. Don't ever doubt what a strain finances can put on a marriage.
Over the last two years we have very very slowly been rebuilding our relationship. It still isn't as good as prior to my getting ill but it is WAY better than it was two years ago.
Last night we went out and had a lovely dinner at a local seafood restaurant that we both like. We had a nice chat about nothing in particular. Then went for chocolate shakes on the way home. Going for ice cream is a tradition that predates our marriage. We capped off the evening with a science fiction movie that we both like. Going to see movies is another. All in all, a really pleasant evening.
I liked that the evening included some of our old traditions. I liked the fact that we chatted. When you don't get along with your partner, chatting is very difficult. I use chatting as a gauge for how we are getting along. The only thing that went slightly haywire is that instead of going out to see movies we now tend to watch them at home. This means hubs sprawls out on the couch, gets nice and comfy and promptly falls asleep. Tonight was no different. I suppose I should be flattered. It means he is relaxed and comfortable enough to fall asleep. When he went to bed I tucked him in, kissed him on the cheek and told him I loved him. What a difference from two years ago.
Things are shifting in the right direction. The movement in our relationship seems glacial at times but overall there is progress. Maybe in another year or so things will be great again. I'm looking forward to it.