Saturday, January 3, 2009

Should I Leave, My Wife Has MS?

I have analytics setup on this blog to track the posts that are most read and where the readers are coming from. I was checking them the other day and I noticed that someone found my blog by typing "should i leave, my wife has ms". This really struck me and I haven't been able to get it off of my mind since. After looking around the net the last couple of years I seem to come across men often that are trying to decide if they need to leave their wives after they are diagnosed with MS. I know how hard it is to deal with the physical limitations, the mood swings, the financial issues and all of the other things that come along with the disease, but I would never leave my wife because of a disease.

To the guy that wrote this, please stay with your wife! She needs you now more than ever. When I first met my wife she didn't tell me about the disease for awhile. She later told me that she kept it hidden because the men she had told before just checked out of the relationship. I didn't check out and it surprised her. Your wife needs your attention, love and affection more now than ever before. My wife has commented over the years that she is very fortunant because her family has been so supportive. Your wife needs that rock to lean on because she feels so vulnerable and helpless.

Is it stressful to live with someone that is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis? Sure it is. We paid on doctor bills for years after she was diagnosed, and we are always paying for treatments and doctors to help her. She is forgetful at times, moody at times, stressed at times, and can't give me the attention at times that she would like, but that doesn't make me love her any less. My wife knows that I stress about her and the disease, but she also knows that when she needs me, I will be there. One thing I have learned through all of this is that the word love is very skewed today. Love can mean all sorts of things. For instance, I love tacos or I love that music. Love is so much more than that. As a father, I love my daughter and would lay down my life for her. As a husband, I love my wife whether she is numb, can't walk, can't see, can't talk or is doing great. Love isn't conditional. If your love is conditional, then you've bought into a lie about what love is.

Please stay with your wife! Research the disease, and find out how you can help her. Go out of your way to be intentional about your life and arrange it to support her and let her know that you are there. Tell her how beautiful she is and how much you appreciate her. Give her massages to help with the pain, and be patient. It took me years to understand how the disease affected my wife, and in the beginning I didn't have a clue why she reacted the way she did at times. Now, I know, and it helps me to know what to do and what not to do to really support her. After 13 years of marriage, I wouldn't choose a different path. I have had to put aside selfishness and embrace hard times, and it has made me a better man. She will make you a better man if you will stay with her.

12 comments:

Sonja said...

A beautiful post...
a must read for everyone out there going through the same disease-related "issues"...
your wife is indeed very lucky to have a man like you..
...and you are equally lucky to have her.
Best to both of you

hisgirl said...

I am 34 and was just diagnosed on Monday, I have been married for almost 14 years, 2 kids, 10 & 13...I have not seen my husband since I was diagnosed as he works away from home, this has been one of my biggest fears...I am going to show him your post, thank you so much for writing this, it really is touching!!!

doc said...

my wife has MS too. she told me about it before we married, actually before we started dating. three years later we married. three months after that she had the biggest flare so far. numbness in feet, legs, back, loss of the use of one hand. until then she really only had fatigue to deal with, and i thought it would always be that way.

now i am scared to death. i see my own life ending. where is my compassion?

Cory said...

dear doc,
i have been there. i have been right where you are at, where you are scared and don't know what to do. after my wife couldn't walk for a month, i really thought we were going to have to change our whole lifestyle etc., and both of us were scared. i guess it all changed for me when i realized that we did have some control and through natural treatment she regained all of her function. i've been there and it's hard and stressful for everyone, including your wife. i know that my wife was stressed and was totally vulnerable at that point in our marriage. we made it through and have a stronger marriage now because of those trials and hardships. please let me know if you have any questions that i could help with. i know we have felt alone in this struggle many times, and i hope you have found that there are others of us that are dealing with the same things on a daily basis. we will be praying for you and your wife.

Flicktron said...

I just came across your blog, by searching 'massage for wife' and I came across this post.

It is wonderful to know that you're sticking with your Wife. My Wife got diagnosed when we had our 2nd child, three years into our marriage. From a selfish standpoint, it's been the hardest thing for myself to get adjusted to, and well, you can't get adjusted to this disease.

I've had people come up to me and tell me why do I deal with such things, and my own family tells me that my life is ruined. It's absolutely ridiculous.

I'll be staying with my Wife, as scared as I am, I can't imagine how scared she is, and the only way for me to help is to make sure I'm there for her.

Anonymous said...

I knew my wife had MS before I married her and for the first few years it was fine and we dealt with it. Now all she ever does is sleep 18 hours a day. I am so lonely. Her family is of little help. I feel like they won the jackpot when I showed up cause now they have me to deal with all the issues, financial and otherwise. We no longer have any intimacy and my wife shows no affection to me anymore, as she is just always tired and in a bad mood now. I feel like my life is over and I am so depressed over this. I am unable to to get her to eat healthier and she is now at 360lbs. If she falls down now I cant pick her up anymore. I feel so lost and alone and I have no one to talk to anymore. I hate my life

Cory said...

Dear Anonymous, your post resonates with me in so many ways. There have been times in my marriage when I also felt alone, yearning for attention from my wife when she wasn't able to give it. It sounds to me like you really love your wife and want the best for her or you wouldn't be taking care of her and trying to be there when she needs you. One thing that I have had to do in my marriage is to take the lead, learn as much as possible and take decisive action to help my wife. That has been hard at times, but we have changed our lifestyle and our diet, and it has not always been easy. We have purged our home of "bad" foods, cancelled anything that didn't support our lifestyle and radically changed our world to fit within what we thought would help her health. She wasn't always crazy about the changes, and neither was I, but we worked through them and supported one another through all of it. I have chosen the route to love my wife passionately and intensely, and through that love we have been able to grow closer, increase her health and have a strong marriage. We will be in prayer for you and if you need anything, please shoot me an email at mywifehasms@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

My father was diagnosed early in my parent's marriage with MS, very debilitated and remained so throughout their 55 years of marriage. At the end of her life, my mother said if she had to do it all over again, sacrificing, day to day care giving, she would not do it. She said she had wasted her life. There is a lot to be said for staying and standing by your spouse, but think carefully, do not allow the disease to run your lives, accept help when possible. Maybe this would have made a difference on her outlook. At the end of your life, you don't want your self imposed martyrdom to be, in your own eyes, a waste.

Cory said...

Hey anonymous, great advice. Life is ever changing and it is tough when MS rules your world. We have chosen a different path and your advice about getting help is huge. It is hard to ask for help sometimes, but it can be a necessary thing to keep from losing your life because of MS. Thanks for the comment and adding a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

My wife just had a CIS and the outlook is pretty scary. We have only been married a couple of years and do not have any children, although children were part of the plan. Her mother had MS so it is really her worst nightmare. She also saw the difficulty her parents had and how bitter her mother became because of the disease.
It was a difficult life for them and one she does not want that for us (me?). She told me she wants me to leave if turns out to be MS. This is not something I am willing to do...but I am scared. How will life be for us? I keep thinking this is all a dream. This only happens to other people right?

Cory said...

Hey Anonymous, I am so sorry it took me this long to get back to you. Yes, we know how it feels to not be sure how life will be, and we know how easy it is to get discouraged and to feel some resentment and bitterness towards MS, which can in turn be turned towards the ones we love. There have been times when we have struggled, but sacrifice and struggle has made our marriage stronger. I am constantly letting my wife know that I love her, MS and all. She needs that reassurance and she needs my support. I can guarantee that she struggles sometimes because she can't be the mom or wife that she wants to be due to the MS, but it is a choice to be bitter or just accept what she can do and do her best. My daughter and I love the fact that she wants to do and be the best for us, and we support her in that, even when she pushes beyond her limits and struggles. I would never stifle her desire to push beyond, even though I know it's not always in her best interest of her health. I would suggest that you keep supporting your wife, and letting her know that you are there for her and that MS doesn't define her. She needs to know that MS is not the end and doesn't rule your world. I would love to know how you're doing, and if you have any specific questions please shoot me an email at mywifehasms@gmail.com.

vwmaribug said...

As a wife who has MS, I applaud you husbands who have shown true love by sticking by our side in this journey of unpredictability & change. with 10 years post diagnosis & 6 of those being married I have come to terms with the simple ways of compassion & concern shown to me by my spouse. Certainly many MS wives feel as grateful as I do for all your hard, emotional work. We truely rely on you as our pillars of strength as our companions. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU and don't give up on us as we don't give up on the deep love that grows with each passing symptom.