Marriage Isn’t Hard Just Because I’m Sick
I wish someone actually talked about marriage.
And not just marriage to a sick person, though I am one. And not just how to fix a marriage. I don’t want someone to offer advice on what I’m doing wrong (plenty). I just want someone to talk about it honestly.
I’ve been in unhappy relationships and I’ve been in this one, and I am not in an unhappy relationship. But I’m not always in a happy one, either. Why did no one tell me this is OK?
Sometimes I daydream about a boring life. A vanilla husband. Someone who doesn’t challenge me (although my husband does think vanilla is the optimal ice cream and latte flavor, and that very much challenges me) and who doesn’t know all my damage. Someone I didn’t just send a photograph of Lanacane numbing spray to so that he can buy more at the store.
Someone who didn’t just text me the following phrase: “Although much is surely valid, I’m concerned that you may also be on a witch hunt of culpability for every wayward feeling in a pained and failing and needing intervention body.” (He said this because I was being a B, and not because the rest of my name is -ailey.)
If we could determine the success of a long-term relationship by playing slots on our cellphones (though I’m pretty sure no one calls them cellphones anymore), what would we find? And aside from the fact I literally had to Google “type of gambling where you spin machine” to make that reference, our life has been anything but vanilla.
If I close my eyes and scroll through past texts on my phone, with zero selective choice to benefit this column, I get the following: “Grabbing us Taco Bell… need anything?” Which, come to think of it, might be where this column ends, because I’m pretty sure the jury just rested its case on true love.
Still, as many of us know, once you’re an almost-decade into the patterns and Taco Bell paradigms of a particular union, you start to see past the pretty texts of this kind, and only feel micro-rejections from years of wear and tear.
My parents have been together for well over half a century and I always thought I’d be the same. Many don’t even know I put half a dozen years into what was supposed to be my forever before my actual ever-after arrived. I felt like I couldn’t exhale until we surpassed that initial time served.
For a while, my brain made my first relationship feel right. I had two, in fact. Their names were Kage and Follin, and they were reason enough to stay and make anything work.
But now, I’m finally in the right kind of forever, and our Cellphone Slot Machine reveals all sorts of things no one would want to admit. “Hey, there’s no gas in the car,” I texted my partner a week ago. “Is that the one you took?” Scroll again. “Um… why is Follin holding two kittens in the photo?” (That one he sent to me on the day I adopted two shelter kittens and didn’t tell him. Disregard.) Scroll again.
We see love from afar — love in a TV show or on Instagram — and we put it on a pedestal because we want to believe in it. I know I do. (Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are the best thing to ever happen to me in 2021.)
You could wager it’s the Sick that makes it hard for us, or the two children who came with loads of trauma, or the differences above and beyond, but I think it’s the fact that no one talks about how hard it is for everyone. If we knew from a young age that nothing is vanilla and there are literal rocky roads that we don’t describe frequently enough, would we keep going? (I really can’t let this ice cream metaphor go. If he had better taste in flavors, I would. It’s his fault.)
I don’t always like what I see when I scroll through my phone right now, but I do like the person I’m talking to. And maybe that’s the takeaway. Why did no one tell me this is OK?
“Finally wrangled kids,” he writes. “Heading home.”
“What would life be without those texts?” I savor for a moment.
Note: Cystic Fibrosis 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 Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.