I Like Ours Better
There’s always a lot of hype that surrounds holidays, and Valentine’s Day is certainly right there keeping pace with all the rest. It’s supposed to be a day to celebrate your love for one another in some special way with gifts, dinner out, and other more intimate ways of expression. I’ve never been overly romantic; though Lynn was. He used to always send me flowers where I worked or made me some type of special decorative object. He always did something special because he enjoyed showing his expressions of love in his own way.
Now that he is unable to get out on his own, he isn’t able to do those things anymore. He can’t make anything since his hands don’t work and he can’t order anything to surprise me since I manage the household funds and would have to type in the credit card information. He can’t take me to dinner because he tries to stick to his special diet and by night time he’s pretty wiped out anyway (plus this time of year we avoid crowds anyway due to cold and flu germs).…he can’t show other more intimate expressions of love independently—other than a kiss. He can’t put his arms around me or hold me or cuddle with me unless I position him like a manikin and honestly, with my arthritis pain and muscle spasms, that’s just not something I want to do for a few minutes of physical closeness.
You would think that this loss of physical intimacy might have adversely affected our relationship, but I honestly think just the opposite is true. Before Lynn became so dependent on me, we both were VERY independent souls. Both had previous marriages that did not succeed and both had learned to be both a mother and a father, a housekeeper and a maintenance worker, a CEO and a front-line worker. Learning to share and include one another was not always our first instinct and that oversight often caused conflict. We may have had physical intimacy but we didn’t have as much emotional intimacy.
While it may sound strange to say this, Lynn’s loss of mobility has lead to our relationship actually becoming much closer than we ever were when we could go out and participate in things together. Now we have to share everything. If he has an itch, I have to scratch it. If he needs a bath, I have to give it. If he has a problem…he now tells me about it. There is a strong connection that bonds us like nothing we had before. No longer am I shut out of his life; we truly are one.
You may be thinking that our relationship is one sided. I do all the giving and he does all the taking but that’s not true. Now, because we share so much of life with each other, we actually do more things together so we experience the same things and therefore, have more in common. He provides me with emotional support and participates in helping me to face life’s challenges. Since I work from home, he overhears when I am having a stressful day and he is there to allow me to vent or to break the tension. He shows his appreciation for me ALL THE TIME. He thanks me for virtually everything and he is all the time telling others how wonderful he thinks I am. Those things are good to hear and not something that all married couples share. Our relationship is strengthened by the challenges of our struggles and the celebrations of our victories. We have deep roots of faith in Christ and the support of our church family. We are blessed by our children and our families of origin. We have a greater intimacy than we ever had before.
Yes, our relationship is not your typical husband/wife partnership. At times it seems tipped more in my direction than his since I carry the burden of managing health and home but it’s a relationship that works for us.
I found a Valentine’s card that I just had to give him this year. On the front it says, “I’m not interested in a nice, normal relationship!” Then you open the card and it says, “I like ours better.” That pretty much says it all.