The importance of looking out for #1

In a perfect marriage, you and your spouse would always walk side-by-side, hand-in-hand, tackling whatever life throws at you as a team. You’d always say (and mean) I love you before turning out the light, and the toilet seat would always be in the down position.

But let’s face it, there is no such thing as the perfect marriage. The toilet seat is up more often than not, one or both of you will be too tired or angry to utter those three special words, and sometimes one of you will need more holding hands.

There will be times when you will need to be your spouse’s support system (emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical), and you just can’t expect much support in return. And that’s okay. That’s one of the reasons marriage can be so awesome—they support you when you need it, and you support them.

But what happens, when your own strength begins to fail and they still need you to hold them up?

Andy’s Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis began a period of struggle within our marriage. He was dealing with anger, embarrassment, fear, frustration, and a myriad of other emotions. I was struggling with my own frustration and fear, but I knew it was important to be strong for him. I started making dinner more often. I encouraged him to exercise with me—all the while spending hours online trying to figure out a way to keep our current lifestyle from disappearing into a world of broccoli and kale.

I was exhausted trying to stay positive and uplifting when all I really wanted was to dive into a gallon of ice cream (it didn’t even need to be good ice cream) and drown my sorrows.

I can remember one day, I just needed to feel like everything was normal so I went to Taco Bell and got a soft taco and a 7-layer burrito. I stuffed both in my purse and sneakily ate them in the kitchen while Andy was watching TV. It wasn’t healthy—emotionally, or physically—but it was what I needed at the time.

It’s important to remember as you’re struggling with your spouse, or friend, or parent, or sibling as they go through the early stages of a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis, that sometimes it’s okay to take a step back and do something for yourself. Go buy yourself some nail polish, get a massage, go for a walk, indulge in something you really love. And don’t feel guilty. You’ll feel renewed and stronger. Strong enough to keep being the strong one for a little while longer.

In the years that have passed, our lives have returned to a better form of normal. Our meals are healthier, we spend more time being active, and less time watching TV. We’re happier inside and out. We’ve gone back to walking side-by-side, hand-in-hand. And we’ve realized that all the struggle was worth it to see Andy come out on the other side stronger than before.

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