Let’s talk relationships…
It’s not unusual for Facebook, there’s a tag your friend type round robin going on called Love Your Spouse. I was recently tagged. Although it was fun and I was touched to be tagged (that’s a tongue twister), these things always raise questions for me about perfection. Am I showing enough fab holiday shots, super dinner dates, date nights & general cheer and fabulousness. I’ll be honest it unnerves me, as I scrabble through photos and wear myself out scanning the half decent ones…with a large side order of reminiscing. Our dating schedule is a bit thin these days.
So, I thought I’d delve into the area of relationships within the scope of Chronic illness. Ewww… I can hear someone I know say, (but won’t name). And perhaps you’re quietly & swiftly back peddling to the nearest open tab…even though it was just to do a stock check on prices of bin liners at tesco…runaway!! But stay for a while, it’s worth discussing.
Having spent a lot of time alone & thinking, I’ve had the chance to wander through my variety of friendships in my mind. Work, school, church, hobbies, charity groups, family. I went off the radar for some time in all these areas. Music has helped me express emotions I couldn’t say in words, especially in the early years. And it continues to.
Drum roll…So a heartfelt thank you to ~ Robbie Williams, Michael Bublé, Beverely Knight, James Morrison, Michael Bolton, Coldplay… moving on to worship ~ Hillsong, LCGC, Annointed, Robin Mark, Kathryn Scott, Big Daddy Weave…the list continues to grow…
Astonishingly…I didn’t lose many of those friendships. They operate in a different way now, but thankfully they’re still there. But, my friendships have gone through the mill, so have my family friendships and most of all my marriage. Gasp!
Psalm 34:15b NRSV ~ ..his ears are open..
I have to discuss it. No marriage is perfect, mine certainly isn’t. And on reading some recent very articulate articles on and around the subject, it’s given me courage to say a little too. Chronic illness gives your marriage, you, your partner, spouse, your life plans (however vague) a massive bashing. Your once flexible, carefree (at times), impromptu, attractive, sassy, on trend, interesting, energetic available you gets pretty crushed under the weight of grief of losing who you were as you as a couple, as well as dealing with the illness. There isn’t suddenly a help line to run to, to sort it out. Correction, there is, for me that’s God. But you can still tend to make it up as you go along. You’re not raised & taught to be sick!
Psalm 40:1 NRSV ~ .. he inclined to me and heard my cry.
If there are already challenges, and let’s be open here…all marriages have something that niggles, grates, hurts or even really hurts and may have caused damage. Some repairs take time. Then illness comes along and adds an extra, almost unmanageable weight. So where do you go with it? By the way, I’m not a trained counsellor, so this is not written as advice. I’m just someone, who like so many other people, have travelled along the hiccups of life.
I’ve said to folk in the past, relationships are like bicycles…they need care attention & constant maintenance! (My kids love my analogies, lol!) Thinking about it, they also need air, adjustment, a seat cover… too much?!
Sooo…where do you go with it? Well, you can sit in the shower and sob (on a shower day of course, it would be a bit echoey without the shower going, and as I have to use a shower seat it’s quite handy for a sob fest..with the shower going as.., yes, yes alright), sit in the garden and shout at God in your head… I’ve done & do that a lot (don’t want to upset the neighbours), talk to trusted friends, I do that too (one in particular who I love to bits & I hopefully haven’t driven nuts yet), ask for prayer from a trusted friend, also pray for yourself, or alternatively, just let it squeeze the life out of you.
Psalm 34:18 NRSV ~ The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
Or try & deal with it, work with it and forgive it. Forgive yourself for not being perfect which doesn’t exist anyway…not even in fairy tales. Forgive that you haven’t been able to shave your legs or try the latest foundation, or even begin to know what the latest trends are or what the name of the new restaurant is locally…fusion what! Forgive that you’re tired and grumpy and pretty fed up…etc etc etc…
I was looking for a song to share with a photo today and stumbled across Broken Together by Casting Crowns. It really says it all (well, it said to me after a grumpyish start to the day, away with you Mrs Perfect!)…and prompted this post. We all have brokenness of some sort or another, but we can be broken together. Although the song seems to refer to Marriage, I take it also as relatable to relationships as a whole. Chronic illness will do all it can to break you, your relationships & your spirit.
Romans 5:5 NRSV ~ And hope does not disappoint us.
You don’t have to let it win…but you do have to give yourself a break and allow adjustments in your life, and accept that they need time to happen. You also need time to start healing from the grief of unwanted change. It takes time, but with flexibility, care and consideration it can happen…and adjustments need to continue. As a health visitor said to me when I was a new mum getting frazzled with ever changing routines…”accept it & adapt it will always be changing, that’s life.”
2 Cor 2:7 NRSV ~ …now you should forgive and console…
The Love Your Spouse has in the end been a good thing. It reminded me of joy, silliness, happiness, adventures, victories and forging through life together and not giving in. That the smiley photo may have preceded a rough patch or vice versa, or it was just one of those wonderful memorable days, that we all need to draw on when the going gets tough. Thanks for the tag my fb friend. Xxx
Psalm 34: NRSV ~ …the Lord rescues them and heals them all.
To my husband Peter, I love you. And… I’m a work in progress.
That’s my thought for the day. God bless.
Song suggestion ~
Just Be Held ~ Casting Crowns