In every thought pattern of every wedding fantasy that has taken form in a woman’s mind, began at the first attraction to a boy.
Most women are keenly connected to their role as a “help meet”, as God described Adam was in need of.
Women think of their futures with fantasies of their lives with their Knight and Shining Armor. Women often pick out the type of house they want to live in, the way that they want to live and the height and build of their intended.
Women also know what they want to name their children (at least they have played around with baby name conversations and ideas), and most women know when they want this part of their lives to begin.
We always consider the idea that if we grow old with our mates, it is a possibility that someone could become ill. Do we really take enough time to consider the possibility that you may meet someone, fall deeply in love only to find out that they have a serious, life time illness? They could even tell you in the beginning but something in our minds often escapes the seriousness of our partners heart felt disclosure.
Many people are fearful of Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome known as AIDS. We have heard of HIV and the thought of either, you would think would cause people as a majority to maintain some sexual discretion.
Did you know that there are at least one hundred other Auto Immune Diseases? They may not be sexually transmitted but how do you build (this) into your life plan?
What if you meet the man/woman of your dreams and they have a dis-ease that may last their life time? As with AIDS, you don’t see disease on someone’s face when they are undergoing treatment and taking care of themselves. Even in building a relationship, the person could seem “normal” one minute and have symptoms the next.
As a licensed massage therapist who specialized in Fibromyalgia, I know that an Auto Immune Disease such as this, can be devastating for the entire family. There are other diseases too such as: Thyroid Disease, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, or Diabetes.
What if your partner becomes unable to perform sexually as a result of their disease?
In Premarital counseling, many of these questions are asked because both parties must know what they are in for. You will want to know the type of support and understanding your partner needs, and they will want to know exactly how supportive and understanding you are able to be – for the rest of their life!
There is no easy way to have this conversation (with yourself). It is a mistake to ask yourself “Would my partner do this for me?”
More than likely if they are accepting, proactive and sensitive to their own disease they would be equally to someone they chose as a wife/husband.
However, I caution this thought process. When you make a decision, it should never be based on what someone else would do- it must be an authentic heart based decision that you make because you have weighed the pros and cons.
When the light bulb comes on and you realize that this person that you are thinking of having a future with is indeed not well, you have to take personal time to find your own truth- to figure out whether you can make this kind of sound commitment.
Secondly You should look at whether they are willing to take care of themselves- as much as you would (if you decide to go that route). Are they reading books, magazines, seeking care (if possible) from Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine (Alternative Therapies)?
Who wants to spend their entire lives fighting with someone to take their medication or to think of alternative ways to manage their wellness?
Thirdly, Do you believe in healing? Does your partner? This is a great time to discuss your spiritual beliefs about the miraculous and the process of healing. It is also a great time to discuss what beliefs you would honor concerning this disease.
What it means to be honest
There are professional athletes marrying trophy wives almost everyday it seems. They give no thought to injury. In one of my 2010 movies that I watched arguably too many times “Just Wright”, we saw how Paula Patton played the girlfriend of Common. (I’m using the real names of the actors here.)
Common was looking for love but found foolishness in Paula Patton’s character. She wasn’t there to help him heal if he became hurt- she was there to enjoy the travel, spotlight and shopping therapy for her own inner unhappiness.
I know of a woman who suffers deep depression, and has been married for many years. She is an author, she and her husband are both Psychiatrists. She was diagnosed prior to marriage, and he was aware of the important role that he would play in supporting her healing, and going through battle storms with her mental illness.
By no means am I telling you which side to choose, but I am saying that as the person caring for the person with the disease, you must decide a few things.
Make sure you answer these honestly- all of them.
1. Is this person the one? Is this person all that you’ve been waiting for and someone you can’t live without?
2. Is their disease a non-negotiable? Is this something that makes you want to end the relationship? Sometimes it may not be the disease, it could be the symptoms.
3. If the disease could affect your sex life- how many nights without sex, with quick sex, or weak sex could you handle before wanting to leave? Could this part of the relationship be compromised? What about alternative therapies to boost the immune system?
4. If the disease could affect an other needs you have in the relationship like emotional stability, how long before you tire?
I never advise people to give marriage a try. Nike- with the greatest tag line of all-time “Just Do It” really does explain it all.
If you choose to marry, it cannot be the “disease” that terminates the marriage because you have your own due diligence to do.
A few quick tips:
1. Ask you partner if you can go to the doctors with them one time so that you can ask questions, and learn how you can help them too, at home.
2. Do your own research, suggest alternative therapies like vitamins, supplements, massage therapy, yoga, water exercise, and sex. People do not realize the healing power of sex. Understanding the spiritual purpose of sex separates lust from love. All things work together for our good. I need to expound on this in another article.
3. You should tell them what your expectations are of them. If they won’t take care of themselves by reducing their own risks of worse symptoms, or diseased state- wisdom says to factor all of this into your decision-making.
An example would be that you expect them to take their medicine, order a new prescription before the current one runs out, quit smoking, or do some form of exercise or better eating that increases their immune system.
Disclaimer: If they are resistant to your questions, they aren’t ready to be your husband/wife. Two become one, and this type of commitment can affect the income of the household and the balance of household duties for example. Do not fear your response, ask the tough questions. Also, it is not okay to control anyone. God did not permit us authority to control other people. We have free will, however, you do have the right to ask questions about a person’s willingness to take care of themselves so that you can look at the whole picture.
I wrote this blog as a general topic about relationships and disease. There are support groups for everything including family members for coping with the person suffering from the disease.
Diseases are not something that happens to fat people, white people, ugly people or short people. There are some diseases more prevalent in a certain group of people but the reality is, you must consider what you are open to supporting in a relationship sooner than later. Diseases, as I mentioned earlier are not something found exclusively in old people.
Child Sexual Abuse victims
As a side bar, I build awareness about child sexual abuse. I write tips, and talk about the trauma that one in four women, and one in six men must overcome. I will not refer to Child Sexual Abuse as a disease- as this blog specifically addresses, however even with child sexual abuse trauma their are diseases that manifest physically and/or mentally in some people. Are you prepared to support your mate, if the root of their illness is related to trauma?
I hope that you have a few courageous conversations, get all of the facts before making your decision. And, this may seem contrary to my last sentence but, in the first two seconds of your thoughts about whether this is your mate- what does your instinct tell you?
Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse expert and relationship mentor. She offers ministerial counseling to support others in healing and making important decisions about life, love and healthy relationships.