Through Sickness and Health

Hey loves!

I have another marriage-building guest post for you today from a dear friend who started Lupas Sistas. (Check then out on Facebook!) “Through sickness and health” is a vow this couple knows all-too well. Like, comment and share!

FROM THE MR: LUPUS & MARRIAGE
When I was first asked to write a blog about how Lupus has affected my marriage I was hesitant. I didn’t know if I wanted to really face the reality of what Lupus, an auto-immune disease that millions of people have been diagnosed with (especially African Americans), has done to my marriage. I’m a realist – or maybe a glass half-empty type of girl – so I know it wouldn’t be pretty. Then I realized I don’t really know how Lupus has affected my marriage. I know for sure how it’s affected my life individually, but how it’s changed my marriage collectively – I’d only be making an educated guess. There’s a saying in my church that when someone asks you how your marriage is, you tell them to ask your spouse.
So I thought this would be a great opportunity for my husband Antione to give his point of view through a Q&A – and it was eye-opening in such a good way! It showed me just how gentle, caring, loving and observant my husband is and also how brave he is to share his truth, even if it’s not all becoming.
1. What was your marriage like before Lupus and how is it now?
Before Lupus my wife was just as energetic as I was, more so actually. So, I know that there are a lot of things she wants to do with her day, her weekend, her vacation. However, there are times when it’s not wise for her to do all those things in a short span of time.

Lupus changes plans in terms of things that we do together. There are times when we have a list of things that we want to do together over the course of a weekend, or during a vacation. Oftentimes we need to either minimize or ration out those things because of her energy level. My wife needs time to rest and recuperate, but naturally she doesn’t want that to be a hindrance to whatever we may both want to accomplish or experience in our lives.

That also leads me, as her husband, to not want to make her feel that she’s a hindrance or that she’s causing us to miss out on something because she’s tired. It makes one more empathetic. Even though there may be seven things I want us to do on a vacation trip, I may have to tone it down to say, four or five things, and be okay with that. It’s not her fault that she doesn’t have the energy that she or I would want for her to have. So, it’s important to not make her feel that it’s her fault.
2. What were your initial thoughts when I told you I had Lupus?
Honestly, initially I didn’t think much of it. I had been in a relationship with another woman who had Lupus. The only noticeable sign that she had Lupus was a severe flare that affected her maybe once about every three months. She couldn’t get out of bed. She had aches all over. This may have lasted a day, and she was back to normal (so to speak) until the next one.

The contrast between that relationship and my marriage has taught me that all forms of Lupus are not made equal, and Lupus affects people in different ways. My wife has similar flares, but they seem far less frequent. My wife has Lupus Nephritis, which is lupus that affects her kidneys and was told she’d eventually need a transplant. However, it doesn’t show itself externally. So mainly, Lupus appears to affect her in terms of her being easily fatigued, foggy and experiencing joint pains.
3. What were your ideas about how marriage should be and how did those ideas chance since my Lupus diagnosis?
I think I had what I considered to be normal expectations of marriage. We would spend the first few years of marriage enjoying our time together, traveling, etc. I assumed that we’d become more established in our respective careers, and after a few years of enjoying our lives together, we’d start to have a family.

Lupus has put a long-standing yellow traffic light on my ideas. You’re unsure whether to speed up and just run the light in terms of your life, or come to a complete stop. The timeline for a family has been delayed. It’s changed how we go about planning the future that we desire to have for ourselves. It’s not the straight line that we sometimes expect. Sometimes there are some unexpected curves and detours. All the things that we want to accomplish in terms of a family and a life together are very much doable, but we’re taking the road less traveled.
4. What are some adjustments you had to make when you noticed how Lupus was affecting me?
The expectations that I think most husbands place on their wives (physically and emotionally) changed. As I mentioned earlier, she may have the sincerest desire to do a lot of things, but the fatigue may kick in at a bad time.

A lot of it goes back to curbing your enthusiasm, hoping for the best, but planning for the worst. By saying that, I mean that (for me) it’s hard for me to hide how I feel. My facial expressions usually give me away. So, if I don’t expect much, and we’re not able to accomplish something (big or small), then it’s okay because I didn’t expect much. The other side of that is if I don’t expect much, and we are able to do MOST or ALL of something, it’s awesome.
One of the things that’s paramount (for me) when it comes to my relationship with my wife is not making her to feel to blame for her Lupus. I don’t ever want her to think that she is a hindrance to my life individually or our lives collectively. So, I’ll go through whatever additional mental steps I need to go through so that our relationship is the least of her worries.
5. What advice would you give spouses that have partners with a chronic illness?
LEARN TO SHARE HER! Even though you may feel entitled to spend as much time with your wife as you want because she’s YOUR WIFE, understand that there are other people in your wife’s life. She has friends. She has relatives. She has people whose life she impacts in a positive way. She has people who impact her life in a positive way. DON’T BE SELFISH! If you consider her to be an amazing human being, most likely, other people do too! DON’T BE STINGY!

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My Life… The stay at home edition

Hey Loves!

As most of you know, one of the reasons I started this blog was to build marriages. This post is to empower wives in whatever you do. I am mostly a stay at home wife. I work part time and write freelance but my priority is my husband, our household and our family.

It took me a long time to get to the point where telling people I was a stay at home wife was ok and I didn’t feel inferior. The majority of my confidence came from growing in my faith. At the end of the day God has a purpose for all of us and all we have to do is submit to his will.

I found this blog post from kitty-ears.com and wanted to share as she took the words right out of my mouth.

“If I was working, managing a household on top of a full time job would be extremely difficult. This is not to say it couldn’t be done–it is and has been done by many people–but the way my husband and I wanted to structure our household was for me to be the primary homeworker. In order to cut back on stress and for me to have enough time to keep up with our house and prepare all meals, I needed to be a stay at home wife. He also needs me to be here and take care of those issues so he can then completely focus on work.

Perhaps the greatest factor that helped me be a stay-at-home wife is that I felt lead by God to be one. This is a touchy subject, because I know not all stay-at-home-wives are Christians, nor do I expect them to be. The truth is I feel very comfortable being at home and taking care of my husband and helping others with my time instead of being paid for clocking hours. I know that I am doing the right thing. Daily I pray that I am doing what God wants me to do–and I am not the least bit stressed about my position or embarrassed about my status as a stay-at-home wife.

Perhaps the final point of my stay-at-home status is the direction I want to take my life. I want to eventually own my own business. Right now its just a small Etsy shop, but that shop is my passion and my dream. Staying at home allows me to work towards my goal of being a small business owner and gives me time to grow creativity and plan projects. If I had another “Outside” job I would never be able to give my business the attention it needs to flourish.”

A Letter to My Unborn Child

You are wanted. I am telling this you this now because I know at some point in your life you will feel like you aren’t. Whenever you think that, know you’re wrong.

I want to give you the world but that won’t happen because I don’t own the world. I own my heart- andit’s yours. I will do my best to teach you the wonders of God, the power of His redemption of and the freedom in His forgives. I will make sure you know the delight that comes from dance parties, jumping on beds, playing in the rain and building sandcastles. I want you to know the power of music. I will sing you love songs all the time. I will expose you to the greatness that is Dr. Seuss.

Education is important to me. You will go to school and I will expect your best. I will fight to make sure you are treated fairly and given every advantage available to you. I am your advocate.

Be different. It is so hard to tell you this because I know to be with ‘the in-crowd’ means you have to be the opposite, and being on the outside is hard. I promise the best way to find out who you are is not try and be like other people. Be the best you every minute of your life.

Don’t waste time with regret- repent and keep moving.

Say “m’am, sir, please and thank-you” all your life. Manners will take you farther than you know.

Race is an issue in America (and other countries for that matter) but it is not in our house. We accept and respect all races, ethnicities, creeds, religions, and sexual orientations. I will struggle with that fine line of raising you to be proud of your culture and being open to others. I don’t want you only identifying yourself by some box you check on applications. I don’t want you feeling pressured to fall into the stereotypes of that box, or spend your life trying to defy to said stereotypes. At some point, somebody, somewhere (some jack ass) will point your race out to you in an attempt to make you feel different and less than what you are. You are going to be confused. You may be hurt. You may be angry. That’s ok, as long as you don’t let that anger darken your heart. The seeds of anger have the power to make you make become a change-agent or…well, let’s just focus on you being a change agent. Feel the anger but don’t succumb to it and I will do my best to answer your questions.

It’s ok to cry.

Always vote…always be an educated voter.

You will apologize for many things. Never apologize for who you are.

I’m much smarter that your dad ( like, by far) but you will learn so much more from him than you will from me. He will teach you true selflessness, how to protect and provide for a family, compassion, patience, how to enjoy the little things and what a gentleman does. You will see a man of God that loves his family more than he realizes. He won’t be the one teaching you how to make a bed (that’s where I come in) but he will be the one you will have to answer to if you fail to do it. Oh! He’ll also teach you fear of punishment.

Fear will probably be the first way you learn how to make decisions. That’s ok when you’re 2, not 21. Don’t let fear stop you from experiencing new things, challenging the norm or challenging yourself.

Self-doubt is something the devil made.

There will be times when you don’t like what I say to you or what I make you do. I really do want to be your best friend but I can’t be that and your mom at the same time for the majority of your life. Just know I’m really not trying to make your life miserable. I’m trying to protect you.

You will fall in love one day and it will be awesome. You may get your heart broken and that will suck. (Sorry. That’s really the best way to describe it.) Just remember, you’re greatest love will always overcome any heartbreak.

I love you. I love to kiss you. I love to hug you. I love to see you smile and hear you laugh. I love seeing you happy and drying your tears. I love all those quirks that make you mine. I’m not perfect but I am going to do my best to get as close as I can for you and your dad every day.

I can’t wait to meet you. I already know you’re simply amazing.

-Your mom (and your biggest fan)