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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Romantic Relationships & Migraines - Our Story

This post is part two of my thoughts on the topic for February's Migraine and Headache Blog Carnival - Romantic Relationships and Migraines. In part one, I discussed how romantic relationships may be affected by chronic illness. This post will be about some things about living with a chronic condition that can bring you closer.

My HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER began long before my chronic migraines ever began...

My (now) husband and I began dating during the summer before our Senior year in high school (2002). We were both very successful in academics and sports, until we were each injured in our respective sports. We graduated just a few people apart in our high school class, and went to different colleges. Our relationship survived a lot through years of long-distance. I graduated in 2007, and started a full-time job a few weeks later (still long-distance). I was succeeding in my job, I had presented part of my senior thesis at a national conference, and Jeremy had proposed... when BAM! I was in a car accident that would change my/our life forever (October 2008).

I moved back home with my parents for about 10 months, before I moved 5 hours away from my family (8+ hours from my then fiance) to start graduate school. Jeremy and I got married in October 2009. After he completed his degree, he moved in with me and we began our life together (finally in the same place!).

Our relationship has probably never really looked "normal" to most people. We carried on a long-distance relationship for 6+ years, we lived apart for a few months after we got married, we like to do different activities than most couples our age like to do, etc... However, it's changed even more since the onset of the chronic migraines.

Chronic pain changes your world, and the world of those close to you. It's hard. Sometimes it's really hard. But, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Our life looks NOTHING like most people imagine the life of NEWLYWEDS. But, that's okay. I have these debilitating migraines (among other things), and we've had to ADAPT. I wish that Jeremy didn't have to be in a care-giver position, but he truly is wonderful at it (I'm still working on being a better care-receiver). We say that we're living out the "for sicker or poorer" parts of the wedding vows right now... HUMOR and LAUGHTER are something that are very important in our relationship. Jeremy has always been able to make me SMILE, which is one of the things I CHERISH so much.

While "outsiders" may not understand why or how we function the way we do as a couple, it works for us. We've had to learn how to COMMUNICATE in different / creative ways, since I cannot always communicate coherently (migraines and meds often make me mumble, slur, and/or unable to find the right words). Jeremy is my best cheerleader - he helps me CELEBRATE my accomplishments, no matter how "small" they are... I'm not good at this, and he's great at helping me.

I know we've only been married 16 months, but we've already been faced with some real life challenges... and our LOVE has GROWN deeper as we've worked through them... we've grown through financial struggles, job losses, illnesses, car accidents... I honestly love him more and more each day. The Lord has truly BLESSED us!

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres. Love never fails." ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

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