Living with a Spouse with Diabetes

Possibly one of the greatest understatements of all time is that marriage is challenging… but there are few things more challenging than living with a spouse with diabetes.

Ups and downs

Living with a spouse with diabetes has many ups and downs. It is like learning to be married all over again. It is like learning to communicate again; to give that person their own space again; to allow them their own independence, knowing that while we love them, we don’t own them. We don’t own their choices, and for better or for worse, we can’t tell them what to do.

One has to relearn the give and take of compromise; the art of empathy and the diplomacy of war. (And yes, one must relearn diplomacy, for the spouse with diabetes is a wounded veteran in a misunderstood war.) One must relearn to quiet the thousand little screams in one’s mind when they make the wrong choices, to repress judgment, seek understanding, and be there when they come around.

Living with a spouse with diabetes is to walk on a balance beam of assertiveness and understanding. To make demands, while not making demands. To lay the cards out on the table, while accepting the rules of the house. To dance a tango we’re not really wanting to dance. To be willing to offer options, while accepting they might all get turned down. It is walking a mile in a journey when the outcome’s not found.

It is sacrifice, confrontation, acceptance, and endurance.

Loving a spouse with diabetes is being the spouse with diabetes. Learning about their condition, helping carry the load, making doctor’s appointments, and knowing that one day – through fault or no fault – we might be a home nurse. It is quietly conceding arguments, and allowing them choice.

It is sharing in on the worry, the fear, and the rage, yet finding one’s inner peace, and learning to detach; learning that emotions are just chemicals, which can sometimes go out of whack. Learning to distinguish real from transitory emotions – like distorted fun house mirrors seeking to make us crack.

Diabetes is not for the faint of heart. Yet there’s hope and there’s light.

Living with a spouse with diabetes also means sharing in on the fight: taking swings together, finding joy in victories, and embracing life. It is helping argue with doctors and hospital staff; making meals, and lunches, and packing a snack. It is learning that it’s not the end of the line.

It’s a special thing to live with a spouse with diabetes – a special honor we get to have. You see, health is often taken for granted, except when it’s not had. But to live with a spouse with diabetes is to live with a person who’s seen the storm in the eye; a person who’s fighting an enemy that’s not in sight. It is learning that whatever happens in life – we are bigger, badder, and more courageous than the blight.

To live with a spouse with diabetes is to earn our stripes. It is to love, and hold, and have… to not take for granted, and to not give up the fight… even if one of you already has.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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