Ornaments, Candles, Tees and More! Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

When we dream about marriage, we often dream about our wedding day, not the actual marriage itself. We handpick every detail of the big day. Roses or calla lilies? Lilacs or baby’s breath? Will that purple be too purple? Of course all the bridesmaids can pick their own dresses as long as it’s the same shade of fuschia. We analyze and scrutinize every decision made when it comes to the big day, but when it comes to the happily ever after, we wing it. Relying heavily on the ideas pushed in bad romantic comedies and ballads proclaiming that love can conquer all. 

The big day comes and we answer the preacher’s prompt of “will you love through sickness and health” with a resounding yes, complete with big doe eyes and a plastered on perma-smile.

How often do we think we will encounter the actual sickness part of the “sickness and health” deal?

How often do we consider that the sickness bit could be referring to mental health?

For me, it didn’t fully cross my mind. I figured we were talking about seasonal colds or issues arising from age. Never did I think we would experience that part of our vows within the first year of marriage.

RELATED: Can I Let You in On a Secret? This is Real Love.

In fact, I thought I had made a terrible mistake when I first noticed the symptoms. I thought the man I married had somehow tricked me into a relationship.

I started to feel betrayed and afraid. It started small. Mood swings that caused insignificant arguments. A frustrated kick at a box or a well-placed swear word that hurt my tender heart. It wasn’t abuse, but it felt off. It felt as if I didn’t truly know my husband, and I began walking on eggshells, never knowing what might set him off.

Then the moods would lighten, and there he was again—the person I married. It was like he went to bed, a switch flipped, and familiar eyes were staring back at me. The months he was himself were food for my soul. It helped me trust him again.

My guard fell as I again tumbled back into a deeper love for my husband. 

It seemed just when I began to settle into a rhythm, new symptoms appeared. Him staying up all night, drinking too much, and being hyper-focused on random projects filled our days. When you’re in the midst of living with someone who has a mental illness, it’s hard to see where they end and the mental illness begins. This pattern went on for two more years. Months of normalcy, followed by weeks of mania, then depression. It was like an ocean wave when you’re too far out to get out of its way, but you see it coming just before it pulls you under. 

RELATED: Dear Husband, Even When Our Marriage Feels Hard, I Am With You

I distinctly remember praying over my husband as he slept. Touching his head as I asked God to give us an answer to what was going on. Asking for the peace that came when the wave went back out to sea. I would pray throughout the day for the patience needed to stick out what was going on, but even though I prayed fervently until we got an answer, the word divorce stung the back of my throat on more occasions than I care to admit.

It burned and ached as the word formed itself in a barbed-wire ball balancing on my vocal cords. A time or two the word left my lips. 

By the end of our third year of marriage, we had a nameRapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder. The diagnosis was a relief, but it took nearly two more years before we found a medication regimen that worked and didn’t cause strange side effects. It’s been more than two years since he’s had any symptoms. Our home is peaceful and full of love. When my husband looks at me, I see him. The man I fell in love with. The man I promised to love through sickness and health. 

RELATED: We Stopped Trying to Control My Husband’s Depression and Did This Instead

No one prepares you for the sickness part.

No one walks into a marriage knowing the future. Love doesn’t conquer all like all the ’80s love ballads say, but it’s a catalyst to get you through the tough times. Marriage isn’t always picturesque. There will be some seasons of your marriage where the garden tends itself, and others where you have to water, weed, and plant new grass in the bare spots. Predicting all seasons isn’t possible, but loving your spouse to the best of your abilities makes the difficult seasons better. 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Jacalyn Wetzel

Jacalyn is a mother of four, and the creator of the blog Stop Yelling Please. She writes about motherhood in a way that most can relate. Jacalyn’s passion is parenting and relating to parents who may be struggling with the day to day. She’s a speaker, author and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

We’re Modeling Marriage For Our Kids

In: Marriage
Husband and wife in workout clothes, color photo

This is eight years. A picture taken in the few minutes of pre-dawn quiet before toddler chaos ensues. A few moments of reflection that eight years ago, we chose each other to do this life with.  This day will not be like past anniversaries, or future anniversaries when we’re able to get away from it all and focus on just us. But it’s still our day to celebrate this life we have created together. This messy, crazy, busy, and wonderful life. When we sat in our Pre-Cana class all those years ago, we were asked to share what we believed...

Keep Reading

Blake Lively’s Tribute to Ryan Reynolds Has Us in Tears: “Daddy Always Comes Home”

In: Living, Marriage, News

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are Hollywood couple #goals, and over the years, we’ve delighted in watching their fun, light-hearted, and endearing romance play out. What makes them so likable is that they genuinely seem to adore each other, but they’re not above trolling each other publicly and on social media, which almost always results in some hilarious antics. (P.S. Remember Reynolds’ hysterical ad that paid tribute to the dumpster fire that was 2020?) The couple has gone back and forth on Instagram and Twitter with jabs at each other’s acting roles . . . View this post on Instagram...

Keep Reading

My Husband’s Love Notes Are So Much More than Words

In: Marriage
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

About 10 years ago, my husband used to travel frequently, and he would often leave notes for me to find around the house. Sometimes they were on the kitchen counter, sometimes they were on my car, other times they were scribbled across the bathroom mirror. RELATED: My Husband Doesn’t Tell Me He Loves Me on Facebook, He Shows Me His notes were different every time, but typically, they were meant to tell me how much he’d miss me when he was away. I would eventually file the notes away, often forgetting what they said, but always appreciating how he made...

Keep Reading

Planning for Life after Divorce Saved Our Marriage

In: Marriage
Couple walking down tracks in a tunnel

They say each marriage goes through seasons, and mine is currently in transition after a biting, years-long winter that neither of us could say with certainty would ever end. Each storm brought the same predictable pattern of conflict, and by the time we could shovel ourselves out, a new blizzard was already in the forecast. Our cycle of conflict was frozen on repeat, our patterns so deeply rutted, that salvation from the bitter cold felt impossible. He yelled at the sky. I went into hibernation. He chose fight. I chose flight. The problem with flight is that eventually, you have...

Keep Reading

Marriage is About Compromise, Not Sacrifice

In: Marriage
Husband and wife, smiling, color photo

This past August, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. There was no champagne, flowers, candy, or special date. In fact, it was just another Thursday, a pretty unremarkable day. The symbol for the 15th year of marriage is a crystal. A symbol of clarity and durability. A fitting representation in our case, if I may say so myself. Long gone are the days of courting and the need to put on a show. The need to impress one another long dissipated to be replaced by quiet contentment. Our relationship has evolved in the 20 years we have...

Keep Reading

Why Can’t Love Be Enough?

In: Living, Marriage
Couple sitting apart on couch

As we grow up, we experience all different types and versions of love, and in turn, we experience very different things when each of these relationships ends.  For me, as painful as they were, breakups were always relatively simple. Intentions were clear. Feelings were hurt. Betrayal. Lies. The love, gone. You know, the kind of breakups people always talk about. RELATED: Playing Chicken: A Marriage on the Brink of the End Young love. We were clueless. Some would say stupid. We thought we knew everything, but we really knew nothing at all. It hurt, unlike anything we’d ever experienced, because...

Keep Reading

Some Days I Miss My Old Life Before Kids

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife in tropical destination, color photo

Some days I miss my old life. You know, before kids. I am not sure I am supposed to say that out loud. Please don’t judge me. I know I am not alone. Just because I miss my old life, does not mean I do not love my current one. However, confessing this kind of guilt is not easy, mostly because it opens the door for mom shaming, like so many other guilty mama confessions. A new mom recently confided in me. She said, “I knew about the sleepless nights, diapers, screaming babies, etc. But I had no idea that I...

Keep Reading

Our Love is Like the Best Country Song

In: Marriage
Husband and wife holding hands, color photo

I don’t write country music, in fact, I can’t even read music. But if I wrote a country song, it would say something about the sun dipping low over the cornfields on the way home from Nana’s house. It might mention how he always drives and always holds my hand over the center console. In fact, he always holds my hand, as we walk down our street behind our kids’ bicycles, under the covers, and in prayer each night.  I would write something about how gosh darn good he looks when he hasn’t shaved in six straight days. If I...

Keep Reading

My Husband Is the First Person I Want to Call

In: Marriage
Woman texting on phone

The first person I want to call is my husband. When I have good news. When I’m ridden with anxiety or frustration. When I’m giddy or over-the-top. When the kids are acting like dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. RELATED: To the Husband of the Overwhelmed Wife, She Needs a Hero When something has broken down (which usually means it’s a fire department day.) Yes, even when I’m mad at him. The first person I want to call is my husband. When I’m anxiously awaiting test results. When my kids do something amazing. When God reveals something new. When I see a...

Keep Reading

No One Prepares You for When Your Husband Has Cancer

In: Baby, Cancer, Marriage
Family sitting by window

No one ever prepares you for the moment you hear your spouse has cancer.   More so, no one prepares for you to hear this when you have a 5-month-old at home. “Mom, they said the tumor is cancerous, and they need to enucleate his eye on Thursday,” I say quietly into the phone as I pump in a dirty bathroom stall at the eye hospital.   Whir. Whir. Whir. Whir. Gosh, I hate pumping.  Today is my first day being away from my daughter. My mom is watching her while I made the trip to the eye hospital with...

Keep Reading