Standing Up for Your Partner
Love can at times be enduring and everlasting, while at other times it can be such a fickle creature. When you bring a component such as the constant pain of chronic migraine into the relationship, things become even more complicated. Some may pull very closely to one another, while others push themselves further away.
Marriage and the family unit
There is a verse that discusses how when a man and woman marry, he leaves his father and mother to become one with his wife. I bring this up because it is an issue I see many times in everyday life. Even in marriages that do not have an individual with chronic pain. In my opinion, when you marry somebody they become your primary family unit, your spouse and any child you may have with them (the two or four legged variety). Do not misunderstand me, my mother and I are best friends but at the end of her day she has to make sure that her, her husband, and her step-daughter have their needs met first.
Stand up for them
I promise my prior paragraph was leading to this paragraph. I feel that something that is important in any marriage is that the spouses stand up for one another; they should stand up for their significant other against family members, friends, and doctors in those marriages that involve an individual with chronic pain. The first component here is standing up for your spouse against your own family and against their own family. Trust me here when I say I am not just preaching here, this is something my husband and I actively do. In the rare moments his family members have felt brave enough to say something negative about me in any way, he has promptly shut them down and then later let me know what occurred. In our case, his family issues have not been because I am sick but other irrelevant things. A bigger challenge for him was recognizing it was also okay to stand up for me against my very own family, which is always because of my health issues. Most of my family like to believe I should just be able to push right on through my pain regardless of how bad it is and do whatever they feel is important. My husband has learned to tell them that we will be at whatever event if I feel up to it on the day of that gathering. I occasionally still struggle with defending myself against my family but he knows when it is time to step in and put an end to the bickering for me.
A less aggressive but equally important group would be our friends. When they invite us to events, we tend to say we ‘may’ attend just to make sure we are not 100% expected, only for me to end up entirely too miserable to move off the couch.
One thing that has been discussed before but cannot be forgotten is standing up for the individual with migraine when it comes to doctors and medical staff. Sometimes we can find ourselves so overwhelmed at doctor appointments we need our other half to stop the doctor a demand an explanation for a decision or to discuss other options, etc.
This is not a one way street
This is not one of those responsibilities that fall solely on the healthy person to do for the individual with migraine. This street very much goes both ways. My family has a tendency to volunteer others to do things without asking, so I routinely have to remind them if they need his help they need to ask him because I refuse to volunteer him to do something without discussing it with him in advance. His family is a much more interesting case because my husband is definitely the black sheep of his family, but again being Southern there is very little disrespect that I will stand for from even his own family. So they may not always like me, but they get over it! My husband is a wonderful advocate for me when it comes to medical issues, but a really not so great advocate for himself. This causes me to show my momma bear side on whichever doctor needs a reminding that just because he is simply one more patient to them, he is my husband and will be treated properly.
Ultimately, it all boils down to having respect for one another. You have committed your lives to being there in the good times and in the bad time to assist one another. This is important in a relationship that involves two healthy people and even more important in a relationship that involves one or more of the individuals has some type of chronic health condition.
Do these elements of standing up for one another hit home for you? Is it already something you practice or something you think you will begin to implement now?
Have you noticed something that used to trigger your migraine no longer does?