November 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm , by Lauren Piro
Do you ever wish you could switch brains with your husband just for an hour and really see what each other is thinking? Even a simple mind-reading gadget might make all marital woes a bit easier to overcome (do you hear us Apple? We could call it the iMarriageMender. Too wordy? Eh, it’s a working title.). But alas, we are mere mortals, and sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and say what you feel. Laurel, 29, and Ryan, 28, quickly discovered this less than a year into their marriage. Read the full story here.
Laurel’s turn: When Laurel suddenly gained 20 pounds right before the wedding, she thought that stress and too much fast food were the culprits. She lost the weight to fit into her white dress, but soon after gained 60 more pounds, and felt too sluggish to get to the gym (or go fishing with her new husband, or eat dinner anywhere but in front of the TV, or have sex … you see where this is going). Eventually she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder—Hashimoto’s disease—which affects her thyroid and hormones. She was devastated, and feels like Ryan thinks she can just snap out of it. Lacking sympathy from her husband, she turned to her girlfriends to take her out for the night, but when Ryan found out, he flipped. Since she had enough energy to go out with her friends, he accused her of exaggerated her lethargic symptoms, even though she really needed the support they were providing. Laurel misses being “the golden couple” that always went out dinner or movie dates—and what happened to their vow to stick together in sickness or in health?
Ryan’s turn: He doesn’t understand why Laurel is giving into her disease. With some extra exercise and a healthier diet, she could manage it much better—he knows because he’s done the research! But whenever he suggests a plan of action to Laurel, she just cries. He knows her condition is real, but can’t stand that she won’t do anything to help herself, so yeah, he thinks she’s being lazy. He works hard all week and would love to take his wife to the lake on weekends to unwind, but Laurel just sleeps in. He didn’t picture married life to include no together-time (and no sex!). He always thought they had similar values, even though he grew up on a farm and she in the city, and he was really looking forward to married life together. But could they be the first in their families headed for divorce?
The counselor’s turn: Though on the outside the crux of this couple’s marital tension seems to be Laurel’s disease, it’s really more about their lack of communication and their hidden expectations of each other as husband and wife. Ryan assumed that Laurel would join him on his regular fishing trips, and Laurel figured they’d continue to enjoy urban night life like when they were dating—but neither of them thought to tell their spouse what they were thinking. Once they said this to each other in simple terms, they laughed at how easy it actually seemed; it was a revelation. Soon, both realized that they had stopped being polite to one another, and Ryan apologized for seeming unsympathetic. The counselor asked them to make some simple life changes so they could better adapt to married life. Now they eat dinner together, Laurel gets up early occasionally to go fishing with Ryan, and they go on weekly dates in the city. Laurel was inspired to start exercising more and eat healthier, and sees now that Ryan’s advice wasn’t meant to make her feel bad; he just really cares about her, as she does him.
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