To have and to hold from this day forward in good times and bad. We know the vow. We swoon over someone saying this to us one day. We dream about loving someone so much that we are able to vow this to them. On August 5th of last year I made this vow. I vowed to support, strengthen, and encourage my husband when it gets bad.
When I said those words, I meant it, but I never thought too hard on the bad and what that might entail. Supporting him during a tough time at work, strengthening him when he’s beating himself up over a small thing, and encouraging him when he wants to give up on his dreams. These were bad things I could imagine in our “now”. In our future, I could see the need to support, strengthen, and encourage during the loss of a parent or job. But I never put too much stalk into bad things that could plague our present.
Then a bad thing I never imagined entered our lives and turned my world upside down.
I was a wreck. Heartbroken. I couldn’t hold myself together. I spent hours curled up in our closet under a heap of blankets. Sometimes crying, sometimes sobbing, sometimes silent. I didn’t know what to do or how to pull myself up and keep going. It was during this time that I began to think about my vows and I realized that I wasn’t the only one hurting. My dear husband was heartbroken too and he needed me. He needed my support, strength, and encouragement… just like I needed his.
Before when I thought of supporting each other in bad times, it was always him or me needing the other one, but I never thought about times when we would both be hurting and needing the other at the same time. These are the hardest times. My husband was so strong for me. He gave me a shoulder to cry on, a closet to hole up in, space to heal, arms to hold me up, and kind words when I needed them.
I didn’t understand at first how I could support him when I couldn’t even pick myself up off the ground. But then I realized that we needed to grieve together, to heal together. A way to support and encourage one another is through honesty and openness. I needed to tell him how I was feeling and while leaning on him, let him lean on me. I needed to discuss my emotions with him instead of hiding them away and dealing with them alone. I realized that by closing myself off because I was hurt and sad, I was forcing my husband to suffer in silence. It was wrong and it was no way to support, strengthen, and encourage the man I love.
May has been a difficult month for us so far, but we have managed to make it through by supporting one another in any way we can. It has been a long road, but I am so grateful to have a husband who will be by my side through it all… good times and bad.