Marriage is so fun! It’s fun because you always have a friend. When I got married, I got a cuddle buddy, traveling buddy, dinner date, movie date, date to events, personal “cheerleader” (he is going to hate that wording), a confidant, a provider, someone to help me around the house, a teammate, and so much more!
I collaborated with my husband on our hardest season, because it is OUR story to share. Not just mine. I hope this is helpful to someone reading this.
We got married in December, and in March of that year, I got sick. Since I was 15 years old, I have had a condition that impacts my heart called POTS. I was very sick in high school, but I learned natural ways to keep it under control (bad days here and there but it was manageable) while I was in college, and the first couple of months of our marriage.
In March, I had three really bad days (heart rate over 100 bpm lying down and rising to 180 bpm standing up + low blood pressure). I literally couldn’t get out of bed. Unfortunately, this was the start of my condition worsening. To this day, my heart and body does not function like it did the day we got married.
I would get so sick the minute I got out of bed. When I tried to get out of bed, it would result in my heart rate being out of control, and I would fall asleep for 3 more hours during the day. Elijah was my hero. He took the vow in sickness and in health very seriously. He took on ALL the house chores, and he really became my caretaker while I was seeing doctors and trying to find something to help me. He faced this hard season in my life with me.
It was around this same time that my husband started feeling depressed. He was being bombarded with guilt, temptation, and condemnation. I started to feel disconnected from him, and he started to feel disconnected from me. He felt alone in his depression, and I was not compassionate or understanding toward him.
It was around this time that he confided in me that he was feeling suicidal. It was something that he had dealt with throughout high school and just prior to meeting me. It was extremely hard to understand, so I asked him to see a counselor to help him….let me rephrase that…I forced him to start seeing a counselor. I told him that I could not be his counselor, and this was too much for me to handle.
One of my biggest regrets in life is not being there for him and with him when he needed me most. I selfishly couldn’t see past my sickness and feelings to embrace him, and I am very fortunate to still have my husband with me today.
I am very fortunate to have a wife who loves me enough to force me to go get help. I hated it. I didn’t want to do it. And in some ways, I resented her for that. I mean, here I was helping her out, but she wasn’t there for me. Humbly, I admit that my thinking was flawed, and I can see how she was just doing all she could to keep me alive.
Through the counseling sessions (one-on-one and group), I found safety, peace, and clarity in my life. I’m alive because my wife was brave enough to get in my face and tell me to get help. I love her with all my heart and am forever thankful for her!
Back to Shelbi!
Here is how God is using this hard time in our marriage for good: We are working towards opening Counseling Clinics for Adolescence who self-harm and have suicidal thoughts. We have seen a HUGE need for this type of service and ministry, and Elijah is actively working toward getting the qualification, education, and resources to provide this service to our community and eventually around the country. I support my husband and his mission 100%.
Wow! I Ioved him the day we got married, but I love him even more today. I know my husband. I know his character, heart, work ethic, flaws, all of it! When we got married, I had just scratched to surface of who he is, and today, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect person for me.
My husband has taught me so many things! He has taught me and showed me how to apologize. He has shown me humility. He has taught me how to show compassion to those struggling with depression. He has taught me how to acknowledge emotions in a healthy way. I am a much more complete person because of my husband.
I want girls to know that–
Love is a choice!
You have to choose to be patient, kind, compassionate, understanding, humble, supportive,…etc.
Not everyday will feel like a fairytale.
In fact, most days are filled with ordinary tasks. To me, living an extraordinary life means taking every ordinary day and making small extraordinary choices. Choosing to treat others (including your husband) the way you would want to be treated, is an extraordinary choice that makes a huge difference in the health and happiness of your marriage.