Why my husband is much more than a caregiver, Dr. Phil

I still remember the moment I told my husband I had Crohn’s disease. It was a beautiful August afternoon. We sat overlooking water at a boathouse in St. Louis on our third date. As we enjoyed casual conversation and a mutual interest in one another, I knew I had to tell him about my chronic illness.


Photo from our third date, the day I told Bobby I had Crohn’s disease.

Nervous to rock the boat. Scared to be judged. Worried it would tarnish the image of who I was so far. I just wanted to rip off the band aid and get this conversation over with.

It was never easy to navigate dating and relationships with my disease. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 21 in 2005. I met Bobby in August 2013 at age 29. Rather than seem put off by my disease, he inquired and showed empathy from that point forward. Never once did he make me feel less than or unworthy of love. In that moment, I knew I had found someone special and I felt a huge sense of relief.

Fast forward to this past month and all the conversation surrounding Dr. Phil’s heartless and ignorant comments about caregiving and relationships. I didn’t see the episode live, but have seen the countless posts on social media being shared to prove him wrong. I watched the interview clip after the segment aired and couldn’t believe my eyes or my ears. Dr. Phil told an interabled couple that “100 out of 100 relationships that involve caregiving fail.”

Photo by J Elizabeth Photography www.jelizabethphotos.com

Helping me walk down stairs during our engagement photos–21 days post op from my bowel resection surgery. Photo cred: J. Elizabeth Photography

It pains me to even write the idiotic words that man said. Not only is it upsetting, but it breaks my heart to think of all the young, newly diagnosed chronic illness patients out there who were already wondering if they were worthy of love because of living with a disease.

IMG_0077I’m here to tell you that you are. I truly believe my vulnerability with my Crohn’s and how I deal with flare ups is a big part of why my husband fell in love with me. Chronic illness isn’t pretty. It forces you to see the world without rose-colored glasses. It makes you realize the importance of your health and how quickly it can be taken away from you.

There’s a reason why you say “in sickness and in health” in wedding vows. My husband chose to spend his life with me, because he loves all of me—even the part of me that is riddled with illness. People are cut out to be caregivers or they’re not. You’ll come across this in your life and know which family members and friends have a special way about them. Those who don’t have this trait and ability aren’t meant to marry people like you and me. And that’s fine.

But to say that 100 out of 100 couples will fail because caregiving is involved couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s through Bobby’s caregiving that I continue to fall more and more in love with him. It’s those moments when I need help to get through a pain-filled day that I’m reminded just how strong and unbreakable our love is.

IMG_9492Caregiving looks and means different things to everyone. It’s not just about being a caregiver in the hospital or at a nursing home. It’s taking care of the one(s) you love on a typical day at home. It can be something as simple as rubbing your back or taking care of the kids while you’re stuck in the bathroom. It can be dishing you out ice cream after you give yourself an injection. Or holding your hand on a walk outside following a hospitalization. It’s those caregiving moments in particular that remind me constantly of the everlasting love I’ve found and make me 100 percent positive we will make it through, for the rest of my life.

My words of advice for you—if you’re a caregiver, know how appreciated you are—for all the little things and the big things. photo by J Elizabeth Photography www.jelizabethphotos.comIf you’re someone dealing with a disability/disease—don’t allow Dr. Phil’s ridiculously inaccurate comments make you think you aren’t worthy of love, because you are and always will be.



4 thoughts on “Why my husband is much more than a caregiver, Dr. Phil

  1. Theodora Pestana says:

    Amen sister! I had a ostomy and over a decade of chrons when I met my now husband. A
    Month into dating I was hospitalized, a year into marriage major surgery and 3 months of hospitalization and was in wheel chair to walker to walking again. Prepping for major surgery in less than a month and I absolutely agree every time he’s by my side it reminds me of his commitment to me and to us and depends our bond. Never have I felt guilty or undeserving of his love and care as whenever able to him I give the same when he’s in need or simply out of acts of love and service to my partner. We share the load of him care giving and working helping with kids and my being ill and raising our kids. Teamwork all the way! We’re unstoppable because of all we’ve endured! Power coupe all the way!!


  2. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog) says:

    I don’t know who Dr Phil is, will look him up – but I completely understand everything you say about your hubby. Mine has been with me since we were 19 and has seen me through major back surgeries, 3 tricky pregnancies and c/sections, various strange diagnoses and a general physical decline (I now use a wheelchair when out and about). But after 26 years of marriage and with 3 adult kids (23, 20 and nearly 17) he is still here. Yes our relationship has changed – being a carer for your spouse at a young age isn’t great – but as you say caregiving means different things to everyone. Our life is not what we imagined – but then is anyones? – but we still love each other and he remains my rock through the pain, tears but mainly the laughter! So…..I completely agree with you and have watched your lovely family flourish through your blog! I hope you don’t mind but I shared it on my PainPalsBlog regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x


  3. Marty Cloran says:

    I saw that episode and felt devalued, unappreciated and totally misunderstood by it. My wife is handicapped and suffers from renal disease and congestive heart failure and in three short weeks we will have been married for 50 years. I love her now more than ever and I am her caregiver so maybe someone can tell me when exactly is our relationship supposed to fail?

    Marty C.
    North Conway, NH


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