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.
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.”
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.
I’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.
Caregiving 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. If 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.
9 thoughts on “Why my husband is much more than a caregiver, Dr. Phil”
Dr. Phil was an idiot long before those comments, so I didn’t really pay attention because saying stupid stuff is basically his M.O. But, the backlash at least is heartening if only because he *has* been staying stupid offensive stuff for so long…but it seems it’s the disabilities community that is finally calling him out when he has needed it for ages. Here’s hoping he finally loses his show and stops peddling hurtful garbage to guests and viewers who deserve validated, respectful treatment instead of shock therapy and invalidation. That show is just disgusting on so many levels.
THANK YOU!! What you said about falling more and more in love with Bobby through his caregiving really resonated with me. My husband and I have been married for nearly 18 years, and he has stood by me and taken care of me through 9 bowel surgeries for Crohn’s and, most recently, a stem cell transplant, which required us to live in another city for nearly 3 months. Our relationship is stronger and better than ever, and we’ve always managed to continue living and having fun despite all the complications and inconveniences that accompany Crohn’s. Dr. Phil could not be more wrong!
I couldn’t agree more with this blog, my now Fiancé has Crohn’s and Colitis, and I have been with him for 4 going on 5 years and we are getting married this summer. We have been through a lot with his disease, last year was the worst because he almost died, due to surgery, and some complications. But I have been his caregiver and wouldn’t want it any other way, and why because I love him with all of my heart, he is the love of my life and I would do anything for him. That’s why we say “in sickness and in health” right. I also have a little brother with a disability who I help with and have been a second mother too all of his life. So much so that when I graduated college I got a job at his school to become his 1:1 aide/teacher Assistant and helped him to get through school and graduate with a regents diploma, and we are still very close. My parents thank me for doing what I did for him and I too believe that he will one day find someone to Marry to help be a caregiver. So Dr. Phil you are wrong, so very wrong. Maybe you should have a segment with my fiancé and I and Bobby and his Wife about how 100 out of 100 do not fail, and how you can make it work.
This is so important to share ♥️ my hubby was recently down with pnemonia and I had a small taste of caregiving. It truly is such sacrificial and hard work. Like you said it’s in sickness and in health.
Empathy is so important to have and it’s going through these times that really teaches it.
I also ran in the Crohn’s disease female and I’ve had it for years and years and years and years every since I was 29 and I am 73 now caregiving means different things to different people what he dr. Phil was talking about is not the same caregiving that your husband is giving you they were talking about 100% caregiver they feed pick up move everything being a person of Crohn’s and seeing you that had two babies you are not a hundred percent disabled you have Crohn’s disease and Crohn’s disease is a horrible disease but 99 at a hundred of us are not disabled like this man was that was paralyzed from the neck down totally totally different my husband and I have been married for 8 years and years he is a good caregiver but I’m not sure that he could be 100% caregiver nor would I want my husband to be 100% caregiver I want him to be my lover my man my savior not like you can fir so I understand where you’re coming from and I’m not a huge fan of dr. Phil’s but on this particular thing he was right
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!!
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
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?
North Conway, NH