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blurryizz posted:
Hello everyone, i'm new to this discussion.. my fiance who is 28 years old was diagnosed a few months ago with MS. His symptoms are getting worse very fast since then. I fear that it will progress fast because of this as a disease. Does anyone have some words of wisdom for a spouse of someone with MS and dealing with it mentally?
hackwriter responded:
Hello, blurryizz, and welcome.

Since you've asked for some words of wisdom for a "spouse" of an MSer, I assume that you have decided to marry? If you're having any second thoughts about it--and even if you're not--it is very important that you and your fiance have a frank discussion about hopes and dreams, anxiety and fears. Everything on the table. "For better or worse" is going to be tested time and again.

For example, you and your fiance might both write your philosophies of marriage. This would be a list of expectations, everything from how often you'd like to vacation as a couple each year, your needs concerning intimacy and sexual relations, expectations concerning your role as a health advocate for him when the need arises, to managing the day-to-day household chores and anything else that comes to both your minds. It might be a very difficult exercise but it is a vital one. It would be nice if love were enough to make a successful marriage, but it isn't enough. Lifestyle determines the success or failure of any marriage, how accepting you are of the other, and whether you are both communicating about the uncomfortable things that we all tend to push aside.

As the spouse of an MSer, are you prepared to face unpredictable changes? Your disabled spouse will not only have to cope with physical changes, he will likely experience depression, grief, anger, and withdrawal. Your compassion, understanding and patience will be challenged tremendously.

One personal insight I'd like to share: When my marriage ended suddenly a year ago, I realized that my own expectations had vanished as my limitations increased. I felt gratitude towards my husband--and at the same time, I didn't even expect him to want to stay married to me forever. I put up with a lot of things that I should not have, and probably would not have had I been able-bodied. That is not a healthy place to dwell.

Your disabled spouse might be feeling a similar thing. An MSer's worst nightmare is not physical decline, it is abandonment. He might not feel worthy of having expectations, and might even be afraid to have them for fear of losing you.

I hope this helps you, or at least gives you some food for thought. And kudos to you for caring enough about him and your marriage to reach out and ask for our thoughts. Feel free to post about your concerns any time, we'll try our best to be helpful.

blurryizz replied to hackwriter's response:
Thank you, Kim, for everything you have brought up.......... I needed that right now. Honest and straight forward, that's exactly what someone like me needs to hear.

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