Five years into our marriage and following graduation from medical school, my husband Steve suffered a stroke that caused him to be unable to speak or move half of his body. For a time, Steve and I faced a very uncertain future. However, one step at a time, he moved forward through the power of God and his great determination and faith. Sound-by-sound he again learned to speak; step-by-step he again learned to walk. Steve worked tirelessly to again be in a position to support and provide for our family.
This rare but major health crisis, which threatened his life and livelihood, reaffirmed to me that marriage is not just about the happy times together. It is sometimes about struggling, increasing in understanding and finding our way in the world together. Marriage is about covenanting and committing – come what may.
This life experience and the resulting knowledge gained have enhanced how Steve and I seek to enrich our relationship. Specifically, we believe (as is stated in “The Family Proclamation”, a statement regarding the importance of marriage and the family issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that “successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.”
Our faith has everything to do with our romance: we believe that we can be together as a family, both here on earth as well as after this life. This affects how we pray together, counsel as husband and wife together and worship together. In addition, this eternal perspective helps us to maintain humility by acknowledging our individual weaknesses, apologizing for errors made, practicing the Golden Rule and emulating the loving ways of our Savior.
Steve and I love to spend time together, especially away from the responsibilities of home. We enjoy stimulating conversation about philosophical, professional and personal matters, working on home-improvement projects, date-night dinners alone and with friends, as well as attending sporting events. Our favorite dates are when we are together and doing something active (such as hiking, biking or skiing).
Our marriage is filled with give and take: we often make concessions. Steve loves to entertain friends and family, so I attempt to undertake a few small events each month. I love a clean home, so Steve will play along with my game of “teamwork” (which we both acknowledge is more about me being the captain of home cleanliness than us working together as a team). Recently, Steve purchased a road bike for me. Now that it is Spring, he will be my “personal trainer” as I learn to overcome my fear of clipless pedals!