My daughter and I are on our way to St. Jude for her yearly visit (read how our St. Jude story began). It’s a reminder of how John and I first started on this long-distance marriage journey, a reminder of how our lives changed for the better. Those short bursts of a week at a time every month played a toll on our marriage but prepared us for the longer separations that deployment brings. Lives hit hard moments, health scares and new diagnoses bring relationship curve-balls. Macy and her husband discovered the reality of how life may not be what we expect but a new reality and depth of relationship surfaces.
I met my husband, Dave, just about 4 years ago. He started working for the company I had been working with, and if I didn’t believe in “like” at first sight, seeing him made me believe. We quickly became really good friends. He was the type of guy I could talk to for hours, and neither of us would run out of things to say. At the time, I was a few months out of a relationship that ended badly. I was broken-hearted and focusing on my friends, but I could feel a different kind of connection with Dave. He was also recently out of a difficult relationship, and had no plans of “settling down” anytime soon. We remained friends for several months, until one night in June we both admitted to our feelings.
I truly feel that God gave me Dave. He came into my life when I was feeling down, and I needed someone just to listen. I am also an over-planner, anxiety filled gal, while Dave is a laid-back, go with the flow type of guy. He was the balance I needed to see what was important again in life. Throughout our friendship, I had learned about a heart problem Dave had. This was due to Marfan’s Syndrome, which he found out he had when he was much younger. This syndrome affects your connective tissue, and can lead to problems throughout your body.
While I knew about this, I never really thought this would be something we would have to deal with while he was so young. Especially since Dave loves the outdoors, sports, and mountain biking, he was as healthy as you could be. Besides the need to slow down sometimes, he seemed perfectly fine. Fast-forward to our 2nd summer together. Dave went to see his cardiologist, and received some bad news. One of the aorta’s around his heart was expanding, and needed to be fixed. It took a bit for the news of open-heart surgery to set in. We had so many plans, and this was terrifying to think about.
We ended up getting engaged a few months later, and set the date for the surgery just after that. Last year on December 22nd, Dave was to have his surgery. It was the scariest day I could ever imagine. It was heartbreaking watching him in pre-op before the surgery began, and even worse having to tell him goodbye. He was trying to be as strong as possible, but I don’t even know how he could speak before such a big surgery. Several of us waited in the waiting room for what seems like days. We prayed, we talked, we read and we cried.
The doctor came out to speak with us and I could have hugged him when he said that everything had went fine. The hard part was not over yet though, because recovery would be quite strenuous. I spent that first night in the ICU with Dave, and seeing him in such a fragile state was something that I can’t even explain. He was in the hospital for 6 long days. Slowly being able to hold a conversation again, then eating in small portions. We spent our very first Christmas actually being together (he goes to Buffalo every year to visit family) in the hospital room, but looking back, I wouldn’t change it.
We were able to spend so much time talking over the next few months. We had all the time in the world to learn anything about each other that we didn’t already know. We added more shows to our list of things to watch, and played board games whenever he had the energy. Throughout this process, so many people reminded us that marriage is “in sickness and in health”, and we knew we would make it.
It was a very long and slow several months, but it was a turning point for our relationship and now our marriage. We were able to help each other realize things that we never would have. While I would have loved for Dave not to have had to go through such a scary time, we are better because of it. God blessed us in a way I never would have expected. Since last year, Dave has had one more surgery, which he is now recovering from. We have big plans after this recovery is over, but I have enjoyed learning even more about my Husband over the last few months.
Macy is a lifestyle and travel blogger from Maryland, where she lives with her Husband and Kitten, SharkBait. She is a newlywed, event planner and always up for chips with guacamole. Be sure to follow her blog To Travel and Beyond, keep up with Macy on twitter, Facebook and instagram.