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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to discuss the “in sickness” part of the marriage vows.

If your spouse fell into a depression or other mental illness so deep that they were basically non-functional for a long time, years, what do you do? How much do you do to work with them?
 

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Ouch... I pray that will never happen.

I'm sure it has happened to some.
It's human nature to want to give up at some point. But I guess, I would stick to getting them as much therapy (both marriage & individual) as possible.

Hopefully there would be some kind of regiment (medicine & therapy) that would end up working to make them functional.
 

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I take my vows very seriously. My husband's grandfather had Alzheimer's and now his dad has it too. Things tend to run in families. I would not leave my husband if he lost his mind. I would be there for him.

I have bipolar disorder and had a psychotic episode when we were dating. Hubby was there for me. I asked him why he didn't dump me and he simply said, "it wasn't your fault." If my spouse became ill I would not leave him for something that wasn't his fault.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A lot of mental illness is not as clear cut as Alzheimers.

A person becomes a shadow of themself. They won't leave the house. They accomplish little to nothing. IT's hard to pinpoint what's going on.
 

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Ele, I think both my husband and I are in this boat - regarding our respective issues.

I think when progress stops completely (and most mental illnesses/disorders can be improved upon) that would be the end-all for each of us.

Of course, I am ridiculously tolerant. Maybe it's because I know no one is perfect. My husband's depression and narcissism can be incredibly draining - as I'm sure my anxiety and restless energy can be for him...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yin, I read once that people pick their partners based on matching emotional states.

Perhaps this means that your and his mental issues 'complement' each other.

Interesting thought...
 

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I think so... I've known this for awhile. We are pretty much experiencing what the other is lacking at any given time. My husband once said that is what makes he and I "whole".

Doesn't make it anymore comfortable, though. And I'm smart enough to realize that if I leave him, I'll just end up with another "him" somewhere down the line. Better to sit it out and get myself sorted before I make any major decisions.

I'd like to think that I've otherwise made great adaptations in my mental well-being and perceptions, with a few set-backs. He is a little slower to progress. I think his motivation (or lack of) is directly related to his denial.

It drives me crazy! (No pun intended) :rolleyes: :)
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Denial is often what keeps people from getting the help they need.

If he does not keep up with you, some day you might grow beyond him. That will most likely be when you leave (if you ever do).
 

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For me, it's physical ailment or illness/problem.

Hubs races cars and rides a motorcycle. He's WAY more cautious since having a child but I still worry.

I couldn't see turning my back on him though...however...I have a friend whose husband left her after 24 years of her BAD depression and she didn't blame him. Everyone has a breaking point.
 

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How do you know the difference between a worthless spouse that deserves to be left behind and someone with a "mental illness" that deserves a spouse to stand by and help?

If YOU are sick then YOU should be working to get better. This is true whether you have bonified illness like MS or one of the fashionable "mental illness" like video game addiction.

Once you give up on yourself then it's not reasonable to expect someone else to stand there and support you.
 

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For me, "in sickness" would be a problem for me if my partner refused to take steps to address his illness AND the illness caused harm to me.

Although I take my vows seriously, I'm not a martyr for them. In my mind, they are a contract, and just like any contract, I'll do my utmost to hold up my end, but when there is a breach by someone else, it may not be possible.

Alcoholism is an illness that comes to mind. Denial's part of the illness, but when my partner's illness means he's not honoring the marriage contract to love and honor me, then the illness requires more than simply loving my partner and serving him. It requires me to betray myself to a large degree, which is not found in the marriage contract. No different than losing a job and ending up in foreclosure despite one's best efforts to uphold their contract to pay.
 

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If the guy is neglagent of his health and not taking steps to take care of himself it is unfair for the women to become caretaker of him when he becomes ill from his negligence. To me the vow of for sickness and health.....should be referred to sickeness you helplessly contracted. You can help some in their negligence but you can't help someone thats not helping themselves at the same time.
 

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This is a good question. I'll hold back my opinion for now, but am interested in people's answers.
 

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I am going through the mental illness part right now with my husband. He has been diagnosed bipolar, agoraphobic, anxiety, and ADD. He was originally diagnosed with "just" depression. It has taken 4+ YEARS for the doctors to finally get a combination that works for him.

Though I lost sight of it for awhile, I vowed "in sickness and in health"... NOT "as long as it is convenient for me to deal with your illness". But that's my personal opinion on the subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am going through the mental illness part right now with my husband. He has been diagnosed bipolar, agoraphobic, anxiety, and ADD. He was originally diagnosed with "just" depression. It has taken 4+ YEARS for the doctors to finally get a combination that works for him.

Though I lost sight of it for awhile, I vowed "in sickness and in health"... NOT "as long as it is convenient for me to deal with your illness". But that's my personal opinion on the subject.
When a person has a physcial illness it's usually something that is more easily accepted as something real that the spouse has little to no control over.

Mental illness is often much harder to 'see'.

Your husband is a lucky man to have a wife who has helped him through this. How is he doing now? Is the change in him significant?
 

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I, too, am diagnosed with bipolar I disorder. My wife knew this going in, but she judged me by my character, not my illness. There have been times when the illness is worse (like lately, as a result of her infidelity), and better, when I've been in "remission."

As we reconcile, I have asked her several times, "when contemplating the future, can you handle the fact that you will always be married to a sick person?" She has said that she's all-in, and that this is not really a factor. I'm surprised, and pleased, by this. My illness does not make things easier, but I do my best to keep her apprised of my current condition.

I've got to say that something has occurred to me many, many times as I read TAM: just how serious are people about the *words* of their marriage vows? We all totally understand the concept, obviously, but if pressed, could we even recite our own wedding vows?
 

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Let's also not forget that some mental illness, particularly if the spouse won't get therapy/treatment can make them a danger to themselves and others.

If you choose to stay with them, and they don't want to improve upon the situation, you could literally be taking your life, and the lives of your children in your hands.

This isn't about not wanting to follow your vows, but - at a certain point, you can love someone, but not be around them until you are certain they won't murder you.
 

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When a person has a physcial illness it's usually something that is more easily accepted as something real that the spouse has little to no control over.

Mental illness is often much harder to 'see'.

Your husband is a lucky man to have a wife who has helped him through this. How is he doing now? Is the change in him significant?
I think his is more... Bipolar II. He goes from VERY depressed to "normal". He hasn't had a true "manic" phase, as most recognize with bipolar disorder. I think THAT was why it was so difficult for them to diagnose properly. He has improved. He is able to go out and do more things with us now. Not as much as we would like, but definitely more than even a year ago. But he, and we, have been doing much better now that the medications are working properly. I can see a definite change in him. Before, he hardly got along with ANYONE. Now? He and my mom are able to talk without malicious undertones. So, yes, a very significant difference.
 

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Let's also not forget that some mental illness, particularly if the spouse won't get therapy/treatment can make them a danger to themselves and others.

If you choose to stay with them, and they don't want to improve upon the situation, you could literally be taking your life, and the lives of your children in your hands.

This isn't about not wanting to follow your vows, but - at a certain point, you can love someone, but not be around them until you are certain they won't murder you.
Oh ABSOLUTELY! If he wasn't seeking treatment, and he was exhibiting signs of being a danger to himself and/or others, especially the kids, I would go. I would leave unless/until he DID seek treatment. Fortunately, for us, it didn't come to that.
 

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How do you know the difference between a worthless spouse that deserves to be left behind and someone with a "mental illness" that deserves a spouse to stand by and help?

If YOU are sick then YOU should be working to get better. This is true whether you have bonified illness like MS or one of the fashionable "mental illness" like video game addiction.

Once you give up on yourself then it's not reasonable to expect someone else to stand there and support you.
This is something that I realized not long ago. I have said many times here that a "sick" person and a "healthy" person do not get together... And if they do, it doesn't last very long.

In my situation, my current perception is that both my husband and I are "sick". Like Ele said, though, when one of us "wakes up" and starts growing beyond the other, that dynamic irreversibly changes.

We were well-matched so long as I could be the victim and he could be the crazy-maker. Now that I take accountability for my actions and I'm more aware of his tactics, I can no longer make myself a victim.

This is GOOD for me! But probably will result in the end of my marriage.

I gave my husband 6 months to get some help and show some improvement... That 6 months is almost up. He's on Prozac, which doesn't improve his mood AT ALL. For me, I just see it as a replacement to the Tramadol he was taking, and he is in massive denial about this. We are both in IC, and we both are in MC, but his ability to implement healthier ways of interpersonal relations is obviously something he's struggling with.

Last night, we talked about this briefly and he said to me, "What if I never learn anything in therapy? What if I never improve?" He said this in a very challenging manner, which leads me to believe that he is still in denial and unable to take accountability for himself and his actions.

So what am I going to do about it? (I'm still conflicted). :scratchhead:
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