When Relationships Change
by Sylvia Keck
When I first came to know my significant other, I never dreamed that our lives would suffer an upheaval due to illness (both of us). He has fibromyalgia, and is in pain 24 hours per day at one level or another.
And me, I am having trouble with Diabetes, new medication that seemed to fix the problem, then began not to be as effective again.
He and I are both (respectively) working through the physical adjustments. I see his adjustment as more difficult than mine, as he does not have medicine that helps him that much with his pain, because he also has an ulcer, so he cannot take many different types of meds.
Diabetes is just a constant adjustment where you "take your blood sugar reading" using a glucometer machine (a finger stick) and you go by the numbers as to what you can eat, or if you can have a snack.
I have to ask God sometimes moment-by-moment and certainly daily to help me with my "choices" because I am also addicted to certain foods, which he has no trouble with.
I find that both of us seem to be relying upon God's help more and more rather than our own power. Yet both of us have different understandings and life experiences with God, and this has caused great difficulties in our relationship, more especially since he has been ill.
As a former EMT, my Sunshine certainly depended on God to intervene where his training left off. Though his parents were Lutherans, he says he was more close to God as an EMT more than any other time of his life, besides right now. He has his moments where he finds "religion" to be judgmental and a source of upheaval in history, and has become opinionated and sometimes argumentative about worship, churches, and religion.
We disagree on this topic. And this is where the relational "rub" has caused us difficulties that we seem to be working through, at the moment.
While I can see that religion has caused division among people, I think it is more positive than negative. I believe that there are other "forces" at work among Believers that cause this division.
I see the glass more half-full and can find much in common with other Believers because I know that the answers are found in Christ Jesus and God's Word.
Human thinking is a common religious "user error" in applying religion to human relationships. I'm a live and let live person, as to finding commonality and peace. My significant other won't go near a church because he says that they are nothing but Christian social clubs, just businesses.
Well, if they were not run like businesses, they would fail. Churches contribute to backbone of community outreach now; this requires funding and small injections of organization.
While I cannot change his outlook, I hope that God will keep me living what I believe. I have had to take a firm stand for my beliefs. There had been times when his pain, his health, and his alcohol consumption kept me from going to church.
I have discussed this time with him, which he did not like hearing about, yet I have to discuss it with him. "Sometimes you did not want me to go to church and kept asking me to go another day--always it was go another day."
Postponing my worship service attendance stretched on to two years! I felt like I was suffocating! I recharge my spiritual batteries with other Believers, and I was missing this.
Something was happening that was damaging me. I would attempt several times to discuss this with him. Me talking, him talking. Him yelling. Me trying to talk. Then me yelling, and him yelling. Not a very pretty picture, but an honest and raw one.
At last, hopefully, he and I seem to be over to the other side of this. (Please God). My family came to America sometime in the 20's or 30's for religious freedom. To be "suppressed" in any way as to going to worship was more than my spirit could take.
To say I was a bit scared by this "new side" of his personality during illness was an understatement. My acquaintances and friends were extremely concerned for me, being afraid it would escalate into other more outlandish demands. My other half, he may still see this issue as "my drama." I see the issue as spiritual, having to do with the way I was raised, and as being "controlled."
This is my second relationship in my entire life, by the way. My first husband, while he was not interested in attending church at first, much later on he began to go with me and be became interested.
In this relationship, I almost began to feel as though I had unknowingly attached myself with an unbeliever. Religion and church worship was something I thought I had "talked out" and had an understanding of before we progressed in our relationship.
Sometimes illness will change a person and their thinking, someone had suggested to me. I had to do a lot of reading and a lot of praying, asking God to make me more tolerant and patient because of his illness.
God has and continues to answer this prayer each day now. I continue to pray for my Sunshine to have a greater relationship with His Lord and Savior. He doesn't seem comfortable talking about Jesus very much. This has always made me uncomfortable. And now I have been questioned (slightly) about why I am increasing my Bible reading. He asks, "Are these people telling you that you have to write things in a notebook and read more of the Bible?"
He says that my beliefs seem like cult? Yet I have always been a note-taker at church, even as an elementary school child.
Do you see the chasm I am attempting to cross? This is the way my grandmother raised me. She lived this way, so I lived this way. As a busy young mother, I neglected Bible study and church worship sometimes, then later got back in worship again, because I wanted my child to have the same opportunity that my grandmother had given me.
I had something that some of the other kids in my high school did not have. I had peace. I felt like I knew where I should go, and I knew the places that I did not want to go in life as well.
May all who are going through similar relationship difficulties attain some new understanding or certainty from this share. Strive for the truth "and the truth will set you free."