Love doesn’t conquer all (or does it?)



Today, I’m accompanying my husband to a depression evaluation session, one that I hope and pray will set him on a path toward healing.

I love him deeply, this man that I married. As I noted in a previous post, however, the man I’m living with now is so different, I hardly recognize him. It breaks my heart into pieces every single day and causes me tremendous pain. As our daughter says, he is “completely lost” somewhere inside an illness that she and I cannot cure, no matter how much we love him.

The past year, I thought that if I changed my behavior, I could change everything. If I became the wife he truly deserved, if I showed him my love in every way that I thought was meaningful to him, everything would be fine.

I was wrong.

If we weren’t dealing with an illness, depression, perhaps it would have worked. Maybe our relationship would be on more solid footing than it is now.

But depression can’t be conquered by love. It simply can’t.

I’m relieved and grateful that my dear husband has finally made the choice to get some serious help for himself. He tried in the past but was severely under-treated, and although I tried to tell him that at the time, the treatment actually did more harm than good.

What’s troubling to me is that in this marriage, I have continually asked myself what I could be doing, what I could change about myself, that would make everything better. That’s not a healthy way for me to approach my life. While it seems inwardly focused, it’s just the opposite: I’m trying to change myself in order to change another person’s behavior toward me.

I’ve picked up the slack, too, carrying the depression for my husband. Today, I’ve let it go, because it doesn’t help him or me. He has to pick it up himself and take care of his health, and today he begins that process. While he may not realize it, this journey is going to be arduous. I will do my best to support him — as I always have, even though the depression has blinded him to my efforts. But no longer will I subjugate my own self to an illness I don’t have.

While my love may not have conquered my husband’s depression, my love for myself has risen from the depths and taken control of my thoughts and my actions. And I’m proud of myself for being able to do that, finally.

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