After a catastrophic injury all relationships in your life will be different. It will be necessary for you to make changes to your relationships in order to adapt to your new situation.
But your marriage will be the relationship that is most important for you to keep thriving after paralysis.
My wife Julie and I have been married almost 19 years and for the last 7 ½ we have been married after paralysis. Many marriages don’t survive a spinal cord injury. But our marriage has not only survived but thrived since my injury. In fact, I believe our marriage is stronger today than it was 7 ½ years ago when I was injured.
I want to share with you three of the ways we have kept our marriage thriving after paralysis in the hope that it will help you in your marriage as well.
The number one reason why our marriage has thrived after my injury is because of our focus on Christ. My wife and I are Christians and our faith has been key in our success in marriage both before and after my injury.
Ephesians 5:25 says “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
How did Christ love the church?
He gave himself up for the church.
He sacrificed himself.
So husbands are to love our wives with a sacrificial love.
This means that I “look not only to my own interests but also the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
It is easy to become selfish after a spinal cord injury. If you fight against that and love your wife as you love yourself (Ephesians 5:28) you will be amazed at how she will respond.
After a spinal cord injury it is easy to be angry.
Many times the person that we take out our anger on the most is our spouse.
I have a C7 level injury so there are a variety of things that I need help with every day including some of the most basic things of life.
When I show appreciation to my wife for how she helps me it diffuses any anger I have. When I am consistently grateful my anger becomes less and less powerful within me.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
This verse has been extremely important to me. As I seek to give thanks in all circumstances I become less and less angry and more and more appreciative of God, my wife, my children, my business, my friends etc.
The third important part of thriving in our marriage after paralysis has been the importance of praying together.
Julie and I pray together every night before bed and every morning when we wake up.
We also pray together if we are feeling anxious, sad, angry, frustrated, or a variety of other emotions that a couple that is daily dealing with a spinal cord injury life feels.
Prayer is extremely important in staying connected to what is on the heart of each other and bringing those requests to God. Peace can only come through prayer.
“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Marriage is hard. Marriage after a spinal cord injury is even harder. If you focus on these three keys you will be amazed at how God can use your injury to actually bring you closer to your spouse and thrive with paralysis.
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