Marriage is harder than they let on to. When you stand before your friends and family, and God if you believe that, you vow to stand by this person no matter what comes. And you trust in that same promise being made to you. The vows are written around the very fact that we can’t possibly predict the future.
I think I believe most people do the best then can by their partners. I certainly want that to be true. However, I also know many marriages don’t work out. 50% or more. I have a number of theories about that, but the ones that devastate me most are the ones how fail to live up to “…in sickness…” There is a particular phenomenon of husbands who leave their wives in the face of serious illness. I have seen it among women I coach, and it is a problem that rises to the level of Oprah addressing it.
All of this is a very long-winded opportunity to share how awesome my husband is. John and I are approaching our 25th wedding anniversary. They have not been easy years. We met in college, got through graduate school together, and have moved back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles a couple of times. We live 2000 miles from “home” without the resources that an extended family provides. John’s job is demanding, and he is excellent at it. He won’t ever tell you, but in 22 years of being a litigator, John has never once lost a case. Together we have a magnificent son, and while our family is small, we are very, very close.
For nearly half of our marriage we have lived with breast cancer. It really isn’t enough to say that John has been there “every step of the way.” He has done so much more than that. I have often said that I would much rather be in my shoes than in his. I can’t imagine the powerlessness he feels in the face of knowing all he can do is support my cancer-related decisions and pray for the best. While I can take an active part in my healing, he holds a support role. I don’t mean to minimize in any way the profound importance of his support – there are days when he was the very reason I got out of bed at all. He does all he can…joins me for doctor visits, keeps me company on scan days, helps make sure we are all eating well and exercising regularly. He pushes gently.
More than that, John supports me in my advocacy and writing, giving of time that is rightly his in order for me to push my agenda forward. He makes it easy for me to travel when I need to, to write when I can. He takes on extra burdens at work to cover our medical expenses, which are huge. And he lives with the sense that in the face of my mortality, he must be all the more immortal.
I am very proud that tonight is John’s night. After about 20 years of involvement with the Beverly Hills Bar Association, tonight John will be installed as their President. With 5400 member, the BHBA is an organization dedicated to the betterment of the legal profession, to legal aid, to supporting the courts, to educating consumers, to mentoring young lawyers, and to advocacy on behalf of those in our communities whose voices are least often heard.
John, I am so proud of all you do, and grateful to take this moment to honor you. I am also very blessed to have you, and to have kept you, for more than a quarter of a century. I know you’ll shake your head, but you are a remarkably special person, and a daily blessing in my life. Thank you for choosing me…I love you very much!