Thursday, January 31, 2008

How well do you really know your spouse?

In the beginning of any serious relationship, you want to know every little detail about each other. What movies does he like? What kind of music is she interested in? What does he like to eat? How does he take his coffee? Is she into books or sports ? Or both? How many other significant relationships have they had? And on and on it goes.

But after a while, you settle into a comfortable routine. You have separate interests, careers, and roles within the relationship or household. And (if you're lucky) you have Intimacy. Those intense and very special moments together (as you go about the every-day busy-ness of life) are to be cherished. Love deepens and passion takes a back seat for a while (not lost, but simmering just below the surface).

However, when you become the primary Caregiver to your spouse, a different kind of Intimacy evolves - not the kind you wholeheartedly threw yourself into when first married.
Sex has nothing to do with it. In fact sex is a distant memory as it now falls into the category of aerobics. Breathing is Hubby's first priority. And if you don't breathe, you don't do anything else. Period.

As time passes and this incidious disease progresses, Hubby is slowly giving up his independent self. I check his bodily functions daily. Does "input" equal "output"? Is he taking his medications? Washing?

For the last few years now, I have had to help Hubby with bathing and dressing. How demeaning, not to be able to take a shower (hand movements tire him out and lower his 02 sats), or step into and out of the bathtub alone. If I'm not home - he doesn't bathe.

A body is a body is a body and we each have one, so that's not the Intimacy I'm referring to here. It's the thoughts going through his head, the feelings in his heart.
In the beginning of a relationship every emotion and thought pales in comparison to Love. We are saturated with Love. How do you feel? In Love. What are you thinking about? Love! As time passes, Love settles comfortably over everything, like a dustcover, and the rest of our emotions and thoughts can come out to play.

Sitting in our sunny kitchen at lunchtime today, I found myself truly listening to what Hubby found interesting enough to share with me. When he talks football or hockey my eyes glaze over. Same with finance. He knows it. I know it. I smile and nod and then talk about what interests me. Often it's the grandchildren, or gardening (yes, even in January). He listens and hungrily jumps in with two feet. He gives me his full attention, whether he "enjoys" that particular topic or not.

But for the first time today, I realized just how important his interests are to him. His world has shrunk. He stays at home. Consequently, watching football or hockey on TV becomes the focus of his day.
The focus of his life.
And I have been missing out on listening to his thoughts, his interpretations and his feelings - which are so important to him at this point in his life.
His life has become a Communication of the Mind. The body hardly participates anymore.

Whether I'm interested in a subject or not, it's the essence of Hubby's {{ Now}} We don't know how much time we each have on this planet. We only have {{ Now}}. And if I miss {{Now}} I am missing a vital part of Hubby's existence.

So I resolve to "pay attention", to hear beyond his words. Is there a plea for Understanding? For Interaction? Reassurance? For intimacy that goes beyond the body?
Is there a voice crying to be heard?


Anonymous said...

An incredible post. Thank you.

Grandmother Goddess of the Garden said...

That was indeed an incredible post...good for you! Good for hubby! You are inspiring! We are very much alike in many respects...especially the gardening in January! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'll check back on you often.

Wendy said...

Thank you Anne for stopping by with your encouraging comment.

Thank you too, Grandmother goddess of the garden - gardening is a wonderful passion, isn't it? I'll stop by your blog too.

JOY said...

I'm back! Won't have much to post for a few days tho. The move went very well, the weather was decent at least & the guys did a really great job. I'm sitting here with my keyboard in my lap, my monitor on a storage container & hopefullly my son will be by later tonight to set up my new computer desk for me. Hubby's doin' pretty good. A radical improvement from a 50 year old house on a busy street, to a 6 year old house with no traffic at all. All laminate floors, no carpet, except upstairs in the bedrooms. And finally I've got him sleeping in the kitchen so I don't have so far to run with breakfast anymore! Yay, any little thing that we can do to make our lives easier & more enjoyable as caregivers is an absolute must~

Wendy said...

Congratulations, Joy! You did it! And Hubby survived. Bless you both.

JeanMac said...

Just found your blog today, Wendy, and will get back.All the best. J