What we learned in our first year of marriage. 

We haven’t been married for a full year yet, our wedding was on the 06 April 2013. But we have learned so much already. I must confess that our first year hasn’t been that straight forward either. Carl proposed to me just before I got very sick. I had shown signs that I wasn’t well, but we didn’t realise that individually the symptoms weren’t too bad. However when you threw them all together it came to TB Meningitis.

Carl proposed when I was really not well, but we found a good day between the bad ones, and headed out to the country where he had organised a nice picnic spot in the middle of a wheat field on a random farm an hour outside of Cape Town.

It was beautiful and overwhelming. I couldnt eat any of the picnic. We celebrated the event with close friends, but didn’t spill the beans too far since I wanted to dwell on the event first, before everyone asks you unthought questions – like what school you’ll send your kids to?!

Life continued, grasping that I was gonna marry this best friend of mine. Then on the 1st of Jan 2012. I urged Carl to make an appointment for a doctor the next day- I wasn’t feeling that good and feared sinus. I never woke up the next morning – I remember nothing of the night, the pills i swallowed, the stabbing headache that woke me every midnight for the last few weeks. I was talking to Carl apparently, fighting with the ambulance staff, pulled out my drip, fought everyone who wanted to help. I was admitted into ICU and was unconscious for a good African 30 hrs.

The journey from there was the slowest ever. Now exactly 2 years later I finally feel like myself again. TB is truly an african sickness, it takes it time to fully show itself in your body and it takes its time to leave, preferring to have yet another cup of tea with you before thinking to leave. The TB was also not a simple version in my lungs but in my brain and spinal cord. A blessing was that we decided to get married a year after I fell over, but the journey was not complete.

I remember going to the ‘pre marriage’ course with Carl. A lady took the ‘communication’ course and said, to her, it is the most important tool in marriage. I glanced over that and was way more intrigued and freaked out (at 28yrs old?!!!!) about the sex ed.

She was right though.

It’s difficult to explain the journey we have been on since our wedding day. The pages of detailed medical facts are not going to assist in explaining what we went through, if one has no idea of TB. What we did learn through this time is this:

We learned to communicate:

a.) because we had to. When you are humanly tired, you still have reserves. When you are ‘cripple’ tired (like i called myself) – there were no reserves. Hence whatever came upon our path, we had to deal with honestly. My sister always said ‘Being sick makes you honest’ – and oh how true that was.

Examples such as:

– deciding who had the honour of your few minutes of communication before the eyelids dropped or the brain was too overloaded with thinking;

– how to use your energy wisely, what would your priority list look like, and did that include some cuddle time with your husband tonight?

– explaining to Carl again that you were not mad at him, but trying to resolve my own frustration with yet another low blow from the illness and still not being healthy after all these months; then asking him to pray this time round on your behalf.

That leads me to my next point, we learned to communicate:

b.) because there might not be a tomorrow – to sort issues out as soon as the arise and to appreciate the small things in life.

This point seems dramatic and emotional, but for Carl it happened over night. It is a blessing that I recovered without brain injury, but it could have turned out differently. There is no time to lie in a sulking mood and ponder about the ‘fight’, but if it is expressed, both parties can deal with it at once, and in case Jesus takes one of us home, there should be a reason less to live in regret.

But yet God will call one of us at some point, but he gave us each other for now. So we appreciate every cup of morning coffee in bed together, every prayer between the two of us, every supper at our table, our view, a good day and a new step forward- no matter how small.

But most of all we know that this is not a relationship between the two of us, but that God is the leader and the glue in this relationship. He is our all and in Him we trust. He granted us the gift of marriage when no one thought it was possible, but our mighty God has never forsaken or left us alone, even in the darkest and pain filled moments.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Col 1, 17

[To read the next Marriage Post on year 2 with  Sally and Benjamin Shannon, click here]