Boobless and….Well…..Still Boobless

This is a lengthy one, so grab your pumpkin spice latte and settle in.

There are a lot of studies out there that have looked at how stress and severe illnesses like breast cancer affect marriages or intimate relationships.

The news isn’t good. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to whether a marriage or an intimate relationship succeeds or fails in times like this (well, or even in times not like this), but a number of the studies show that the divorce rate during or after a serious illness is over 70 percent. Folks, that’s nearly 3 out of 4 marriages that tank after a health crisis.

If you know anything about me, you know that I hate divorce.

Hate it.

I hate what it does to men and women. I hate what it does to kids. I hate what it does to society. I didn’t have divorced parents—but I have taught over 31,000 students and have spoken to college students across this country, and I know what they struggle with. And when I write the books, I read hundreds and hundreds of research articles about divorce. There’s no way to pretty it up. And I refuse to be politically correct about it.

<You’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up now instead of talking about breast cancer.>

Here’s my point. If marriage really is about through-good-times-and-bad-and-in-sickness-and-in-health-and-when-life-is-stormy-and-when-it’s-quiet—WHY oh WHY do 70 percent of marriages fail in the bad times?

Because this is what happens when we reduce love to something that we do, instead of experiencing it as a part of who we are.

Are you starting to get me, where I’m coming from?

If you do love, you react certain ways when things happen. When you are love, nothing changes. You’re unmovable. You’re steadfast. Rock. Solid.

When I got my diagnosis, I literally couldn’t breathe—I couldn’t gasp in, I couldn’t breathe out. Everything came to a screeching halt. And that’s because no one in my family had ever survived it. I was petrified, and I had good reason to be.

But I had one thing that a lot of women don’t have: A husband who loved me right where I was.

Not the superficial bring-me-a-cup-of-coffee-or-rub-my-back-when-I-don’t-ask-for-it kind of love. But a kind of love that accepted and embraced my weaknesses.

Rock.

Solid.

Love.

One day Dave helped me into the bathroom (okay, you gotta admit that’s a different kind of love altogether). He made a phone call, a phone call he didn’t expect me to overhear. He called my doctor.

I didn’t listen to the entire conversation. But I did hear him say—broken, sobbing uncontrollably, begging—“Please. Please. I just want my wife back. Just promise me you can give me my wife back. I can’t keep watching her go through this. Please.”

<This is the point where, if I were talking to you in person, I would almost be am pleading with you to understand what I’m trying to say. And I would be am crying.>

I didn’t even need to hear his words. All I needed to hear was the emotion behind his words to know that he. loved. me. with a kind of love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. The kind of love that never fails.

Don’t you see? That’s what this entire blog experience is all about. To teach you, to show you, what I know about love…from a research viewpoint…from a personal experience viewpoint…from reality. To somehow get the message out that love is more than a dare.

And to understand that love is more than a promise.

I want you to experience the kind of love that withstands [the early death of a parent or the death of a child or mental illness or a job loss or bad in-laws or money troubles or rebellious teens or cancer or arguing or a horrible job] anything the world throws at it. The no matter what kind of love.

And over the next few weeks I hope to show you how to get this kind of love—so when you do bring your partner a cup of coffee, it’s out of that rock solid love place in your heart.

A couple of days ago, I said that my breast cancer experiences were as much about love as they were anything else.

I mean let’s be real. When all was said and done, nothing changed the fact that I was boobless and, well…..still boobless.

But even though my body didn’t make it through the experiences unscathed, my marriage did. Our love did.

And that’s a victory in and of itself.

Comments

  1. Levi says:

    You’re so incredibly wise! I love this!

  2. Natasha says:

    I have heard many things in the Bible about love, but the common theme being that love isn’t a feeling or an emotion, it’s much more. I believe whole heartedly that your words will most certainly help someone else in their marriage (which is what I’m assuming is what you’re going for). I pray that God continues to allow you to be a strong voice. :)

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