People have often asked, "So how's Chad doing?" I don't think anything of it, and usually answer, "he's fine", because he is. He's always fine. Come on, it's Chad. Laid back, even-keeled Chad.
Then I realized that my friends were asking a serious, heavy question. These friends are showing they care and understand on a deeper level than those who just ask me how I'm doing. They know that chronic pain can be a huge stressor on a relationship. They understand that chronic pain changes things. They figure that if I'm not always doing well then it can't be easy on Chad.
I'm sure it's difficult to see someone you love in pain, all the time. It has to be frustrating to see the effects of the pain: me being spacey, not being able to think of words, forgetting things, having a wife at your side that looks pissed off (but is really in pain), missing activities because of the pain. And then there's the way it directly effects him: me being much more irritable when I'm in pain.
Yet through all this, Chad's love hasn't changed. He is patient. He is kind. He is not easily angered. He doesn't hold my irritability against me. He never complains. He supports me. He takes me seriously. It makes me smile when I overhear him in a conversation educating others about my condition and what I've been through.
I wouldn't say that this hasn't effected Chad, because I'm sure it has. I mean, how could it not? But I'm not sure how it has, because his love remains unconditional. I don't have a perfect husband, because those don't exist. But it warms my heart that Chad takes his marriage to me seriously as a reflection of Jesus' unconditional love to the church. I'm so undeserving but so grateful.