Although I'm still some distance from fully re-establishing my equilibrium, over the last few months I've begun to better understand how I coped when my life turned upside-down starting late last year. It comes down to a simple fact: Having the partner in life I have helps me be the best man I'm capable of being.
As tumultuous as my life was for several months, it was much easier for me to unselfishly do what I did because my wife fully supported the hard choices to be made, choices requiring sacrifice for each of us and for our marriage. But having watched her example for forty-three years - doing the right thing more often than not, being kind above all else, usually thinking of others before thinking of herself - helped make those choices much less difficult. The closer I followed her model, the more I liked who I was becoming, despite the significant stress of our living situation.
I've had enough exposure to toxic people to last a lifetime. Having a toxic partner during the recent turmoil in my life might have de-railed me. Worse, if the person by my side begrudged the help they gave to me, damage could have been done to the circumstances I was trying to ameliorate. I'm grateful beyond measure to report that instead, I emerged from the tumult a stronger, more worthy person. And that occurred largely because of my partner in life.