A big happy Valentine’s Day to my wife of over 25 years, Lori. I’m grateful for not just the quarter century together, but more importantly all the ways we’ve grown personally and relationally since those early days of college.
I shared about how we met on my Everyday Health The Itch to Beat Psoriasis column titled, “How Psoriasis Helped Me Meet My Wife.” An excerpt from the top of the column expresses how connecting through sharing about my psoriasis and her spina bifida led us to develop an inseparable bond:
It was love at first talk. When Lori and I met in our last year at college, we connected immediately. Sure, there was a physical attraction — and we joined the same Christian group at the University of California in Davis. But the ability to talk openly about living with chronic health conditions bonded us from day one.
We still care for each other through the health ups and downs with listening ears and helping hands. I wouldn’t have wanted to share my life with anyone else.
For this our 28th Valentine’s Day together I would like to share a short letter to my best friend:
I can’t thank God enough for bringing you into my life way back when we were wide eyed university students ready to take on the world. When we started talking (for hours and hours!) I felt like you understood me like no other. That’s saying something since, with a sever skin disease like psoriasis, I could count on one hand the number of people who even took the time to get to know me at all, let alone understand me on that level.
You didn’t have psoriasis, but you had a lifelong disability that you also felt freedom to talk about with me. The bullying. The shame. The self-hate. The avoidance. The achievement oriented academics that distracted from what was hidden. I resonated with it all. We also shared a common faith and desire to make others’ lives better with the experiences, gifts, and opportunities afforded us.
I know we didn’t expect to have a child just ten months after our wedding. We didn’t expect how severe and untreatable my psoriasis would become, or how broke we would be while I attended seminary. We didn’t know how painful and enduring grief and loss would impact our lives after your mother died of breast cancer. We thought she’d live into her nineties like so many others in her family. Your ensuing anxiety and depression was not something we planned on either.
Yet, vows mean something in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer. Every time I lead a couple in their vows I think of how we made a vow before God and 500 witnesses (you had way too many friends and family at our wedding!) on August 13, 1994. We’ve been through so much together, not even mentioning twenty plus years of church work and ministry and parenting three children.
This Valentine’s Day I just want to say how I much I appreciate you for sharing in the journey with me. May He give us another 25 years or more to create more memories and travel the world to make it a better place.
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