For the Better or Worse

I finally understand the meaning of the phrase “for the better or the worse” when it comes to marriage.

In the past three years, I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression. As a result, my marriage has weathered some difficult times, and my husband, Bill, has faced some tough challenges.

It’s a testament to how strong our bond is that we’ve made it through and a measure of his commitment that he’s still here. Now that I’m feeling better, I’ve had a chance to appreciate the difficult role thrust upon Bill and how much he’s done for me.

Perhaps most difficult was his decision to get me electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which involves shocking the patient with electric current so that they have a seizure. (I just had a treatment this morning.) Experiencing convulsions and seizures on my own, I wasn’t in any condition to make the decision myself. But the treatment is somewhat controversial and other family members were divided over whether to do it.

Bill made the decision to move forward with ECT after asking himself what I would do if I were well. For guidance, he thought about how I had decided to have hip replacement surgery  a few years earlier. In that case, after trying various therapies for a year, I decided to follow my doctor’s advice and get my hips replaced. Getting ECT seems to have been the right choice; since having it I’ve felt like a new person.

But that was just one of Bill’s challenges. For three years, he dealt with a weepy, needy, anxious wife. One day Bill left his desk at work for a few minutes and returned to find seven messages from me. In addition, he had to communicate with numerous doctors, manage my medications, deal with my frequent fainting spells and make the difficult decision to hospitalize me three times. I can’t say I enjoyed it in the hospital but putting me there seems to have been the right thing to do.

And that’s not to mention all that Bill’s done to cover with our two children during my anxious period. My husband took our older daughter, Isabelle, to four cities to visit nine colleges the summer before last. I don’t even remember them going. He also took Isabelle to the hospital for a kidney infection and accompanied her to the emergency room for subsequent complications while I was sick.

My older daughter says that seeing us get through all this has helped her understand what marriage is all about and why I married him. I can’t think of any better decision I’ve ever made.

So consider this post a thank you, Bill, for all that you’ve done in the past few years. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without you and I’m sure some husbands would have left.

In our case, for the better or the worse has also meant for the crazier. I’ve been lucky to have a husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin, and no one could be happier or more relieved than Bill to have me back.


Have you ever suffered from anxiety or depressionShare by commenting below!


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About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly,, MS., Parenting, Real Simple,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.