Dear Tony,

I love you.

I knew from the start of our relationship that you had bipolar disorder. I appreciated your openness and candor about your illness.

In the beginning, we talked for hours on end. Your laugh was (and is) infectious. I don’t regret that our relationship moved quickly.  After being on my own for seven years, I was happy with my independence but I missed companionship.  You became my companion. It was easy to be with you and to love you.

You are complex, just like any other human being. Ironically, I fell in love with your mind. You have a keen ability to observe people and offer insight into their circumstances. You are helpful in offering me an objective perspective whenever I am frustrated by life’s circumstances.  You are very intelligent and a deep thinker. You inspire me to do things I never thought I could do.

Just as we began our relationship, I had a serious health crisis.  It was scary. I didn’t know how to express my anxiety, but you saw that it was there and you cared for me.  You spent the first six months of our marriage demonstrating how very deeply you were committed to me.  I wasn’t able to work, and I felt that I was a burden.  You constantly reassured me and helped me accept that I just needed to heal.

When I watch you interact with other people, I immediately see why you were a pastor. It’s like you can see into people.  You definitely speak into them.  And I know that late into the night you are often praying for them. It is not unusual for me to walk out into the living room in the middle of the night and see you in your chair, journal open, going through your prayer list.  My heart swells with love.

I didn’t marry Bipolar Disorder.  I married Tony.  Is it easy?  Of course not.  It breaks my heart open when I watch you struggling with the illness that is robbing you of your happiness and stability.  It hurts when your illness causes you to say things I know you don’t mean.  It is lonely when your illness causes you to sleep for hours and days on end.  But I know that’s your illness. It’s not you.  Because I know you.

I hate that I can’t make it better.  I hate that you have to live with this terrible, debilitating illness. But I love how you use your best days to show your love for me and to show your love for others.  The world is a better place because of you. My life is complete because of you.

Love always and forever,
Susan