9 Couples On What They Learned About Love When Sh*t Hit The Fan In Their Lives

Twenty20.com atteberry
Twenty20.com atteberry

1. Cancer diagnosis

“When Alli and I were in the doctor’s office and the word ‘tumor’ came out of the doctor’s mouth, everything turned black around us. It was the last thing we expected. We weren’t planning for this, and this was like a nuclear bomb blowing up all our plans. We still don’t know what’s going to happen or if she’ll make it out the other end alive. But when you or a loved one are dying, you realize the most important thing in life is love itself. Hatred just seems so shallow. Love is the only reason we’re here in the first place.”

—Ronnie, 28

beetlejuice

2. A child’s autism diagnosis

“We thought our little boy was deaf at first. So we took him to a hearing specialist—his hearing was fine. Then we took him to a neurologist and when we were told he was severely autistic, there was a sense of loss and sadness unlike anything either of us had ever felt. But then we realized it was almost selfish to feel sad, because we needed to spend every waking minute trying to help him. We created this life and we had to take care of it, and that meant letting go of every little stupid difference and argument and every shred of stupid pride. What we learned was that when you’re in love, sometimes neither one of you is as important as the little guy who needs you.”

—Jim, 29

beetlejuice

3. Job loss

“They say that when you go through something bad, you learn who your real friends are. You also learn who really loves you. When my boyfriend was suddenly laid off, I went from paying half our bills to paying all our bills. We were barely squeaking by for a couple months, because I don’t really make that much money. But you know why I didn’t get angry at him? Because I knew it wasn’t his fault that he got laid off and that he was trying his best to find a new job. So we just held hands and walked through that hurricane together until he found an even better job. Best thing is that I know if I suddenly find myself unemployed, he’ll have my back, too. And that’s the real meaning of love—having one another’s back.”

—Kat, 24

beetlejuice

4. Car accident

“You always hear about horrible tragedies, but I just think there’s something about the human ego that refuses to believe it’ll ever happen to you. Well, it happened—I was in a vicious car accident. Got T-boned on my way to work and had my leg broken in three places. Was in a cast up to my hip for three months. He fed me while I was stuck in bed, read to me, watched my favorite Netflix shows with me, and never once even mentioned sex, which would have been impractical anyway given the giant plaster stump attached to my leg. What I learned is that sex has very little to do with true love.”

—Tessa, 22

beetlejuice

5. Finances wiped out

“I fell in love with Jeff long before I knew he came from an ‘old money’ family. I mean, it was nice knowing that we’d have financial security, but that was NOT the reason I fell in love with him. Then after a series of business failures and stock-market disasters, his father declared bankruptcy. This completely wiped out Jeff’s inheritance. But you know what remained? Jeff—the man I fell in love with.”

—Brandi, 25

beetlejuice

6. Bigoted parents and friends

“My girlfriend is black and I’m white, and both our parents on both sides hate the fact that we’re together. Not to mention a lot of our friends who we’d never suspect would have a problem with it. It’s not even like this all ‘pulled’ us closer together—it’s like it squashed us together. Suddenly we found ourselves almost completely isolated socially, but instead of panicking, we just pretended we were alone together on a beautiful little tropical island. All the problems in the world wouldn’t amount to anything so long as she was by my side. Everything else would just melt away in a blur. I learned that love is stronger than prejudice and even more important than friends or family.”

—Dave, 27

beetlejuice

7. Mother’s suicide

“I’d been with my boyfriend only about two months when my estranged alcoholic mother swallowed a fatal dose of painkillers. I must have worn out three of his shirts just by crying on his shoulder. And somehow, after a while, it got better. I felt like I’d come out the other end of a meat grinder in one piece. When my mom committed suicide, I remembered everything bad I’d ever done to her or said to her, and it made me feel awful. So I vowed to never act that way to the man I loved.”

—John, 23

beetlejuice

8. Infidelity

“We had only been going out a couple weeks, but I was already head-over-heels for my boyfriend when I found out through a mutual friend that he’d been making out hot and heavy with another girl at a party. My heart and trust were shattered like broken glass. I felt like my guts were ripped out of me, but he just calmly placed them all back in, cried his eyes out, admitted he had a problem, and begged me to give him one more chance. And so I did, which many of my friends thought was foolish. Now, there’s damage you can’t undo, so you learn to let the wounds heal, don’t pick the scabs, and let the scar tissue. You learn what you will and won’t forgive. Or not even won’t—what you can’t forgive. But I took a gamble, rolled the dice, and forgave him. Three years later, he’s not my boyfriend anymore. That’s because he’s my husband.”

—Maria, 26

beetlejuice

9. Addiction issues

“I met him because we worked at the same bar together and we used to have these great discussions after closing time while we were cleaning up. He made some vague remark about having some substance-abuse problems in the distant past, but I didn’t think anything of it—that is, until I received the call from the emergency room that he’d overdosed on heroin. I rushed to the hospital and saw him looking like a pathetic helpless little boy all hooked up to wires and tubes. I wanted to strangle him with those wires, but instead I held his hand and, choking back tears, I said, ‘I hate you for what you’ve done—but more importantly, I still love you.’ He looked back at me and started bawling like an infant. It’s been a year, and he still goes to meetings and hasn’t relapsed once. I learned why people become homeless or alcoholics or suicide victims—because no one was around to love them.” TC mark

—Stephanie, 23

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