A Letter to the Husband Whose Wife Struggles With Anxiety

There’s a word in Hebrew language, called “ahava,” that means “love toward one another that can’t be broken by anything other than death.” It’s one of the strongest definitions of love. It’s a fierce love. A love that fights tirelessly and passionately.

You are exhibit ahava every. single. day.

You pull yourself out of bed in the morning, with your own worries and cares and dreams and struggles and job and life, but first you pick up hers. You know her demons and her fears are louder and scarier than yours today, and so, like clockwork, you put down your desires, your preferences, your schedule, your peace and your time—to jump in the boxing ring with her.

You know this is her fight to fight alone, but you can’t imagine how scary it must be alone in that ring. So you hop in, knowing you can’t win for her, but you can be there.

You’ve given up peaceful nights of rest, nights out with the guys, relaxing after work with your favorite show to hold her shaking body when the panic comes. You’ve cut short time at parties, time with family, running errands in stores, a Friday night out—when the people crowd in and you think the party’s just getting started, she feels the claustrophobia and the tightness of chest and the paranoia, and you don’t understand it but you whisk her away until the brain settles down and the easiness of breathing returns.

Some days, you pull her out of bed and get her ready for her day, don’t you? When the anxiety feels too much and she has given up, you have to step in and do it for her, don’t you? No one sees that, it’s not something that gets bragged about at parties or shared on Facebook. But perhaps, this is your most noble of feats, Husband. You never thought you would have to stoop this low, as if speaking more with a child than a wife, reasoning why it’s perfectly fine to get up and go to work today, how it’s going to be okay.

When you said, “I do,” you knew you were signing up ‘for better or for worse,’ ‘in sickness, in health.’ You have stepped up fearlessly. You have been selfless. You have been a fighter.

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