Disease (n): ailment, affliction
Doug and I have hit another milestone in our first year of marriage: sickness. We made it through our first Valentine's Day unscathed, but we both developed a nasty head cold that has now taken over our home. Now, Doug and I have dealt with each other being sick, but never both of us at once. This experience, I believe, is teaching us much more about living together and marriage than almost anything else we have gone through.
First, the line of selfishness and servanthood is clearly drawn. When both people are sitting on the couch soughing up a lung, who is going to get more tissues? Who is going to make lunch/dinner? Who is going to empty the little garbage can when it overflows? Second, personal space/habits become a bigger issue. The messy spouse leaves used Kleenex all over the house. Or plates and empty glasses. The OCD spouse is counting how many cups of water everyone has been drinking, how often meds have been taken, and is taking everyone's temp every four hours. Sometimes the messy spouse and the OCD spouse are the same person, which just annoys the easy-going, yet neat spouse. Both people want to watch TV, but there is a big difference between Battlestar Gallatica and Friends. Or Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and Pride & Prejudice. Finally, you learn the other person's version of what sick means. When you are both fighting the same virus at the same time, you have a general idea about how the other person is feeling. Everyone works on their own pain scale; some people have a lower or higher tolerance for pain than you do. One spouse, for instance, cannot handle sinus pressure. The pain and congestion is just too much to bear. Sore throat, not a problem. Runny nose, no big deal. The other spouse, though, might not be able to stand a chest cold. All the coughing and soreness is too painful. They don't mind the congestion as long as it stays in their head.
While these may seem like minor things, something as "primitive" as a cold can really strengthen a marriage. It promotes teamwork, it allows for togetherness, and it really does help you get to know each other better. Now that Doug and I have experienced that, I think we don't need to do that again.