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Hinges of Marriage

“We don’t have anything in common” my friend lamented, “sometimes I wonder why we even stay together.” 

As I listened I absently glanced at our white patio doors with it’s 3 hinges. “Well” I shared with sudden inspiration “it only takes three hinges to hold a door open.” 

I then shared the hinges needed in the marriage of one of my relatives after bipolar illness tore them apart resulting in divorce.  Within two years a good therapist helped them to remarry.  He helped then see that they really did still love each other and helped them accept what it would take in order to make their marriage work.  

Their four hinges were: 

1. Their weekly date--- without fail 

 2. Personal Space- he needs personal space to retreat to whenever he starts getting stressed (3 rooms in the basement) 

3. Their shared belief in God and decision to be active in their church 

4. Family calendar scheduling every week (They both do better with a solid schedule, especially with their four children) 

Our conversation then turned to hinges in my friend’s marriage.  She decided to ponder and prayer so she could discover the hinges that could make their marriage work.   

After all, it doesn’t take 11 hinges to hold an open door to a relationship.  Sometimes it only takes three.


I am agnostic and my husband is not religious, so we don't attend a church or temple, etc.

We have a wonderful intimate life which has been one of our key hinges ever since I reached recovery. There have been times when there was *no* intimacy between us for months and months due to my bipolar depression, and he stood by me.

It's hard to discuss sex openly in our society, but I feel it's important to recognize its place in a marriage. Now that I'm stable, we consider our sex life to be a spiritual, bonding element of our relationship. We appreciate this intimacy more than ever before in our fourteen-year-long marriage.

Dyane, in my marriage there were times when I was not "in the mood" due to bipolar depression or to post-partum hormonal changes, yet I made love to my husband anyway, for doing so is not just about pleasure, it is about love and intimacy, about understanding and providing for each other's needs and desires. Marriage involves give and take by both parties. Besides, I could often talk him into breakfast in bed afterwards. He would treat me like his beautiful queen. We've been married 17 years, together 20, and it gets better over time.

i watch sports center and pardon the interruption--he watches project runway and top chef. That and mandatory no electronics family game night and no electronics family dinners at least 3 nights a week! The shows give us something to talk about besides kids and work. We do go out too...mostly ball games, wineries, and good food trucks!

Bipolar disorder is like wanting to dance and sing on the tables at the bar for 5 days straight what, last call already!! Look at me look at me! Dress up go out look pretty Bed at 3 up at 6 insomnia
Restlessness compulsions racing thoughts cook breakfast lunch and dinner go shopping buy lots of stuff you really don't need impulse impulse impulse can't pay the bills but oh well I had fun organize the pantry at 2 AM do it all I'm invincible nothing can stop me grandiose I'm the best I know it all other people are stupid listen to me lecture you followed by...I want to hide under the tables do I have to take a shower or get out of bed you guys are on your own for meals dishes in the sink homework not done TV is my good friend no I'm not coming out of here again today yes I'm taking my meds yes I'm working through this yes I know you love me no I don't know why I'm crying again stop bothering me your making me angry. I just want to be alone. People annoy me feeling guilty but can't snap out of it...just keep supporting me...I need you
How do I know...cause it's my life...since 2004 it's been my life. I've learned to cope with rapidly cycling bi-polar I disorder. Behavior therapy and minimal drug/med intervention and lots of environmental support. Sometimes it's not pretty but it's real! We need to stop shaming ourselves and our loved ones. We need to
Support them. Hiding it, shaming it, forcing mental illness to be faced alone does NO ONE any good.

Yes!! this is by far THEE best description I have seen for Bipolar thus far. It probably helped that I read it in all of my manic, super speedy reading glory. I rapid cycle so much, it's really frustrating, when I'm up, I'm WAY up... usually making plans that I will despise when I crash and am depressed. Thank you for reminding us to not shame and to be a bit easier on ourselves.

The book "Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder"
by Julie Last and John Preston really helped my husband and me from coming "unhinged."

How do I get my husband to admit his illness. He has been diagnosed for 6 years, but will not admit , take meds or see a doctor again.

Thank you!

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