Indeed, the minor details of our domestic life sound petty even as I enumerate them. But what could be more important than the mundanities that make up lives together, a marriage? The texture of a shared life comes from our small priorities, our daily choices, and habits.

For weeks after coming home from the four-month hospitalization for his stem cell transplant, Brad was too weak and deconditioned to walk across a room unattended, much less do the dishes. He had also lost his vision to acute graft-versus-host disease and was severely immunocompromised. Everything had to be clean and sanitary.

What I really wanted to do, those evenings, was to run away from the demands of caregiving, the frustrations of parenting with a partner too ill to take on much of the load, the tedium of daily details. I was tempted, during what I took to calling my ill-timed midlife crisis, to blow up my entire life. But bound by the entwined tendrils of love and obligation, I couldn’t toss aside the life we had built.

Domestic life and love are full of compromises big and small. We love someone, so we choose to stay with them even if life together isn’t quite what we pictured.

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