What price love?

November 4, 2016

what-price-loveWe’ve come a long way since the snake pit style “insane asylums.” A very long way.  Many types of mental illness can be treated and patients are no longer shamed and automatically hidden away.

But are there some ways in which mental illness differs from other kinds of illness? We’ll call those other illnesses physical illness, for lack of a better word.

You’ve heard the question, “what price love?” and I am hoping to discover the answer in your responses to these hypothetical situations. If there are enough comments, I’ll base a future blog post on them.

So here are three short scenarios and I’d like your response to each:


You’ve fallen in love with someone–and are planning to marry them. Six months before the wedding, they are diagnosed with a disease that will limit the way they live their life.  Lou Gehrig’s disease: ALS. It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS robs a person gradually of their mobility and speech over time until finally, the patient dies. While the average life span with the disease is three to five years, patients can live 10 or more with the disease. Those will be difficult years.

Would you marry him or her?


Suppose instead that six months before the wedding you discover they have serious heart disease. They will have to limit their activity in a big way. They could be in and out of hospitals the rest of their life.  Would you marry him or her?


Finally, what if you discover they suffer from a serious mental illness> Treatment is sometimes effective. But sometimes it isn’t.  The illness has limited your loved one’s life in significant ways and is likely to continue to do so. It will make your relationship tenuous in many ways, limiting it, too.

Would you marry them?

Even a short response would be great. Thank you!

40 comments on “What price love?
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    If I had truly fallen in deep love with someone with ALS, I would marry. My heart is committed when I love; that,I know. Same with number two. and there is much ore hope in this scenario. Number three would be much harder for me, much more testing of my love and commitment and frankly, I can’t see myself falling in love with someone with that kind of illness to begin with.I would probably stay for a long as I could, but only if I were not in harms way. All three situations would require the outside love and support of family and friends, and therapy, group or individual. My daughter was recently diagnosed with MS, and I fear her live-in boyfriend, who loves her now, does not realize what could be in her or his future.It takes a love greater than any other to stay, I think, and although I would not blame him if he left eventually, I would be heartbroken for her.

  2. Thank you very much. This article adds to my knowledge and very helpful!

  3. I think in those heady days of romantic love leading up to marriage you think you’re bulletproof and love will conquer all, so Yes I’d have still married all three case scenarios with stars in my eyes. The reality is that you often don’t find out about serious illnesses etc until you are down the marriage road a fair way. I’ve dealt with scenario #3 with my husband and his chronic depression for decades – I had no idea this would happen back in those rosy first years. Still, this is where those vows of for better or worse etc kick in and you pull your socks up and just love them through it……and hope like hell there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  4. candy says:

    The answer is yes to all of them. Now that we are in our older years and have been through cancer and treatments yes it is hard but I married him for all eternity not just for the good days.

  5. It depends what type of person you are and you would have to be in the actual situation to know what you would do.

  6. Cori says:

    I agree with Cynthia. We all think we’d do the right thing, but until we’re in the situation, we honestly don’t know how we’d react. The third scenario, for me, would heavily depend on how committed the person is to treatment and taking their meds. I have unmedicated family members. I wouldn’t want to deal with that day in and day out.

  7. I tend to avoid “Here’s what I’d do,” responses to situations I’ve never experienced. But this question is compelling because my answers at 30 would have been different from those of today, a couple of decades later.

    I would marry someone who satisfied my heart, mind and body knowing a physical challenge might await us, because physical challenges we’re not aware of could always present themselves.So, in the spirit of seizing the day, having great, (if tested) love that made my life full, I would say yes to 1 and 2. I have no doubt about those.

    Conversely, a mental illness that had the potential to damage or break me, or my life, or forced me to watch my other destroy himself would be a deal-breaker. No to #3.

  8. Barbara says:

    Not easy questions. Love is love and it’s difficult to think rationally when it’s new. My reaction to the first two is yes. I think it would be hard to walk away with a clear conscience. The third one is different. If you are aware of someones mental illness you have to know it could potentially be dangerous for you and others. Without a commitment to seeking help prior to marriage I would be unable to marry that person.

  9. Yes, to all three because love doesn’t come with exceptions. It would be hard, but as you know I’ve never been afraid of hard. Besides, if that was the way it worked I’d be single.My husband would have never married me. I have lots of physical limitations and I suffer from depression, but he loves me anyway. That’s the way love is supposed to be.

  10. Kelly says:

    Marriage is not something I will do again. I was divorced after 24 years of marriage and I just no longer have that “stars in my eyes” idea of marriage. To me it is a legal and financial contract. Having said that – I would commit to someone who was ill in any of those ways, but I have no way of knowing if I would stay or if I would be resentful at times. Life is not perfect – humans are not perfect. No one knows the future.

  11. helene cohen bludMan says:

    Very interesting and I’m going to have to give this some thought.

  12. sue says:

    Some tough scenarios here Carol but the younger me would have jumped in hoping that things would be okay. Love conquers all they say. However, in reality it is a huge decision and you would have to have a special relationship with deep love and commitment to continue. My darling husband has suffered from PTSD (Vietnam Vet) and we are both ‘second time’ married. I love him deeply but at times it is very difficult when he is ‘down’ or has that extra drink to calm himself. He is a wonderful man and it upsets me to see him suffer at times. I like to think I’ve been a support and help to him in our 23 years together.

  13. Amber Myers says:

    If I loved someone enough, I would marry them despite an illness.

    My son has autism, and I hope someone will love him and look past the autism.

  14. I think the world has lost the true meaning of love, love is putting the person needs before your needs and so the real question is do you really love them or do you love yourself more?

  15. Wow heavy topic. I honestly dont think i could. I think it would be too hard to watch a loved one die and know that its going to happen soon.

  16. This is a very interesting subject. My husband and I became best friends 20 years ago over having huge amounts of emotional baggage from our ex spouses. I suffered from PTSD from many years of abuse as well. Long story short, we paid a very high price for our love. We lost 6 kids and 9 grand kids to the lies our ex-spouses told about us. But did you get the part that this was 20 years ago? For 20 years we have held each other up, held our heads up high and held hands in perfect unity as best friends. Sometimes the paying the higher price is worth it! We are still believing for the truth to come out and our kids to return to us.

  17. Kimberly c. says:

    Yes to all. Marriage is for better or worse. You fall in love with the person including all their baggage. Although it might be tough, I don’t think these scenarios can change how you feel about someone.

  18. Linda Hobden says:

    If I loved somebody enough to want to marry them then it would be highly likely I would go ahead in all 3 scenarios – however, unless you find yourself in those particular positions it is really hard to actually predict what you would really feel like & do ( the mind works in mysterious ways and does not always follow previously held views/actions)

  19. Jacqui Odell says:

    Number 1! YES I would marry them. I loved them before they were sick and you can’t shut off love like that.

  20. I’ve been with my husband for 33 years. We got married in 2009! So the answer is yes! I could not imagine my life without him in it. And it scares me to know that I could face that day sooner than later (his dad died in his early 60’s) and he is 55. I only pray that GOD will allow me a lot more time with him.

  21. nicole says:

    Tough questions! But love is always the answer, I think if you have any doubts about one scenario you shouldn’t marry that person. I think it would be a little tougher being with someone who has a mental illness. I have had my small episodes of panic attacks and delt with PSD while being with my current partner. I can’t say it has been easy for him but it get rough sometimes. We all just have to love as much as we can.

  22. Amy Colgan-Niemeyer says:

    Yes to all three. If I love the person enough to want to spend the rest of my life with him then these issues wouldn’t change that. And how do I know that 6 months after the wedding we’d find out something like this? Life has it’s ups and downs and roadblocks and detours. Loving someone means tackling those issues together and handling them the best that you can. My husband and I have each had to deal with issues similar to these. I was born with health issues. He married me anyway even though others in his life had doubts about me. We’ve been married for 28 years. In that 28 years I’vebeen in and out of the hospital, been sick, etc., but he’s still here with me. And, back in 2003, he fell off a ladder and fractured his skull. He survived even though the doctors thought they wouldn’t be able to save him. Miraculously, he is healthy, working, and basically fine. He does have short term memory loss and some hearing loss, but the mood swings the doctor said he might have haven’t materialized to the extent we thought they would. He does seem to be a bit different in personality than he used to be, but not radically different. Being that I have had life long health issues, I think I could understand what he was going through. Those vows are “in sickness and health,” and we must remember that. Not everything in life is going to be rosy. If you love this person enough to marry them, you need to take the good with the bad. Now, if the person became violent as a result of their health issues, no, I would have to leave. My safety is more important than any vow I took and any love or sympathy I have for the person.

  23. I agree with Leanne! We marry the person for better or for worst.I will answer yes to all 3 scenario given that I myself have witnessed firsthand how my hubs handle it. When you love someone, you love their good and their bad. It’s a package deal!

  24. I would definitely still marry in all three cases. I think in these cases, the lives can be prolonged by a strong, supporting and loving environment.

  25. Stella Chiu says:

    Hi, Carol

    I will marry him in each of three cases.
    I can’t imagine that is other option if you really love that person.
    It is really testing point of your understanding of real love.

    Stella Chiu

  26. This interestingly just took place with a friend of mine. He was weeks out from his wedding when he had a manic episode and learned he was bipolar. Twice he was checked in. The woman decided not to marry him, which I thought was good, not because he had mental issues, but because she learned this ahead of time. When we marry someone we take the person as is.

  27. So we have already decided to marry in six months, so we love each other. The first two I would go ahead by God’s grace we would grow in love through the tough times. 6 months from the wedding with #3. You said a serious mental health issue that may or may not be helped with meds. Having three nephews with serious mental illness and seeing what they go through, the episodes when they don’t take their meds. I would not marry this person, especially if I wanted kids, it would not be fair on them to expose them to the emotional ups and downs. Not to mention any hereditary factors of mental illness that could manifest in them. I would however, seeing I loved this person do all I could to support them, but I would not marry them. It is a whole different scenario if it manifested after marriage, I certainly would not walk out.

  28. All three situations are heartbreaking. If I was in love, I’m sure I would move forward with the marriage. In all situations I would need an incredible amount of strength as well as the support of my friends and family though.

  29. Crystal Gard says:

    Very insightful, this on will take some hoguht

  30. Samantha says:

    Yes. The person you feel in love with is still there. For better or worse.

  31. Vera Sweeney says:

    I would have to say yes! Love is always worth it the same thing could happen the day after you marry you just never know.

  32. Elizabeth O. says:

    Yes, I will still marry the person. A marriage is a commitment that asks you to go through hell and back with your spouse and that’s exactly what I’m getting into. What happens if they get diagnosed after the marriage? Will you divorce them? Of course not. For me it’s the same thing.

  33. lisa Rios says:

    Such a beautiful post and these are some tough & sensitive questions to answer. But to me, when there is true love I will surely say Yes to all 3 instances as miracles do happen when there is true love & care all around!

  34. i’d marry them, you don’t know how things will work out or if a tragedy can hit anyways after marriage..

  35. Stacey says:

    If I was truly in love, I would never walk away.

  36. I’m shallow so I guess you know what my answer would be, Carol. LOL. I’d like to think I’d still marry any one of these three, but I am not sure I would. I do think that a young love would have a harder time to cope with such huge challenges than a couple with longer and stronger bonds.Everyone comes with baggage, however, that must be dealt with sooner or later.

  37. Crystal says:

    Yes, yes, and yes . . . Love, even for a brief moment in time is worth sacrifice. Love encompasses, or should, everything. I have two sons with autism, one with a diagnoses of bipolar as well and my greatest hope is they will find love, they will find someone willing to wrap their hearts around them and love them through and despite the hardships they may face.

  38. Jennifer says:

    In all honesty, I cannot answer these questions truthfully. I would like to say I would say yes to all, especially 1 and 2. But not being in those situations, I don’t know. Theoretically, yes. But having had to manage people, I know for a fact that no two situations are the same and I’d have to be in the circumstance in order to actually know. What I can tell you is that I did marry my husband knowing that he’d already had cancer once and a year later, we went through stage 2. But I knew I would marry him all over again, even when we were in the middle of it and didn’t know what would happen.

  39. Silly Mummy says:

    Interesting questions. I don’t know! I probably would think twice now because I have children and I would consider the fact that it would not only be me dealing with these issues. Before children maybe I would feel differently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.