How We Keep Our Marriage Strong, Even With Parkinson’s Disease

Despite the challenges, chronic illness brought this couple closer together

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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“When the bones are good, the rest don’t matter/ Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter/ Let it rain ’cause you and I remain the same.— Maren Morris, “The Bones

I just love this song! Whenever it comes on the radio in my car, I play it at full blast and sing as if my life depended on it (giving the drivers around me a good laugh). When I listen to the words, I’m reminded of my relationship with my husband, Arman.

When a young couple is planning their life together, they generally don’t foresee chronic illness in their future. It’s just not what fairy-tale endings are made of. But as many of us know, it can be our reality. A chronic illness can change the course of your life, forcing you to adjust your plans.

When Arman was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) at age 38, we thought we’d have to give up on our hopes, plans, and dreams. Early on in his diagnosis, we failed to see that our dreams could still become a reality; we just needed to make some adjustments. The fairy-tale life we’d envisioned was different, not gone.

This certainly wasn’t an easy process, but eventually, we were able to ease into our new life and start to enjoy our new “normal.”

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Surviving Marriage While Surviving Parkinson’s Disease

Perfect intentions

“No, it don’t always go the way we planned it/ But the wolves came and went and we’re still standing.” 

Arman’s diagnosis strengthened our bond as a married couple and brought our family closer together. Don’t get me wrong, PD’s challenges aren’t easy, but we do our best to work through them as a team. Parkinson’s not only affects the patient but also their entire family.

About half of married couples in the United States divorce, but, as U.S. News & World Report notes, the divorce rate could be as high as 75% for couples in which at least one person has a chronic illness. I was shocked and saddened to learn this statistic. It got me thinking about my marriage with Arman and how we have kept it rock-solid despite the odds.

When I asked Arman how we’ve accomplished this, he said, “I remind myself daily to focus on us and not PD. I try not to let this disease take over my life or ours.”

As his wife, I find it necessary to talk about our feelings often and not shy away from difficult topics. Being transparent, open, and honest has been our most valuable tool for a successful marriage. This isn’t always easy to do in practice, but it’s truly a necessity for us. We realize that there are many things in life that we can agree to disagree on (though I’m usually right). We do agree that there are no perfect people, just perfect intentions. I’m certainly no expert on marriage, but I am an expert on our marriage.

Yeah, life sure can try to put love through it, but/ We built this right, so nothing’s ever gonna move it.”

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Pam avatar


thanks for reminding us that it is important to hang in there no matter what.
we are 47 yrs married and my hubby John has PD for the last 6 yrs. When I get frustrated with day to day things with him, I try to remember what a fantastic hubby he was and what a good human being he is still ( despite driving me mad at times). I also draw on my Buddhist philosophy that nothing stays the same and EVERYTHING changes. Good luck with everything. You are a good example for us all! We also have 3 amazing adult kids and their partners who support us. So I guess we are lucky .

lots of loving kindness to you and yours


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