Diabetes’ effect on relationships: A love letter to a supportive spouse

Medtronic Champion Jaime and her husband

I’m Jaime, a Medtronic employee living with type 1 diabetes. Living with diabetes has its challenges and sometimes it may affect your relationship, but if you have the right partner who loves and supports you, then it shouldn’t affect it at all. 

I am grateful to have found a person who is so supportive, and here’s my letter to him.

Diabetes and marriage

My dear,

I know this was not the life that you thought it would be.  Nowhere in your plan did a wife with a chronic illness come up, I’m sure.

Sometimes it’s almost like our relationship has been an episode of “Three’s Company” — you, me, and good old type 1 diabetes.

When we met, you learned everything you could about type 1. You learned the difference between hypo and hyperglycemia, how to carb count, and how to change out my pump sites. 

You learned the best restaurants that had low-carb options for me.

You were introduced to the soul-crushing cost of what living with diabetes means —yes, it’s that expensive for insulin.  You cleared out the butter dish compartment in the refrigerator and deemed it the new home for all my insulin vials.

You learned about the stigma that having diabetes entailed and would become fiercely protective if someone made an ignorant comment in my midst. You are absolutely right: type 1 is NOT caused by eating too much sugar.


Jaime and her husband on the beach


Thank you for easing some of the burden of this disease.

Thank you for letting me vent when the minute-by-minute management of the disease gets to be too much for me, and for getting me something to eat when I have a low or reminding me to eat after I exercise. You understand there are so many things for me to keep track of that sometimes I just need help.

You never give me a hard time when we travel and I need to take an extra bag JUST for diabetes supplies.  (I haven’t been able to convince you that I need a separate bag for shoes, but we still have time for that!)

Thank you for carrying candy in your pockets for me.

Thank you for seeing me first and my disease second. 

You fell in love with my laugh, the way I could hold my own in a debate about pretty much anything, and my chicken tortilla soup recipe.  The calluses on my fingertips, the scar tissue on my stomach from years of shots, and my pump alarm going off in the middle of the night didn’t matter to you — I matter to you.

Thank you for keeping me safe.  When I start to move in the middle of the night (a sure sign I’m having a low glucose level), I know that can be scary for you, but you are always so calm and reassuring.


man and woman legs in bed


Thank you for knowing the signs of my lows almost before I do.  Before bed, you tell me, “See you in the morning” and for us, it’s not just a way to say goodnight —  it’s a promise that I will make it through the night.

Thank you for giving me hope.  Hope that eventually there will be a cure for diabetes.  Hope that one day I will be able to say I “used” to have type 1.  Hope that I will have many more perfectly imperfect, crazy beautiful, and adventure-filled years with you.

Thank you for being the unwavering foundation of our strong and loving marriage, defying the challenges that diabetes brings to our lives. Together, we navigate the journey of diabetes and marriage and prove that love conquers all.



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