With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. 

Though Ben and Erin have been through the unimaginable, they have come through the other side stronger. Two years into their marriage, a freak accident left Ben without the use of his arms and legs. Erin says, “I went from wife to caregiver in a matter of seconds and we have spent the past 5 years learning how to be husband and wife again.” Erin explains that at the time of the accident, she thought she and Ben were working as a team but quickly realized how much she leaned on him for everything. After the accident, she says, “I had to make sure the bills were paid, the medical decisions were made, the house was taken care of and our daughter was taken care of, too.”

“I remember sitting in the ER not knowing if my husband would live and thinking ‘would he want to stay on life support?’ I know the answer now, but I didn’t then, and it scared the hell out of me.” Ben and Erin offer this advice to married and engaged couples: “Have the difficult discussions early and often. They are important.”

In many ways, life has returned to a new normal. Erin and Ben each has the same job as before the accident and they are both studying for their Masters’ in health policy and management (they enjoy having heated discussions about health care!). And their five-year-old daughter, Isabel, has recently found a fun upside to Ben’s accident. Erin explains, “Ben’s chair can stand up so he’ll stand up – it’s amazing – and she’ll climb up it, then stand up and jump onto the couch. She also ties her bike or play car to him and he’ll pull her around outside. They do crazy things together!”

I asked Ben to tell me a story about their marriage, and he summed it up saying, “Our life is a story. After a freak injury left me a quadriplegic, the fact that my wife and I are still married shows that our love is unconditional and the partnership makes us stronger.”

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
8 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots
  1. Stephanie

    What a lovely story. I mean, I know no one would ask for what Ben went through, but it’s reassuring to know that there are kind, patient, and dedicated couples out there! They’re setting a great example of love for their daughter. Best of luck to them!

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  2. Alejandra

    What a beautiful story!

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  3. Courtney from Cocroft & Delbridge

    Sweet story.

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  4. Josh Gruetzmacher

    So inspiring. Way to take good care of each other Erin and Ben!

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  5. Christina Y

    so so so inspiring! thank you for sharing.

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  6. Rene

    I have had the honor of meeting this family. They are all inspirational!

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  7. Aunt Stella

    This is truly an amazing story and I know first hand since Erin is my neice. I am amazed every day at how they have come through such a dark time in their lives to be the amazing family unit they are today. Now when I see them and Ben is making cookies with their daughter or the family (including Ben) go for a ski weekend, I don’t see any disability, I see a family. we must remember each family is different and beautiful in it’s own way. I am so proud to call them MY family.

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  8. A Day in May Design

    What an amazing story and a testament to how strong love really is. This husband and wife team are truly inspirational.

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