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I wish everyone with a mental illness could find a partner who loves and cherishes them for who they are. Most of the joy I experience in life is from having a relationship with my husband. He provides me stability, endless laughter, and the necessary support to rebuild my life each time it falls apart.

Next month, my husband and I will celebrate our eighteenth wedding anniversary.

Each relationship has its unique recipe and ingredients for making things work. I would say our recipe looks like this:

1 cup forgiveness

1 cup communication

1 cup laughter, silliness, and fun

1 cup hope for the future

1 cup commitment

1 cup support and encouragement for one another

1 cup believing in each other against all odds

1 cup compassion

1 cup caregiving

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl of love. Bake it for as many years as you possibly can – it’s never fully cooked, finished or ready – it is always a masterpiece in progress. You can eat from it year after year, and it will fill you up as it grows larger not smaller with each bite you take.