Christian and Helen Bohlen’s mental illnesses nearly destroyed their marriage, but they found a way to have a happy relationship after all. They detail their struggles in this invaluable resource for couples coping with the challenges of mental, emotional and/or addiction issues.
When Christian married Helen, he dreamed of “doing great things with a loving companion at [his] side.” Unfortunately, the reality of Christian’s marriage hardly matched his dreams. Doctors diagnosed Helen with “borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar disorder.” Her nonsensical outbursts, hours-long tirades and despondent episodes would hijack the couple’s life every few days.
Christian, who suffers from bipolar disorder 2, knew he had to find a way to protect himself and care for the woman he loved. Rather than give up on the marriage, he sought God’s wisdom through prayer, Bible study, proper medications, therapy and lots of patience. Today, the Bohlens are happily married after 35 years. They view their “gut-wrenching experiences” as God’s tools for making them both more “Christlike” and hope to encourage others to seek God first in their marriage decisions.
This well-written, insightful book is primarily intended for readers whose spouses suffer from mental illness. On the surface, it may appear that Bohlen’s message will help readers “fix” their mentally broken spouse. However, Bohlen clearly states that “lasting solutions” typically require the spouse with the lesser issues to “rise to ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world.’”
Christian is the book’s primary author, but he includes Helen’s perspective throughout, both pre-treatment and many years after medications and therapy were successful. Helen brings valuable insight into the minds of suffering spouses, generating compassion for their struggles.
While Bohlen’s methods for success center on God, the Bible and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, married couples of all walks of life will find something useful here. But for Christians dealing with the challenges of mental illness in their spouse, this is a must-read.
Also available as an ebook.