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Health & Sex

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What Does "For Worse" Look Like?

Their love survived...his near-fatal war injury continued...

"At that moment, I imagined what it would be like to never again hear him tell silly jokes to the kids or say that he loved me," Giap says. "I was scared. I had no idea where he was, how he was doing, or whether he'd live."

Flown back to the U.S., David underwent 20 surgeries in 20 days as doctors struggled to save his life. Miraculously, David's condition improved, and by January, he was allowed to return home. But life hardly returned to normal. Still stiff from his injuries and groggy from pain medication, "I was this lump," admits David. Unable to wrestle with his kids or take his wife ballroom dancing, as he'd promised before going abroad, he often felt helpless and a little humiliated. "Giap had to do everything, from dressing me to changing my colostomy bag," he says. "We used to take walks together, but it's hardly romantic if you're pushing an aluminum walker." Meanwhile, Giap often felt overwhelmed with her new responsibilities.

Recently, David admitted that one day he'd like to return to Iraq if his health permitted it. Knowing how sad he'd been watching war coverage on TV, or talking to his troops on the phone, Giap realized what her answer had to be. "I'm by no means in love with the idea, but I love him, so I'll support him no matter what," she says. David, in turn, has learned to accept that it may take a while to become the man he used to be. "In the past, I took care of Giap, but for now she takes care of me," he says. "In switching roles, we've learned new things about each other, and that's helped us grow closer."

Their love survived...their parents' illnesses

Just days away from toasting their first wedding anniversary in February 2004, Greg Stewart and Diane Connell received a phone call that would change the Los Angeles newlyweds forever. Diane's mother, they learned, had had a stroke. A month later, she suffered a second. As Diane struggled to come to grips with the grim prognosis and negotiate her mother's health-care needs, Greg, 35, did what many people are taught to do in this situation. "I tried to get her to talk about it," he says. But his efforts backfired. "I knew he meant well, but his need to engage me felt almost intrusive," explains Diane, 32. "If he got me talking about my emotions, I'd unravel and burst into tears. To keep it together, I just needed to shut down and shut him out."

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