Let Celiac Disease Motivate You to Be Your Own Ideal Marriage Partner

If you had the ideal marriage partner, how would they support you emotionally? What would it feel like to be married to them?


Sherry Scheideman, Celiac, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor

  • Celiac Counsellor’s Corner* is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.

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sherry scheideman self loveIf I had the ideal marriage partner, they would be really tuned in to my feelings all the time. When I was afraid, they would be by my side, facing the demons with me. When I was sad, they would be there, holding me in their loving embrace until the dark waves subsided. When I was angry, they would be full of compassionate understanding for me. They wouldn’t be offended or judgemental. They’d see my pain, and they’d comfort me, assuring me that I’m worthy and good even when I’ve behaved badly. When I was ashamed, they’d infuse me with love from their own heart to restore me. They would delight in me. They would share my pleasures. They would treasure our every moment together. I would feel safe and cared for.

These are some high expectations of a marriage partner!

In reality, it’s not possible for anyone else to be that focussed on me, or to see me that clearly and understand me that well.

I’m the only one who has that kind of intimate access to my own experience.

I’m the only one who can really know how I’m feeling. I’m the one who feels it.

sherry scheideman self loveSo … it’s my job to be my own perfect marriage partner. It is my responsibility to tune in to my experience as it happens, and support myself through it all, with compassion, acceptance, non-judgemental curiosity, love, and delight.

When I partner with myself in this way, I take control. My happiness is in my own hands. I am empowered. I don’t have to beg and cajole and manipulate anyone else into taking responsibility for my feelings. I am responsible for myself. I am always with me, and I can be counted on. This frees me to see other people clearly and to delight in them as they are, rather than having impossible expectations of them.

Some Celiac Examples:

Betty wishes her husband would defend her against their obnoxious acquaintance, who is spewing nonsense about celiac disease being just like a peanut allergy.

As her own perfect marriage partner, Betty tunes into her feelings and notices the anger. She activates compassion for herself as the flames of anger burn within her. Still tuned in to her feelings, she notices another emotion under the anger – a deep sadness at being different / misunderstood / rejected. She offers herself the understanding and acceptance that she craves. Suddenly she notices that her acquaintance and his allergy comments don’t seem as obnoxious anymore, and that she doesn’t need her husband to defend her.

Bob wishes his wife would understand that he’s not that excited about the upcoming neighbourhood potluck because he’s afraid of getting glutened, and it will be hard for him to see and smell all that food he can’t have while other people are enjoying it and urging him to have some.

As his own perfect marriage partner, Bob tunes into his feelings and notices the fear of being glutened. He thanks the fear for warning him of the gluten dangers. He reminds the fear that he knows how to take the necessary precautions, and promises that he will exercise the necessary vigilance. Then, Bob notices the fear of offending people by not eating their food. He gives himself the acceptance and understanding that he is afraid he will not get from them. Finally, Bob notices the fear of feeling sad / jealous / hard-done-by for not being able to eat much. He promises to stay by his own side at the party, giving himself the compassion he needs. He notices the fears subsiding and his enthusiasm growing. The party starts to hold its own kind of promise to him. He eats a good gluten-free meal before going, and packs some gluten-free treats to take with him. He knows that the gluten-free potluck contribution he is bringing may get contaminated in the chaos of the party. He supports himself through all this as his own most loving partner. Nibbling on a rice cracker at the party, he marvels at the richness of this vibrant life. He is happy to be at the party with his beloved wife.


Celiac disease can trigger a lot of uncomfortable emotions in us. This is great, because discomfort motivates us to take responsibility for our own happiness.

One cute trick for taking responsibility is to imagine yourself as your own ideal marriage partner: pay attention to your emotions, notice what is alive within you, and give yourself the love, compassion, understanding, and support that you need.

Give it a try!

It’s not selfish – it’s responsible.


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“Life happens! Why not love it?”

“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”

    • *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.