Saturday, February 14, 2015
Love and Devotion: An Interview! Dan and Jennifer Digmann
Valentine's day brings to mind thoughts of candy hearts, chocolate, and red roses as we stroll through the grocery store. What does this day truly symbolize, however? In my opinion, it is a day to celebrate the strength, perseverance, and dedication required to truly love another human being. Dan and Jennifer Digmann are a wonderful example of unconditional love, and I wanted you to meet them (if you haven't already!) They are inspirational bloggers, authors, and speakers, and both have multiple sclerosis. Dan and Jennifer's site: http://danandjenniferdigmann.com
Q: How did you meet?
A: We met at a National MS Society event called "Finding Your Buried Treasure" on Sept.28, 2002. Jennifer was one of the event's organizers and also was a small group discussion leader. Dan just happened to be sitting at her table. There was instant chemistry between the two of us (Dan says it was love at first sight for him), and when the program ended, our relationship began :-) For more info, here's the link to an article Dan wrote for the NMSS magazine: http://danandjenniferdigmann.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/imsfeb06-mymswedding1.pdf
Q: Were you both diagnosed before meeting?
A: Yes. We met in 2002, but Jennifer was diagnosed in 1997 and Dan was diagnosed in 2000. By that point, Jennifer had Secondary Progressive MS and using a wheelchair, Dan had Relapsing-Remitting MS.
Q: What advice would you give to the spouses of MS patients? What is the best way to support a spouse with MS?
A: Spouses need to be patient. Give their loved ones the time they need to adjust to their realities. Listen to what they're saying and truly put yourself in their shoes, but also have thick skin and don't take things too personally. It can be scary stuff to deal with, but you need to do it together. While it's important for you to know what their needs are, you also need to make them aware of your needs too. They are the ones living with the disease, but thereby so are you. Make sure it's known that you understand what they're dealing with, but in return, they need to understand what you're dealing with as well. This in no way means one has it worse than the other, it's a challenge and a fight you share together. You're on the same team.
Q: What is the most important thing you have learned from one another?
A: The most important things Jennifer learned from Dan are faith, patience and persistence.
The most important things Dan learned from Jennifer are to enjoy life and not take things too seriously.
Q: How do you make your relationship work despite MS?
A: We've never known each other without MS. See our responses to question #3. Because we each are the spouse for someone who has MS, we take a lot of that to heart. The other thing that makes any married relationship work (with or without MS) is honesty. We work to be as honest as we can with each other so there never is any question of where we each are coming from.
Q: Do you have any advice for those with MS in new relationships?
A: Be honest and trust in the other person. Don't give the MS a bigger role in the relationship than it deserves. Some days MS needs to be the star and get all the attention, but other days it just needs to have a place as a extra that doesn't get to say any lines. It's like you're the producer of the production and your goal is to make you, not your MS, the star.
Q: What are your favorite qualities in one another?
A: Dan's favorite quality in Jennifer is that she is the most beautiful, caring and generous person he knows. Jennifer "admires" Dan, who just is a good human being. And he's adorable too :-)
Please check out a wonderful book that has featured Dan and Jennifer: "A Dose of Devotion: How Couples Living with Multiple Sclerosis Keep Their Love Strong." Here's the link to the book on