What has been your biggest surprise while being married to someone?
My heart toward my husband changed after this incident. There were times when I hated my husband's tone, gestures, and smile. But these things feel like my husband's trademark and look lovely.

I got married at 32 and turned 48 this year. Over 16 years, we raised two sons and overcame big and small challenges. He’s my husband, my life partner, and my helper. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if my husband died. It wasn’t so sad when I imagined it this way. I didn’t even feel the loss. Last week I experienced something amazing.

I made fish soup for my husband after he got home from work on Friday. During the winter, Koreans love fish soup made with cod. In the middle of taking off fish bones with chopsticks for my second son, I heard my husband screaming. He had a fishbone stuck in his throat. After falling to the ground, he let out a grotesque scream. The situation was urgent. I called the paramedics right away.

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While my two sons stared in amazement, I had him put on his coat. In less than 5 minutes, I got a call from the paramedics. They were on their way and asked if the patient was conscious. Though he was conscious, he was in pain and holding his neck. I was told by the paramedics to come to the front of the house if he could walk. My husband and I barely made it to the front door.

It didn’t take long for an ambulance to show up in front of the house. During the ambulance ride, my husband lay on the ambulance bed in pain. As I sat next to him, I explained the incident to the paramedics. A 30-minute drive to the university hospital, which is about 10 km away, felt like three hours. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t even swallow saliva. He grabbed at his chest whenever the car shook.

I was in a lot of pain watching it. I felt like a thorn stuck in my chest. I cried endlessly. It’s my fault I made fish soup. I was sorry for my feelings towards my husband without sincerity. I realized how unrealistic it was to think that I could live well with my two sons without a husband.

My husband put his hand on my head while I was crying. Looking at my husband, his eyes seemed to tell me to calm down and not worry too much. This is how my husband has always treated me. Rather than criticizing me for being selfish and pursuing only my own happiness, he embraced me for who I am. He was sincere with me. As the ambulance drove towards the hospital, I prayed. I remember hating my husband for having a different personality from me during our 16 years of marriage. I admitted I was wrong. I realized how much I love my husband.

When we arrived at the hospital, there were many critical patients, so my husband had to wait for a long time to see a doctor. Three times a thin tube with a camera was used to examine the esophagus, but no fish bones were found. Apparently, the thorn has gone down, said the doctor. By the time my husband was examined by the doctor, he was able to speak and the pain had largely disappeared. The doctor said it was okay to go home.

When we got home, we talked about the paramedics who rushed to the scene and the doctors waiting in the ER for the citizens. I told my husband how much I love you and how precious you are to me. He listened to me and loved it.

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My heart toward my husband changed after this incident. There were times when I hated my husband’s tone, gestures, and smile. But these things feel like my husband’s trademark and look lovely. It came to recognize his individuality and character. My husband has a diligent and thrifty personality, but in the past, I hated his way of thinking because it didn’t suit me. But now I know that simplicity and frugality are his virtues.

I’m so lucky to know my husband’s virtues at 48 before it’s too late. I feel humble and grateful after this accident. Now I can truly love my husband.