"Maks always wants to take care of everybody, which, to me, was the biggest sign that he is going to be an amazing father," says Murgatroyd

By Patrick Gomez
Updated December 18, 2015 10:00 AM
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Credit: Courtesy Peta Murgatroyd

Nothing tests the power of love like having to nurse your loved one back to health.

“I am so lucky to have somebody who is willing to sit by my side on the couch and watch TV and get up and ice my ankle and change the dressings on my feet,” Peta Murgatroyd, who graces the current cover of PEOPLE, says of how her fiancé Maksim Chmerkovskiy took care of her following her ankle reconstruction surgery on Sept. 10.

Murgatroyd, 29, says getting through the Dancing with the Stars summer tour had been a “struggle” because of her injury. But being a consummate professional, she refused to slow down until Chmerkovskiy, 35, sat her down and explained to her the necessity of the surgery.

“He really had to convince me,” she says. “I remember he sat me down at this café and said, ‘You have to do this. There is no way around it. With your ankle, you could not be walking in a matter of weeks.’ ”

This is a familiar dynamic in their relationship.

For more about Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd’s love story – including what Chmerkovskiy’s brother Valentin thinks of his fiancé – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

“She’s difficult to reason with when it comes to her health. It took a lot to convince her that she had no choice but to do the surgery,” says Chmerkovskiy. ” ‘You’re making a big mistake.’ That’s what I tell her when she prioritizes work and other things over her body.”

Once she decided to have the surgery, Chmerkovskiy became an “incredible” nurse, says Murgatroyd.

“He flew to Ohio twice to be with me. Once straight after the surgery and again when I was going through therapy,” she says. “He was so wonderful and I just remember thinking, ‘This is it. I couldn’t ask for anybody better to look after me and I wouldn’t want anybody else to do it.’ ”

Not that she made being a caretaker easy.

“She’s not the best patient,” Chmerkovskiy says of Murgatroyd’s refusal to stay immobile in the days following her surgery. “At one point, I stopped actually trying to convince her and just started doing everything for her.”

And it’s that kind of behavior that has Murgatroyd excited to start a family with her husband-to-be.

“Maks always wants to take care of everybody, which, to me, was the biggest sign that he is going to be an amazing father and take care of me the rest of my life,” she says. “I love his huge heart, his generosity.”