I'm sorry this is such a hard time for you right now. It will get better once you find the right path, which I think is leaving your lips alone and living in general as healthy a lifestyle as possible. My lips did look similar to yours 7 months ago. Now they still peel in a cycle, but the crusts are more flaky and are much smaller. I also had all the hardships you describe with eating, kissing, etc. These areas are all now much better. Here are several helpful insights:
In the shower just cup your hand over mouth when facing the water and washing your face so that direct water is not hitting your lips. Otherwise, I don't think getting them wet indirectly is much of a problem other than causing them to turn white and mushy for a few minutes until they dry - just don't peel the white stuff off while wet. It's tempting to do so, but you need the skin to stay on as long as it seems to want to in order for healing to occur.
Try to find a healthy diet (not extreme) and stick with it. Perhaps limiting processed foods as much as possible and cutting out caffeine and alcohol would be a nice place to start. Extreme diets where you lose a lot of weight quickly screws with your immune system and that's not helpful (in fact it is detrimental) to your healing.
I had a horrible time talking at first, but this too is now much better. I give public talks a lot for my job, so this was especially difficult. It's much, much better now, but I still have some discomfort from time to time. It's gradually improving and now not all that bad.
Involve your wife in the process, so she's part of your team so to speak. Don't alienate her. I'm married and have two young sons, so I understand the hardship of not being able to give someone a simple hello and goodbye kiss, which I'm now again able to do.
I saw a therapist for help handling the stress of the situation. This didn't directly help my healing, but it certainly helped me cope and manage the situation. I saw someone who specializes in guided imagery - I highly recommend you do the same. Other than the expense, what do you have to lose? I also do acupuncture regularly for stress relief. This too has contributed to my ability to handle the stress of it all and stay as healthy as possible.
Most importantly, I have not used any balms, ointments, etc for the past 7 months. Not once. I'm convinced these products led me to this condition, as it sounds is also the case for you, and avoiding them completely is my primary path to healing.
I hope this helps and good luck! Let me know if you have other questions.
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