Monday, February 1, 2010

Marriage Mondays ~ Sickness & Health

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Some modern vows delete it, but most who wear wedding bands promised it "in the presence of these witnesses." You know the part ... "in sickness and in health." Few think of the likelihood of experiencing sickness, physical or emotional, in married life. It's inevitable, though, that infirmity will strike during life together and may range from stomach flu to kidney stones to long term or terminal illness to depression and anxiety. It's hard to live out our vows "in sickness and in health."

I remember feeling like it was going to be no problem for me when Jeff was "my patient" for the first time. First time taking care of a sick man ... mercy! One would think that Plague had resurfaced. I was Florence Nightengale reincarnated. I admit that I did laugh when he asked for comic books in a voice that made me wonder if he would live long enough to read them ... but I complied!

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of listening to an elderly lady, battling with cancer, talk about what an amazing man her husband of nearly 48 years is. With the smile of a girl in love, she said that he has cared for her physical and emotional needs with tenderness and attention, though most would only know him as a rather gruff guy with a bold tongue. After nearly half a century, she is more smitten than ever for her husband who has been faithful "in sickness and in health."

In all of our time spent with couples, we hear many stories about the challenges that come with weakness, and we can't spend life together without seeing "the sick" in our spouse. This often comes in the form of emotional weakness, as the "stronger" spouse is called on to hold up the one in need. Thankfully, we don't often hit bottom at the same time, allowing one to support the other. Sometimes the husband is the strong shoulder for his wife, and sometimes the wife is the strong spirit for her husband. We serve and love one another "in sickness and in health." Love like that is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as love that perseveres and doesn't fail. Love like that is only possible through God's enablement and His Holy Spirit in us. In our own flesh, our shallow love wears out.

I listened as a young wife carefully shared the burdens of marriage that arose shortly after the wedding day, both physical and emotional. The heaviness on her was obvious. She needed to know that other sisters in Christ would stand with her as she struggles to be faithful, to work hard, and to persevere in her compassion and commitment to her husband. "In sickness and in health" is not always easy.

Eccl. 4:10

If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

How about you? Has wedded bliss included some sickness? Some health? Have you watched another couple work out their love when it was hard? Did you have to go out for comic books? :) There's no doubt that much of married life happens in hard places, but God promises us His strength to "love it out" ... in sickness or in health.

If you would like to join me on this Marriage Monday by sharing a post to encourage others in the miracle of marriage, click on the MckLinky below to leave your address, please mention Marriage Mondays & link in your post, and then leave a comment. I'm glad to have you on the marriage journey with me!

7 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

I'm sorry I can't link up this week - we just moved to our new home and are settling in - but I'll be back next week :-)!

Great post on "in sickness and health." I have seen some amazing marriages weather this storm - they are inspirations!


Julie@comehaveapeace said...

We'll miss you this week, Courtney. Sounds like you have your hands full. Blessings on your new home as you move in and settle your family in. I pray it will be peaceful.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good post. I like your story of the ocuple married for 48 years. One of God's great blessings to us in marriage is to always have someone there for us, or someone for us to be there for.

Chaos Cottage said...

I have watched my dad care for my mother through two bouts of cancer. It made me realize how much he really loves her. My dad became a real man to me when I saw that!


Julie@comehaveapeace said...

What a beautiful testimony of your parents' caring for each other, Pam.

Warren we have also been blessed by having some of those godly marriages to go before us as examples and mentors. What a help that's been. I need to write a post on the marriage mentors in our lives!

Warren Baldwin said...

Marriage Mentoring - that would be a great post. Cheryl and I used some material called "Marriage Mentoring" in visitng with young, newly married couples in our home. We haven't used it in a while, but your mention of it makes me want to dust it off and use it again.


Julie@comehaveapeace said...

We have a ministry of Marriage Mentoring at our church, and it has made a great difference in the lives of the couples who have had mentors. Your resource sounds like one worth checking out ... haven't seen that. I'll plan a post on Mentoring :)