In Sickness and In Health

“With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, ’til death do us part.”

Do you remember ever saying words like these? I do. They’re pretty easy to say, right? I mean its less than 30 words. You can say them in one breath, but once they’re said you have to figure out how to live them.

Almost no one goes into marriage thinking about these words and what they really mean. Let’s be honest with each other. When we got married, we didn’t consider much of the future. We didn’t think that there would be sickness. We didn’t think about our finances. We were in love and the only thing that mattered the day I spoke those words was that the angel that appeared in that doorway made it all the way next to me.

Then life happened.

I have learned something very interesting about those words. We found out that sickness really happens. Without getting too deeply into my beloved’s struggles, let me say that she has struggled with different health issues throughout our marriage. Our first late night emergency room trip came within our first year of marriage. I’ll never forget that night for two reasons. It was Christmas night so that was kind of memorable. The other reason is that is the night that we discovered our first son was on his way.

I have joked with friends that we have been in some of the finest emergency rooms in the eastern US. Seriously though, I learned that life includes a lot of time wondering what’s going on, what’s going to happen next, and (the worst question) why me? OK, relax a minute. This is totally not a woe is me kind of post. I just wanted to set the stage for the rest of it. Let me jump to what I’m learning because of my beloved’s different health problems. If I can put it very simply, life’s too short.

Life’s too short to let anything get in between us. It’s easy to let junk get in the middle of a relationship. He said something mean. She doesn’t like it when he talks about sports. He doesn’t understand her needs. She doesn’t get him. He always… She always… Here is some news for you. You’ll never be the same. You’ll always disagree about something. There will always be a topic you like to talk about that will drive her crazy.

Here’s something that’s even more amazing. You’ll never get each other, so stop trying. You’ll get to know each other, but I don’t foresee the day when I totally understand everything that my beloved says, thinks, or does. Guess what? I’m good with that. I heard one speaker say that if the two of you are the same, one isn’t necessary. HA. Seriously, part of the joy and adventure of marriage can be when you don’t agree and when you look at things differently. Learn to love the differences. We would go for a drive and I would see a sign and turn suddenly. It used to make my beloved really upset. Over the years, we have found that those sudden course changes have led us to some great adventures. We have learned to love our differences, even when we don’t always understand them.

Life’s too short not to laugh whenever possible. I don’t know if you have noticed this or not, but there is a lot of sadness in the world. If you believe everything that you see in the news, you have to conclude that the world is going to end before you finish this post. By the way, aren’t some people just always negative? You see them coming and you know that you’re going to get an earful of doom and gloom. There are people in your life that have nothing to talk about, except to talk bad about people and negative things.

I wrote all that to write one more word: laugh. Find something funny and laugh about it. Find the funny things in life. Sometimes, it’ll just take one word, just one cute little word. Sometimes, you may have to do something a little silly to get her to laugh. Watch a comedy and laugh out loud. Watch a stand up comic and laugh louder. I’m not ashamed to tell you that when there’s something funny on TV, I laugh too hard and too loud while everyone else just chuckles.

Life’s too short not to try and take care of each other. Make life all about each other. I don’t know what the division of labor is at your house, but we split some things up. She loads the dishwasher and I do the other dishes. She usually does the laundry. I usually take out the trash. You get the point. There are going to be times when your beloved just may not be able to do all that needs to get done. That’s when you get to play the hero and do it yourself. That might mean doing some laundry when it’s not your job, or your turn. You might have to cook, or clean when you’re not used to it.

Like I said, no woe is me here. I wouldn’t trade my life with my beloved for anything. I actually feel blessed that the Lord has chosen to teach us how to love one another in this way. Pray for her as you see fit. She deals with several health issues every day and I’m learning to be the best hubby I can be for her.

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