Marriage Missions International

In Sickness And In Health

Photo by: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee,  courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo by: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee,
courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our commitment to Christ and our commitment to each other is to be “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” That’s what we promised each other on our wedding day. The problem is that when we say these vows we most often don’t comprehend that the “worse” and the “sickness” may actually come about and it may stay. It also may get quite ugly and exhausting.

But that isn’t to negate what we promised each other in the first place or what God promises. He promises to always be with us. He promises to give us strength when we’re weak. He promises that we will reap a harvest if we don’t become weary in doing good. (See Galatians 6:9-10.) And even if we never see that harvest this side of heaven —to have Christ say to us “well done good and faithful servant” should be reward enough.

When we stick with our spouse and love him/her through the good and the bad —we need to remember that we’re doing this as “unto the Lord” (see Matthew 25:40). We’re giving a drink of cool water to someone who is thirsty (See Matthew 10:42 and Mark 9:41).

[Marriage Missions Editors Note: Below you'll find two separate stories on the subject of loving each other despite sickness in marriage, drawn from the excellent book, For Better, For Worse. They testify of those who have endured times of sickness with their spouse. We pray they'll inspire you and help you!]

Hard Lessons
-by Lenne Kugler-Hunt

Kris became sick about four months after we got married. It was unexpected and disabling and is now in its sixth year. This is not the way I envisioned our marriage. This sort of thing shouldn’t happen to a young man in the prime of his life. And it shouldn’t happen to love. That’s been one of the lessons of his illness —that it was sent by the enemy to steal away Kris’ life and to crush us. It was sent to make love fail.

But a funny thing happened on the way to robbing, killing and destroying —God showed up! I have to admit, I have wished for Him to show up differently from time to time. Of course, my desire is that God would have healed Kris immediately and completely. But He didn’t, perhaps in part because our understanding of healing was so incomplete. The good that God has brought into the situation includes our lessons in perseverance. I learned in a new and fresh way that love involves sacrifice. Kris learned he was worth more than his performance and his ability to work.

I’ve been reminded again and again of the viciousness of the enemy and his commitment to wreaking havoc. But mostly, I’ve been reminded that love, born of God does not fail. It is not weak. Rather, it is purified and strengthened by the fire. Costly though that is, I am grateful for the chance to see love vindicated.

Father, we invite You to shake in us what can be shaken, that what remains would be unshakable. Lord, purify our love. Let it indeed be patient and kind, full of hope and mercy, and a balm for the things that ail us. Amen.

Life Was No Picnic
– by Ginnie Mesibov

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

“We’re losing him,” I overhead the cardiologist tell his nurse. My husband was lying on a gurney in the emergency room of the local hospital, suffering from the coronary occlusion. The doctor gave him another dose of a new clot-buster drug. It worked. Harold survived his third heart attack.

Life was no picnic in the early years of our marriage. I was the worst person to be married to someone with a severe chronic illness. Handling sickness was not one of my better skills. It was natural for me to panic and over identify with my husband’s problems. When his heart pounded, my heart thumped so loud I could hear it in my ears. When he had difficulty breathing, I gasped for air.

Every crippling problem he faced crippled me even more. I knew I couldn’t continue like this or I’d be dead long before him—from anxiety alone. I literally had to renew my mind and be transformed With God’s help, I gradually changed my thinking.

I changed how I thought about love. Love doesn’t require me to suffer when Harold is suffering. Love requires me to attend, to take care of and to listen to my husband. Loving objectively allows me to serve him without panic.

I changed how I thought about life. Life is difficult and includes suffering. For some reason, God has allowed severe illness to come into Harold’s life and, therefore, into mine. Accepting illness as a part of life and God’s will reduces the accompanying anxiety.

I changed how I thought about my husband. Harold is alive! This is my focus. Despite his ill health, he’s a vibrant man with an engaging personality who is making a viable contribution to society.

In addition to changing my thinking, I changed my activity: We celebrate! We use any excuse for a party —birthdays, half-birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, good health spurts… Our lives are full.

I also changed how I pray. Now I pray more fervently for my husband’s health—his physical, emotional and spiritual health. I pray more earnestly for mine as well, asking God to fill me with His peace. And He has. God is a God who hears and answers prayer.

I’m not a pro at coping with illness; I’m on a learning journey. But today, because of the changes that I made, I can honestly say that life with my beloved husband is a picnic.

Dear God, Thank You for helping me to renew my mind. It is by Your power that I am being transformed into a woman who can handle adversity and be at peace. May I continue to trust in Your love, knowing that Your will is best for the both of us. Amen.

The above true-life articles can be found, along with numerous others, in the book, “For Better, For Worse” compiled and edited by Marlene Bagnull, published by Christian Publications. Unfortunately, this book is no longer being published so you would need to find it in a used book form to read it. But what’s so wonderfully unique about this book is that it even has a section dealing with illness within marriage. You don’t find that subject being addressed very often. Part of the reason for this is because of the book’s format. It goes through each part of the wedding vows (“To Have and to Hold, For Better or for Worse, For Richer, or for Poorer, In Sickness and in Health, Forsaking All Others, To Love and to Cherish, Till Death Do Us Part”) and has numerous true stores about real people—who are choosing to live out the vows they made on their wedding days.

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Comments

5 Responses to “In Sickness And In Health”
  1. Mary says:

    (ZAMBIA) I Have been married for 7 years now. In the last 4 years we were trying for a baby, but I could’t conceive. Last year I suffered from amenorrhea and have had no periods for a year now. The doctor told me it was hormonal imbalance and put me on contraceptive pills which haven’t helped either. It was only yesterday that I did an ultrasound scan which showed that I have what they call intramural fibroid.

    My husband is not a believer. We got married when both of us were not believers. I had a child in my previous relationship and he has none. I became saved 3 years ago. This idea of me having this mass in my uterus is wearing him down. I was equally in shock and I am very sad. I have been trying to pray, but immediately as I start, I somehow lose hope in ever conceiving. Please I need encouragement. I am yet to see the gynea doc on 3/04/08. I am so sad and distressed.

  2. Eugene says:

    (GREATER CHINA)  My father is a gynecologist. He recommends that couples assume the non-traditional scientific procedures to conceive and to give birth to a healthy baby with the help of surrogacy since passing pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and genetic diseases to the innocent infants is a sin in the developed world. Try to ask a doctor and see what they would recommend about conceiving with the help of fertility clinics.

  3. Diane says:

    (US)  Mary, I feel your pain. I as well, cannot have children. My husband and I have been married for seven years. We both do not have children. I have to admit the pain of not having a child comes in cycles. There are times that we are strong and faithful to our Lord and times that I’m so upset sometimes in tears. If I hear of babyshowers or announcements of my friend’s pregnancy it kills me inside. To be very honest I’m not certain we will ever have children. I’m 36 years old and my husband just turned 37. However, I do know this for sure GOD has carried us through some health and financial trials. We have remained faithful and he has blessed us in other ways.

    Today I know my husband sees my beauty with or without children. I love my husband sooooooooo much. We both pray about our hearts contentment. We have found strength in our trials. Stay strong. I know in my heart GOD knows your pain. He will bless you, maybe not with children, but you will find peace and joy. I just know it.

  4. Keith says:

    (USA) I have pastored a church for about thirty years and have known couples who the doctors said could not ever conceive. One gave birth after 14 years of waiting on the Lord and another after 17 years.

    In addition several families have finally adopted and a year later the wife was pregnant with her own child. Others have waited on the Lord for 4 to 7 years and when the Lord opened the womb they proceeded to have 4 to 7 children. And yes, I know some that never had a child, as well. Continue to pray.

  5. Regina from United States says:

    Not a lot of comfort in this message. Basically we will continue to suffer and live a miserable life. The end!

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