When Alzheimers invades a marriage, everything is turned upside down. The vow, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health” that we promise to keep, is challenged to the max!
How do you still love someone who changes in every way possible from the person you married?
By the grace of God —and BECAUSE of God, it is possible! It says in the Bible that, “All things are possible because of God.”
Despite Alzheimers: Till Death Do Us Part
Seminary president Robertson McQuilkin found this to be true. His wife Muriel was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He talked about his journey in the book, A Promise Kept, published by Tyndale House. He talked of one incident that brought challenges. And yet it inspired others to reach higher to find a spouse with the type of compassion he gave to Muriel.
“Taking care of Muriel was not only challenging when we reached our destination, it was equally challenging en route. I began to empathize with those young fathers you sometimes see in an airport, accosting perfect strangers who emerge from the women’s restroom. ‘Did you see a little six-year-old girl in there?’ Airline attendants watched in well-guarded bemusement as I crowded in with Muriel into the tiny cubicle that houses the in-flight toilet. I knew what they didn’t. If she ever got the door shut —unlikely as that might be —she never could have gotten it open again.
“Once our flight was delayed in Atlanta. We had to wait a couple of hours. Now that’s a challenge! Every few minutes, the same questions are asked. The same answers are given about what we’re doing there. She’d ask, when are we going home? And every few minutes we’d take a fast paced walk down the terminal in earnest search of — what? Muriel had always been a speed walker. I had to jog to keep up with her!
“An attractive woman executive type sat across from us. She was working diligently on her computer. Once, when we returned from an excursion, she said something, without looking up from her papers. Since no one else was nearby I assumed she had spoken to me or at least mumbled in protest of our constant activity. ‘Pardon?’ I asked. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I was just asking myself, ‘Will I ever find a man to love me like that?'”
Sacrificial Love in Action
What a great witness of what TRUE love involves! It reflects the sacrificial love of God. Robertson also wrote the following that explains this a little further:
“As Alzheimer’s slowly locked away one part of my Muriel, then another, every loss for her shut down a part of me. Ministry was changing, of course. It went from less public to more private. There was another sense of loss, however. There was an ache deep inside, as I watched my vivacious companion of the years slip from me.
“Even in this loss, however, I made a wonderful discovery. As Muriel became even more dependent on me, our love seeped to deeper, unknown crevices of the heart. Though she never knew what was happening to her, as I cared for her she responded with gratitude. There was also cheerful contentment.
Imprisonment and Liberation
“It was no great effort to do the loving thing for one who was altogether lovable. My imprisonment turned out to be a delightful liberation to love more fully than I had ever known. We found the chains of confining circumstance to be, not instruments of torture, but bonds to hold us closer.
“But there was even greater liberation’s. It has to do with God’s love. No one ever needed me like Muriel. And no one ever responded to my efforts so totally as she. It’s the nearest thing I’ve experienced on a human plane to what my relationship with God was designed to be. It’s God’s unfailing love poured out in constant care of helpless me.
“Surely He planned that relationship to draw from me the kind of love and gratitude Muriel had for her man. Her insatiable —even desperate —longing to be with me, her quiet confidence in my ability and desire to care for her, was a mirror reflection of what my love for God should be.”
Love Of God Demonstrated
What greater demonstration of love could there be? That is, except for the love that God demonstrated, when His son Jesus Christ gave up His all to live for us, and sacrifice His life for us!
For the rest of this article we would like to direct you to a true life testimonial (as written by David Boehi). He tells more of the life events of Robertson and Muriel McQuilkin after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. We pray it ministers to your heart and to your circumstances. It’s featured on the web site for the ministry of Family Life Today.
To learn more, please click onto the link below to read:
The ministry of Family Life Today, with Dennis Rainey, aired a 4 day radio broadcast interview titled “A Promise Kept.” During these interviews Robertson McQuilkin talks of his relationship with his wife. He tells how he responded to God and his wife Muriel, after learning that she had Alzheimer’s.
Below you will find the web site links. You can choose to either listen to each day of these interviews and/or read the transcripts. To do so please click onto the link below:
— ALSO —
Crosswalk.com has posted an article, written by Dr Ray Pritchard, which can inspire you further as you read:
If you have additional insights or tips you can share, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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Filed under: Mental and Physical Health