An Enduring Love – Ken and Joni Tada

Has your marriage been tested where enduring love doesn’t seem possible? That’s what Joni and Ken Tada confess happened to them. And the journey continues. In this You Tube video you will gain a small insight into what it is like to have marriage your vows tested. You know the vows they’re talking about here… the “in sickness and in health” promise to be there for each other. That’s when our vows can be tested to the max.

Enduring Love Through Illness?

When we marry, we most often don’t even blink an eye to making the vow to be there for each other through times of illness. Of course we intend to be there for each other. We sure thought we would be. Ken Tada said that he thought he would be too. But he now sees that he was “naive” to the how much those vows would be tested in marrying his wife Joni.

It’s true that most of us will not find ourselves in this place. Dealing with a quadriplegic spouse is not a common problem. But then again, you never know. You never know what life will deliver to us from one day to the next.

However, most of us will encounter seasons of illness. Sometimes it will be short term illnesses that we will have to deal with. Other times it will be longer… maybe even for the rest of your life together.

But no matter what you encounter, there is no doubt that the following is often true:

“When sickness hits your home it requires your complete attention until the crisis passes. But when the sickness goes on and on it can take a toll on your marriage. There are so many unknowns you have to deal with. E.g.: Will my spouse recover? …Not to mention the daily regimen of doctor appointments, administering medicine and scheduling for tests. It can be overwhelming to make it through one day. And when those days turn into weeks, which turn into months, your marriage can suffer.” (Debi Walter, from the Romantic Vineyard article, “Trials in Marriage – Chronic Illness”)

Living Out the Promises of Enduring Love

And that’s the point that Joni and Ken Tada are making here. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming when our “enduring love” is tested by illness. Making promises and then living them out are two different things. The first is easy to make; living them out is not.

Do you find yourself in this place? Most of us will be at some point in our marriages. The illnesses you are dealing with may be short or long term. But whatever it is, this type of testing often involves irritations, frayed nerves, and times of impatience.  Our comfort zones are invaded upon and tested. If you find yourself in this place, here’s some advice from author Gary Thomas. Prayerfully consider the following:

“Real spouses get sick. They get cranky. They have bad days. If this resets how much we cherish and value them, we will lose our hearts for them. But you didn’t marry a goddess with supernatural powers over human limitations. And you didn’t marry a man with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, and the kindness of Christ. You married a man or woman whose body can break down, who is affected by stress, who cries when she is hurt, who usually complains when he gets sick, and who stumbles in many ways. Accept his or her humanity. Remind yourself: this is how my spouse stumbles.” (From the book, “Cherish”)

That quote has helped me a number of times—particularly in dealing with short term illnesses. I want grace when I am sick and get cranky. And so does my spouse. You probably do too. So lets keep that in consideration.

But What About Dealing With a Serious Illness or Disability?

This is so very complicated. As Ken Tada said, it takes an extraordinary amount of perseverance and commitment to deal well with serious illnesses and disabilities. They can test you in ways you never imagined.

If you are going through a tough time dealing with your “illness” situation, we want to pass along a piece of advice that Ken Tada gave recently. It has ministered to us as we are dealing with Steve’s cancer, that is complicated by his heart issues, and Type 1 Diabetes. We pray it ministers to you as you pray about it.

Ken wrote the following (in the Today’s Christian Woman article, “In This Thing Together”):

“My wife and I aren’t marriage experts. We aren’t even experts at doing the disability thing. But we know this: suffering can either drive people apart in a marriage, or it can bind them together.

“And just as God reveals tender, intimate things when we patiently hold fast to him through our personal suffering, a marriage is tenderized when a couple patiently holds fast to God —and to each other —through hardships.

“I say this to any husband and wife going through tough times: God always reveals himself to us when we come together, needing Him desperately. And when we cling to God out of need, one of the most satisfying fruits of the Holy Spirit —the fruit of patience —can’t help but take root in a marriage.”

To that, we say, Amen! Pray about this. Give all of this to God. And lean into Him for your strength, and for the wisdom you need.


You may find it helpful to read the following article and pick up the Ken Tada’s book (that is linked to within the article. Both can give you a bit more insight into how to deal with this tough issue:

A LOVE STORY: Joni and Ken

And as you travel this tough, tough journey:

May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.(2 Thessalonians 3:5)May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.(Jude 1:2)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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2 responses to “An Enduring Love – Ken and Joni Tada

  1. Thank you. I’m an almost 30 year head injury survivor, who really needed to read the story about Ken & Joni Erickson Tada. May God bless you all.

    1. Thank you Denise. We pray God continues to encourage you and help you as you walk each day with Him.