In Sickness and In Health

I am sick in bed. I have been for a week. I tried to talk myself out of it. I tried convincing myself that a trip to the farmer’s market would be helpful because I needed a little sunshine. I told myself I could run those few errands for the kids because I should be feeling better by now. But alas, Monday is here, I’m in bed. I’ve taxied a bit and will accomplish a few more of my ‘mom duties’ but for the most part, I still feel like crap.

I’m somewhat use to not feeling well. When I was 24 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and over the last few years it’s gotten somewhat severe. My husband said to me with all the love in his heart, “I’m really tired of you being sick.” And not because he doesn’t want to take care of me, but because he’s quite literally over my sickness. But he knew, and he’s committed. In sickness and in health.

I see these stories of amazing husbands and wives who sacrifice everything to take care of their illness ridden spouse. Wives who stand by husbands through every bypass surgery, husbands who stand firm when a wife has breast cancer. They are there for every treatment, appointment, MRI.

But I wonder.

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Are we willing to honor our vows to our spouse in physical sickness but not spiritual sickness?

To me spiritual sickness is the most prevalent and real and damaging. To me, spiritual sickness is what causes divorce. To me spiritual sickness is why we have to promise what we promise so help me God.

I have been spiritually sick in our marriage–cancerous-like spiritual disease that has affected my whole being, and my whole marriage. I have had moments of pure spiritual freedom, where all was well with my soul. But for significant parts of my life, my marriage, I have been spiritually sick.

And so he has kept his promise….

In sickness and in health.

He has nursed me back, patiently covering my wounds with a healing balm emulsified by forgiveness, by daily forgiveness, found only in Jesus. It has been the forgiveness, the washing of my feet, the drying of my tears that has opened the door for the love of Christ to redeem–to really redeem.

In class and counseling before marriage, well intended pastors and veteran marrieds match your personalities and your argument-response-methods. But no one really tells you of how horribly sinful you are, how you will desperately need Jesus in your marriage, and how “in sickness and in health” is going to count for more than you could ever imagine.

Too many people bail on marriages because of spiritual sickness.

He doesn’t have joy like I do.

She wanted that other man instead of me.

He looks at porn all day.

I’m just not in love with her anymore.

Accepting a person’s spiritual sickness doesn’t give the person permission to die of their cancer. It simply means recognizing what it is for what it is and choosing to battle it together, just like you would the flu, or heart disease.

I write this to you — you who feel like you are losing your marriage…you who don’t know if you can go one more day. I write this to encourage you that it is only Jesus that can call the sinner into righteousness. I write this because as that sinner, it is my husband’s constant commitment to my spiritual wellness that has allowed me to really experience the love of Christ. Do not give up. Embrace your vow–be there for him, be there for her, in sickness and in health.

Thank you Michael.





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