“Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; forsaking all others and keeping yourself only for her for as long as you both shall live?”
In sickness and in health.
I’ve been marinating on this for a while now as our household seems to face a “season of sickness.”
The words “in sickness and in health” are pretty broad. Vague, really.
I think there’s a lot of hidden purpose in that. When vows are exchanged, we cannot possibly know what the future holds. There are limitless possibilities and unknown scenarios in which the vows must stand.
“In sickness and in health,” most obviously promises to stand by your partner when they’re sick and when they’re well, sure.
But I think it’s deeper than that.
You see, our marriages don’t exist in a bubble. They’re intertwined with the outside world, with the relationships we share with family and friends, and with the lives of the little people we’ve created.
The broadness and vagueness of “in sickness and in health” is meant to cover a multitude of scenarios in which our marriages face sickness. There is no specification that it’s Jimmy’s sickness. And vows don’t specify that it’s mine. But it does allude to the sacrifice and the teamwork that comes with battling sickness.
And sickness comes in many scenarios.
Last week, I contracted the dreaded Corona Virus. And for two days, it absolutely knocked me on my butt.
As a stay-at-home-mom, this is problematic. I am sole care-giver. And with it being COVID, we had to isolate immediately, which meant no outside help. Suddenly, in the time it took to receive a positive test, every single responsibility of the household and the care of our children fell to Jimmy, who was already strapped with the responsibility of being sole breadwinner and leading a long string of meetings at work.
Immediately, Jimmy reprioritized. Immediately, he sacrificed work responsibilities for home responsibilities by delegating to employees and peers. Immediately, Jimmy jumped into the boys’ schedule without missing a beat.
My health and recovery was prioritized. And within two days, I turned a corner.
Just in time for both boys to wake up Wednesday night with super high fevers.
Back to that idea of vagueness: “In sickness and in health.” The wedding day vows don’t specify who’s sickness.
All night long, Jimmy and I took turns consoling sick babies, relying on one another and formulating plans of action. Jimmy was exhausted from working, filling both roles of mom and dad, and taking care of me. I was exhausted from fighting my own battle with COVID. As a team, we pushed through our sleepy haze and sacrificed an entire night of much-needed-sleep for the welfare of our children.
Because, together, this is what we promised to do three years ago.
Sickness is inevitable, whether it’s one of us, our children, or family members. It’s part of life. It’s part of marriage. And with that will come sacrifice, a temporary burden of greater responsibilities and, no doubt, exhaustion.
Marriage is about give and take, after all. There are just occasions, like sickness, when one must give more.
Often times, it is the sacrifices we make and the willingness to go through the wringer together that deepens the love and strengthens the marriage.
It is times like these in which I feel certain that there is no one I would rather walk through these seasons with.
In sickness or in health.
Photography by: Haley Leanne Photography