In sickness and in health

In the Name of God, I take you to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.

Two days after we got back from a family wedding, the hectic pace of the last few weeks caught up with me in the form of a virus. Headache, upset stomach, and a low grade fever put my plans on hold. I only did the bare minimum of work, leaving the rest for later. My husband picked up the slack without complaint, getting meals and making sure everyone got where they needed to be. I don’t think either of us thought much about it – that’s just what we do when one of us is sick. It’s part of being family.

My mother and father accepted sickness as part of married life. When one had the flu, the other shopped and cooked; when one had surgery, the other prayed in the waiting room. Through countless colds and viruses, diabetes, and one cancer each, they honored their marriage vows by caring for each other. This they did until they were parted by death.

It isn’t often I think about the “sickness and health” part of my wedding vows. It’s been a given for my husband and me for almost twenty-three years. But this week, I see it for what it is: an ordinary miracle of love and steadfast support. And I am profoundly grateful.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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