In sickness and in health.
Hub and I married in 1999. We’d known each other for almost eight years by then, had dated almost as long, and had lived together for a short period of time. We were friends before we began dating, in the world of online computers (anyone remember BBSes? Don’t know what BBS stands for? Yeah, probably before your time!) When we were preparing to get married, we knew we wanted to have a different kind of wedding. We wrote our whole wedding (or at least organized it), making sure to include our humor. We’re humorous people and we wanted our wedding to reflect us and our relationship. We wrote our own vows, but the requisite “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” was there. We were in our late 20s, and neither of us had experienced any particular health issues (except I had a horrible case of mono combined with strep throat), so the phrase “in sickness and in health” didn’t really mean much. We were more interested in the amount of space his hobbies took up and the number of earrings I had in my collection.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for our life together to be tested with that phrase.
I know that people say these kinds of tests either bring couples together or drive them apart. I am among the lucky, as my husband stood stalwartly by my side through every health issue I had. He attended every doctor’s appointment (with a few exceptions and only when it was absolutely necessary), helped me listen, took care of me when I couldn’t care for myself. He became our bread winner, he bought groceries, he cooked and cleaned, he paid bills when I couldn’t manage that. Not only did he do all those things during my first two bouts with chronic illnesses, he continues to support me in these ways (and more) during flares, and new health issues–mental and physical. He is the best support system I could have ever imagined. Ever.
There have been times when I’ve gone to him, weeping, telling him he needed to leave. That I wanted him to have a “normal” life that he will never be able to have with me. These bouts generally surrounded my chronic illnesses–which require him to do so much more than any one person in a relationship should–but have also arisen from my Prilosec-induced depression and panic attack. He has always taken me in his arms and reaffirmed that he was where he wants to be, no matter what is happening.
When I see people on television getting married–real or fictional–and I hear that line in the vows, I always wonder if they realize what is really means. Like so many who take their health for granted, so many take that line for granted. I know that we did…
I am so thankful for my husband, who is here with me, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.
I love you, husband!
With love from your darling wife.