Handling Sickness

Today my mind is on a subject we do not like to think about in a marriage or in a child. Sickness. I am not talking about the little bugs that come along, or even some bigger bugs, but those illnesses that are life long, life threatening or terminal.

When we marry and say our vows we are saying for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  For me I married with rose colored glasses. I said those words and really thought I would never need the worse or the sickness to be tested. Yet, it did not take long to have them tested. I had our first child a year after we were married. I went in to the hospital had a 7lb 4 oz boy and lost 8 lbs. I should have lost more, and I was pretty upset. However, not nearly as upset as I was when I found out that the time I was in the hospital my husband lost 17 lbs. I was furious. It seemed so unfair and I let God know how upset I was that he could lose that much in 3 days and I had the baby.

He continued to lose weight and soon we found out he was diabetic and had to go on insulin. I found myself feeling scared, disillusioned and worried.  I remember thinking that we were trying to serve the Lord and now this. I thought his death would be just around the corner.

It was tough on both of us. A new lifestyle, a new diet, shots, no sugar it was overwhelming. We got through it and adjusted. As the kids came along I made it a point of keeping us all on his basic diet. For the family, I felt it best if we all kept his diet and not make things seem any different. Our kids grew up without a lot of sugar in the house, eating veggies of all kinds, salads and  as balanced a meal as we could afford.

Why did I make us all eat that way?

  • We are a family and stick together
  • It was easier than making a number of meals
  • My husband did not feel different and “more trouble”. It was a family eating plan

What were the benefits?

  • My kids are not picky eaters and will eat at people’s homes and eat what is put in front of them
  • They grew up with veggies and eating them was enforced
  • they hardly had any sugar growing up, a very healthy thing!

There are more benefits, but these are obvious. We adjusted and accepted it as a family.

Things went along well for years, then, at the age of 46, my husband had a heart attack and was between life and death for 3 weeks.  Another big change in our lives.  Several Dr. errors and a year later we found out that his condition was terminal. We were doing kidney dialysis at home as well as watching all his vitals constantly. Things were a daily care and touch and go.

All this brought more into my life than I ever thought I could handle. However, God was good and helped me adjust all the way. We grew closer and talked over his coming death and what he wanted for his funeral etc. It was precious time because we did accept it together.

A year before he died he told me he was praying for who I would marry after he was gone. He prayed God would bring a man into my life. How blessed I felt, yet was so touched that tears did not stop and I yelled at him for telling me!

When he died God was there and with me the whole time. I could write a book about how God had us on vacation (yes, I tried to keep everything as normal as we could, dialysis and all we went camping in a pop up!) when he died, how he had the driver of the ambulance be a close friend and how he went before me to have the state of NY let me return to ME and release his body without delay. Someday I may tell it, but right now I want to impress the need to let sickness draw you closer.

So many couples let a sick child or spouse separate them. The death of a child brings a divorce. A sick spouse brings resentment and abandonment. It should not be.

Prepare your marriage now. You never know what is around the bend in this life.  Begin now to get closer.

  • pray together, if things happen pray together more!
  • support one another, do not get at each other over things
  • find ways to show love, leave notes etc. Find your way and keep at it
  • If someone is sick, they need to be loved, and not made to feel like a burden.  When my husband was bad, I never felt it was a burden. All I went through was out of love and like that old song, he ain’t heavy he is my brother (husband, son, daughter, wife) Where love is and abounds there is no burden. Tired maybe, drained from not sleeping more than 2 hrs at a time maybe, but it was never a burden, never a regret.
  • Help them feel independent when they can, but be there to help when needed.

We all hope it never happens, but  we need to decide ahead that we will do all to keep the marriage together and learn and live through the best and worst of times.

For Better or Worse

Wow, here it is Tuesday already and I am behind in my posting. I seem to be having a lot of “One of those weeks” lately. How about you? Seems things just are too busy, stressed, plans made and then you can’t follow through because of the fires that pop up and need to be cared for immediately. They can sure put a stress on your life, marriage and family.

Our vows say “for better or worse”. DO you sometimes feel the worse out weighs the better? It may not even be a problem between you and your spouse to begin with, but rather life. Life happens. Plans get all bummed up. The past may come in to haunt us, an accident may happen, sickness, things just unseen ahead of time.

My first husband and I had a good relationship. Great in fact! Yet when we married he was in school and it was rough. I planned on working him through college and seminary before we began our family. HAHA Our first was due on our first anniversary. We had decided I would be a stay at home mom when the children arrived, and now we were being tested. He made $30 a week at a part time job while going to college. I had been supporting us. Ut oh, some “worse” was happening! We kept with our decision and trusted the Lord. He supplied in ways I never thought possible.

By the time seminary was over we had 4 children, no money but God had cared for us. We did not live on welfare, yet had our needs supplied. However, we had also gone through sickness where he lost a year of seminary, layoff at his job and had no income till he found another and numerous other “worse”.

I could go on as to the “worse” we had to deal with over the years until his death, but it was a lot of sticking to the vows and not to feelings.

I am now remarried and there are different kinds of things to deal with. To me living in Texas is a “worse”. I am away from family, it is not very pretty, there are rattlesnakes and all kinds of things that bite or stick you. (On the other hand no snow to deal with!). I have a husband that had been married before and divorced. He has his past and it is now part of me to deal with. Some of the worse most would think. I have to deal with an ex on a weekly basis. Our plans get interrupted because of his past family. (Lest you think he has young children, he does not, they are all married and have families). We still have to deal with it as well as other things. He came with baggage, I come with baggage and this is part of the worse.

Finances, living conditions, anger, loss of job, loss of a child, many things come under the worse banner. I also find the “worse” is different for different people. You may love Texas with it’s rattlesnakes and heat, for you that may be a better, for me it is a worse.

One thing I want to say, and I know many may not agree, part of the worse that you are vowing to should not be abuse. Today there is so much abuse. Maybe it has not changed, we are just more open to talk about it, but I believe it is more. Drugs, drinking, selfcenteredness and sin in general has made abuse so common. Having your life in danger by a spouse is not part of the vow. I believe it calls for a separation and counseling if the spouse is willing to go, or you go alone if not. If your life is in danger, get out. If your kids are being abused, get out.

Better or Worse. We all want the better and dream of the better, but every life has it’s worse times too. Plan on it coming.

One thing to those who are not married yet. I watch some of the court shows on TV. I have them going while I am doing things. Not sure why I do, maybe because I find it so hard to believe that there are people out there like the ones on these shows, yet they are real people. In my mind crazy much of the time, but real. There are a couple of these judges that really impress me. One professes his Christianity without shame. I enjoy him, as he can be really harsh, but usually tries to be fair. Another one is divorce court. I do not sit in front of this taking in everything, however, that judge is so concerned about these people and seems so wise.

She made a statement to a couple that only dated about a week before marrying. Her warning and advice was to all those thinking of marriage. She said : Make a list of your prospective spouse and write down 10 things you do not like about that person.

I thought that she was being strange at first, but then listened. She said if you do not know 10 thinks that are negatives you do not know them well enough to marry. Everyone has 10 negatives… at least.

Then look at your list. Can you live with those negatives? Be they personal, his/her family, his/her habits etc. Can you live with them if they NEVER improve?

For better or worse. Believe me, the worse will come. Stick with your vows and turn the worse into something to bring you closer to each other.