Wow, I had another surprise event this week, unlike the fun birthday surprises I enjoyed earlier in the month! This one sent my husband to a retina specialist while we were in upper New York state last week.
Symptoms of a detached retina came over him and he’s sadly familiar with those warnings because of the detachment he had in 2012. You don’t forget it! His doctor at home urged Dale to find a specialist before we flew home, to ensure that it didn’t need immediate attention. After examination, we were given the go-ahead to come home. Early the next morning his doctor saw him and scheduled surgery for the next day.
No surgery is fun, and eye surgery is certainly no picnic. Because of the work the doctor needed to do, he encouraged Dale to put be completely under, rather than the twilight sleep he had last time. However, following the surgery, he had a very difficult time coming out of the anesthetic. The morning after surgery brought severe nausea when we had to drive into town for his post-op visit. A shot was given just before the doctor came into the room to check him.
The doctor was very sympathetic as he walked in and saw my poor husband sitting in the chair, nauseous, surgery eye barely open, his skin pale. I was standing beside him with tear-filled eyes, watching him suffer. With one hand I held a cold compress against his forehead, while my other hand held a glass of iced ginger ale, the liquid that had helped calm his stomach earlier.
After an examination of the progress of his eye, the doctor gave some final instructions of care and caution. He shook each of our hands before leaving, reminding us to call if there was a need. Then he looked at me and said,
Thank you for your care of him.
As I drove us home from the doctor’s office, the car was silent as I respected Dale’s need for no chatter, but my mind was hearing the doctor’s last words – “Thank you for your care of him.” I thought back to our wedding day when I vowed to love him in sickness and in health. “I vowed I would!,“ I thought.
Those weren’t just flippant words said just to my husband, or even the crowd that gathered for our wedding – that was a promise I made before God.
I promised God that I would love my husband, not just on the fun days like anniversaries and birthdays – on vacation days and times of laughter! I vowed that I would love him when pain overtook him, when sickness was more prevalent than sunshine, and when paleness replaced ruddiness in his complexion.
This is a mild situation compared to what some couples are facing, but it was a precious reminder to me that loving your mate on the sick days is as precious as the days of health and fun.
It shows commitment.
It demonstrates true love that isn’t there only on the good days.
It gives us the opportunity to Suffer long with our spouse only through the grace and strength of the One to whom we made those vows on our wedding day.
Other people might leave and walk away from us while we suffer, but when we are married, we have the blessing of staying when it’s hard, meeting needs, loving unconditionally, crying when they hurt, and praying for healing. Who else can do that for your spouse the way you can?
Of course we don’t hope for times to love in spite of sickness, but when those kind of days surprise us, we must remember back to our wedding day when we vowed we would!
If you’re in a season of caring for a mate:
Refresh yourself by:
- Stepping outside and getting some fresh air.
- Let others help while you get rest.
- Accept the kindness of others to provide a meal so you can focus on your mate.
- Spend time listening to God’s Word on audio.
- Pray alone and pray with your mate.
If you are you in a season of sickness with your spouse, lean hard into God’s strength and wisdom to meet his needs. It’s a hardship, but also a blessing…and remember, you vowed you would.