Do you remember the Friends episode that featured “Fun Bobby”? Well, unfortunately it turned out that”Bobby” was only fun when he was drunk. And although, thankfully, my husband doesn’t need any liquid joy to be very, very fun, I will admit that I make something of an idol out of just how fun he is, how consistently he makes me laugh. And when he’s not feeling well (he has a muscle/tendon/something tear that’s been nagging him for weeks), he’s not quite as funny as usual.
However, it should be noted that my vows weren’t conditional and I doubt yours were either. On December 29, 1995, I specifically vowed to love Will in sickness and in health, and by God’s grace I intend to do that. If he was so sick (and of course, he’s not) that he wasn’t funny at all, that wouldn’t change a thing. I may make an idol out of his humor, and God may choose (please, Lord, don’t!) to smash that idol to bits. Plus, you may already know that Will and I had early, albeit brief, practice at the “in sickness and in health” aspect of marriage. I was sick on our wedding night! And then I passed whatever fevered-feel-rotten bug I had to him. We cancelled the very brief and very modest “honeymoon” that we had planned, and laid around our apartment instead. Pretty pitiful. Although I do feel like I’ve had my fair share of vacations since! Anyway, I would greatly appreciate if you’d pray for Will, that this injury would heal completely.
But my own personal life aside, how committed are we in our marriages to living up to our vows? After all, none of us spelled out exceptions in our vows. We didn’t say, “I’ll love you unless…” Do you think that’s because it wouldn’t be very romantic? Because it would change the “happily ever after” wedding moment? Certainly it would sound a bit less romantic, but the truth is the wedding vow is a covenant made before God, and it’s not conditional.
People change. Circumstances change. You may be richer or poorer than you thought you’d be. You may be sicklier. Your spouse may be sicklier or grumpier or maybe they haven’t aged as well as you’d hoped. Guess what? Doesn’t matter. You promised. Voluntarily. Before God. And if you were of at least moderate intelligence, you would have known quite well that you couldn’t predict the future anyway.
It’s never a grin-and-bear-it scenario, praise God, because God is an ever-present help. He promises us peace and tells us to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
When there is affliction and discouragement inside your marriage, take it to the Lord. See a counselor if need be: never let bitterness take root.
Remember that your spouse always deserves the love, respect and the faithfulness you promised them!