Living the Other Part of Our Vows

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33

We’ve always been serious about our wedding vows. Not only did we repeat the English vows after Pastor, but we also made up our own vows in Romanian and spoke them to each other at the altar. Our bi-lingual, bi-cultural marriage started with vows from both directions, and we’ve been serious about them from day one.

Recently, I was apologizing again to my husband for being so useless. There are days when he has to do practically everything in the house and for the kids, and this came after two days of my getting out of bed just for meals, which he had prepared. I was feeling really guilty. Actually, the two middle children had been sent to their grandmother’s house for a while, so the load wasn’t quite so heavy, but I still felt bad for being such a burden. That was the last time I’ve apologized for my illness, and I don’t intend to do it again. He asked me not to. He told me there is no reason to apologize, because he didn’t marry me just for the good times. Then he said something that made me appreciate him more than ever. He told me we are living “the other part of our vows.”

When we were married 8 ½ years ago, we were so healthy, and one of us was young (the other not quite as young, but not old, either)! We were full of energy, excited about our new life together, about blending two cultures into one harmonious family, about the prospects of growing old together while rearing several children to serve the Lord. Now the cultures are beautifully blended, we enjoy the pleasures of knowing and understanding and serving one another, one of us has more gray hairs than ever and the other is realizing the baby will still be a teen when she hits the half-century mark, and we are in the process of rearing four precious children to serve the Lord. Times have been good, and we were both healthy until a few months ago.

I am thankful that we are living “the other part of our vows” today. I can’t say that I’m thankful for the ill health that has put us in this position, but I am thankful that we are living this united life, united by the Lord and by those sacred vows. To me, that means that my husband doesn’t resent my weakness and isn’t impatiently trying to prod me back into semi-good health so we can get back to normal. He understands that it’s going to take time, patience, and a lot of effort on his part as well as mine, and he’s willing. He doesn’t blame me at all, nor does he blame God. As he told my doctor recently, we accept good from God’s hand, and we love God and trust that He has allowed this into our lives for some good that we have yet to understand. He has a reason for allowing difficulties into our lives, and we are going to trust Him regardless because He loves us. What a testimony! He strengthened my faith right there in the doctor’s office. It was nothing I’d never heard before, but to hear the doctor’s response—that most people look for a person to blame, but we accept the bad as well as the good as part of God’s plan for us—that made me realize we are set apart even in illness and strengthened my resolve to glorify God in the midst of this trial. So, I am finding that my role in “the other part of our vows” is to maintain a sweet spirit, to encourage with my words, to be thankful and kind, to keep the right perspective, and to allow and appreciate the extra work my husband is putting into the housekeeping and wife-nursing right now, all the while honoring and respecting him and his day-by-day decisions as he cares for the family.

I’m more relaxed since realizing that we are living “the other part of our vows,” and I believe it will contribute greatly to the healing process. No more feeling guilty that my busy husband is having to take care of me when I’d much rather be taking care of him. No more anxiety about not being able to do all those things I enjoy doing for my family. No more fear that my husband will get tired of taking care of me. I feel more than just loved. I feel cherished. We are serious about our vows—every word of them. With God’s help and for His glory, we are living “the other part of our vows.”

Update:

We have received the results of my hair analysis. The whole report is long and quite complicated, and the list of problems is just that—a list. However, they seem to fit quite neatly into three categories: adrenal gland not functioning properly, thyroid not functioning properly, and aluminum toxicity. The source of these problems is elusive—it seems to be a vicious cycle where the above problems and the many resulting issues affect one another. I’ve seen the recommended treatment plan from the lab but am still waiting for the personalized plan from the nutritionist. I’m planning to see my doctor tomorrow about it as well, and I’m really hoping to begin treatment soon. Really, REALLY hoping. An humble thank you goes out to those who are holding us up in prayer.

A couple of weeks ago I started having heart palpitations. My doctor sent me to a cardiologist, and my heart is fine.  We’ve run some other tests and haven’t found a reason for it, although there are some results waiting to be read tomorrow. The worst of the palpitations were about a week and half ago when I spent a couple of days in bed, and now they have eased up to just occasional discomfort, which lying down for a few minutes seems to take care of. That’s okay, as part of the recommended treatment is lots of extra rest, and 20-minute naps throughout the day as needed.

In the meantime, I’ve continued taking diatomaceous earth and am beginning to see some results. I’m nowhere nearly as sensitive to smells (although PLEASE don’t wear perfume around me, as chemical smells still overtake me). Last week I ate carrots and peas with no reaction, and this week I’ve had apples and cashews with no reactions. Praise the Lord for those victories!

We are still “anticipating victory.” And I am convinced that God is good.

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