Love in a Time of Sickness – MBFLP 221 (repeat!)

HARRRCH! Greetings from our bronchitis ward! With the whole family, including your hosts, suffering from all sorts of respiratory unpleasantness … we’re going to bring back our show about navigating the challenges of sickness in your family. We hope to be healthy and “back in the saddle” soon! ~ Hal and Melanie


The traditional wedding vows include the promise to love and cherish one another “in sickness and in health.” Yet most of us come to our wedding without a lot of personal experience of serious, life-disrupting illness. We accept the vow but don’t have much practical knowledge of what that may look like.

“We’ve got kids who’ve had broken bones, we’ve had a child was born with a congenital heart defect.  We have had all kinds of bizarre and strange problems over the years. And yet I don’t think of us as a sickly family, … Here’s the thing. We make that promise up front that we’re going to be there for one another. We’re going to love one another even when we’re sick and you know that that’s really a practical manner. That’s really the rubber meets the road there because you know, that’s when the loving feelings just aren’t there.

“You know that you don’t have warm, fluffy feeling when one of you is throwing up in the bathroom, the romance is not in the picture at that point. And yet, …

“Do you remember when I got food poisoning? … We had only been married a matter of weeks. I will never forget that feeling of being in the bathroom throwing up and feeling such a nasty mess, and I was a newlywed! I was used to trying to be pretty and everything and I felt … so helpless. And I remember you wetting a washcloth and washing my face off and I tell you what — I felt some love for you. I felt a huge wave of affection for you.

Love is about doing. It’s not about feeling.

It’s an action, a choice of our behavior toward another person rather than purely a reflection of our feelings at the moment.

“That’s an important thing to remember. You know that over and over again in Scripture, love works its way out in our actions, not just in the butterfly kind of fluffy feelings. I mean, those are there, that’s great when they’re there; but when you’re absolutely beat by chemotherapy, when you are recovering from a really difficult pregnancy, or whatever … something else comes into play than just the animal attraction.”

“You know what true love is—it’s putting someone else’s feelings and needs ahead of your own, right? There’s a passage starting in Ecclesiastes 4:9 – it says, ‘Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor, for if they fall, one will lift up his companion; but woe to him who was alone when he falls and he gas no one to help him up again. If two lie down together, they will keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.’”

“You know that the two of us in marriage together, if one of us has a need, the other one can step up and meet it. I’ll be strong one day or week or even year. And you’ll be strong another one. Can we just take turns? And in that threefold cord that’s not quickly broken — when we have the Lord to rely on, we are strong.”


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