What does the vow in sickness and in health mean? Few of us go into marriage with any thought that sickness will come. Health seems like the normal part of life and we can’t imagine one or both of us facing life-altering sickness. But sickness, chronic illness and pain come without warning and devastates our lives. Today Anita Mckaney will share her story of Hope for Marriage in sickness and health
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A Story of Hope for Marriage in Sickness and Health
In original marriage vows there is a vow to stay faithful in sickness and health. This particular aspect of marital faithfulness rocked my world in the summer of 2017.
I (Anita Mckaney of Walking Together Towards God) am a Registered Nurse and I know quite a bit about healthcare. My husband does not work in the healthcare field, so in our house, I am Resident Wife and Mom on all things illness-related.
When my husband complained of soreness in his back and chest that affected his driving and walking over a few months, I suggested that he get x-rays done.
We were both very shocked to hear the word cancer. It was Multiple Myeloma – a bone and blood cancer with no cure.
Hope In Sickness and health
I wish that I could say that I was not dismayed, but I was. This was that “in sickness” moment of in sickness and health. I immediately knew that any form of cancer meant surgery, radiation or chemotherapy – all of which were grave options.
Not only that, but this form of cancer has no cure really. It affects the bones all over your body. My husband’s x-rays showed lesions on his skull, chest, and back. He had some vertebral fractures and lost height. He had no strength and could not dress, shave, walk, drive or work.
My educated nurse brain began exploring the worst possible scenarios.
- More pain
- A completely dependent husband
- A sick father
- and eventually widowhood
How much time did he have? According to the literature, it would be about six years max. He would not make it to 50 years old. He wouldn’t see our sons graduate from high school….What does the vow in sickness and health mean? Real health is wholeness. Click To Tweet
Then the Holy Spirit silenced my fears
I remember the exact moment. I was in my husband’s hospital room after spending several nights and in my exhaustion, I prayed again to the Lord.
God reminded me that in sickness and in health I could be faithful. He reminded me that He did not give me the spirit of fear. God promised to strengthen me. He promised to help me.
The in sickness and in health bible verse that I stood on during that time was this:
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10, KJV).
The verse that my husband memorized was:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, KJV).
In this time of sickness, I learned about faithfulness in three ways.In this time of sickness, I learned about faithfulness in three ways. Trust God in sickness, pray in sickness and share God's love in sickness. Click To Tweet
Trust God even in sickness
First, I had to trust God and stand on the fact that He may or may not heal my husband. Sickness creates hard times in marriage for sure. In any case, I would stay by his side and be his support as a wife. It is in the tough times that many spouses run away. I have seen it happen.
God is faithful when we are weak, so we should do no less for our husbands.
Be Faithful in Prayer in Sickness
Secondly, I had to be faithful in prayer. Did you know that you can pray to overcome fear? That was the way that I could help my husband best. It was not my nursing skills, but my faith in God that I had to lean on. There were moments when we had differing opinions about his care. I had to run to the Lord for wisdom and know when to hold my tongue. Remembering that God is ultimately in control and that life is just temporary kept me grounded.
Third, my faith was something that I could share with all those who touched our lives during this time. The Lord granted us many opportunities to share the love of Jesus with doctors, nurses, housekeepers, and other staff.
What if the Lord had brought us to this moment so that someone could begin a relationship with Him? I realized that this was not all about us.
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Hope for Marriage in Health
From that August until January of the following year, my husband endured chemotherapy treatments, several painful procedures and eventually a stem cell bone marrow transplant.
We were financially devastated and emotionally depleted, but it was well with our souls. We chose to trust God in sickness and in health.
I was a caregiver before, but being my husband’s full-time caregiver humbled me like never before. God uses illness not just for the patient but for those who care for them to grow as well.
Walking through sickness in marriage strengthened my faith
It strengthened my faith in God and taught me to focus more on eternal life than the present.
God may choose to heal immediately or He may take us through that valley. In any case, He promises to be with us and His glory is our goal.
It is often on the other side of sickness that we can become unfaithful. We forget that God did it and attribute things to our own efforts. We can become selfish “now that it’s all over”. Remember to return to give thanks to God like the leper that Jesus healed (Luke 17:11-19, KJV).
People may have been tired of us sharing these miracles as they unfolded, but we couldn’t help but share!
- My husband was diagnosed early enough to treat.
- His body responded very quickly to chemotherapy.
- He collected all of his needed stem cells in one day versus the three usually required.
- Then he went into remission in less than a year from diagnosis – meaning that there were no further indications of the disease process happening in his body.
A Story of Hope for Marriage in Sickness and Healthy
What does the vow in sickness and in health mean? Real health is wholeness. As we walked together through sickness towards God as a couple in this journey, we realized that this indeed was a miraculous testimony that we needed to share.
We experienced physical wholeness, spiritual wholeness and a new wholeness in our marriage as a result of this sickness.
Instead of fighting against each other, we stood firm in our faith. Instead of allowing this situation to break us we trusted God to use it for His glory.
Today, my husband has NO physical indications of Multiple Myeloma. He is healed and back to work, driving and serving in the church – a cancer survivor.
We know that God did it and we will continue to keep our faith in Him in sickness and health.
Anita is a disciplemaker for Jesus Christ. She is wife to Maurice and mom to two sons. She is a Masters-prepared, registered nurse educator by profession and mentors many into nursing. She is also a Bible Teacher by commission and mentors many women in Titus 2 womanhood. In September 2013, she founded Wifestyle Image Network – an online and offline network of women whose goal is winning souls and winning marriages through discipleship, mentorship and ambassadorship.
Her first book called “The Titus Ten” made the bestsellers list in evangelism on Amazon in 2016. It teaches women 10 things they should be striving to be and be teaching others and is the curriculum for her W.I.N. groups and studies. Her second book, entitled “Anointed Devotions”, is a 52 week journal that guides the reader in how to become saturated in the Word of God for themselves.
You can find her teaching nursing simulations at Fortis College, leading marriage & discipleship groups with her husband, writing on their marriage blog (Walking Together Towards God), or playing with their two boys.
Her eternal passion is her Savior. Her love is her family. Her mission is making disciples.
If you enjoyed this you would like these posts:
- How To Fast and Pray in a Way that Pleases God
- 14 Promises of God You can Pray to Overcome Fear
- How to Be Still with God and Conquer a Giant in Your Life