8 Little Arrows in my Quiver

Reflections and Ramblings of a Happily Harried Mom of Many

In Sickness and in Health August 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 1:34 am

I have a confession to make.  I broke my wedding vows.  Now, before you panic — it’s not what you think!  Exactly 18 years ago, my husband asked me to marry him.  Just nine months later I said “I do.”  When we said those vows, I’m pretty darn sure that I promised to love him “in sickness and in health.”  And therein lies the problem for me.  Well, at least the “sickness” part of it.

A couple days ago, he came down with a high fever and aches and pains.  He looked like he felt just terrible.  But instead of being kind and loving, I rolled my eyes and let myself get irritable about the whole thing, dreading what I knew would be expected of me.

When my children are sick, I can manage to be compassionate and nurturing, and sympathetic to every little whimper of pain or discomfort.  I’m a regular Florence Nightingale, soothing fevered brows, doling out Tylenol and Gatorade, and rubbing their backs while they’re throwing up.  So why is it that when my husband is sick, I suddenly turn into a grumpy, impatient, unloving and unfeeling woman?

Now I do have to say that my husband is very dramatic when he gets sick.  He has certain comfort foods he wants immediately — not an hour from now when I’ll be going out anyway.  He wants me to take his temperature, get a cool cloth for his head, and basically mother him.  But from what I hear, this seems to be pretty universal among husbands.  So what’s my problem?

Well, I’ve realized that what it really boils down to is this:  I’m extremely low-maintenance when I’m sick.  Just leave me alone, and let me sleep, and I’ll be fine.  So I have a hard time understanding someone who is the complete opposite.  And in my selfishness, I simply judge what I don’t understand, and become impatient instead of compassionate.

The beautiful thing about marriage is that if you work at it, it gets you out of yourself and makes you a better person.  I didn’t promise to like my husband in sickness, but I did promise to love him.  And love is a choice — an every day, nitty gritty, in-the-moment choice to act with compassion, often in spite of what I might be feeling or thinking. 

If I really think about it, it’s pretty pathetic that I can’t manage to drum up a little sympathy and extra nurturing for the man who sacrifices so much on a daily basis to provide for us so I can stay home and live my dream of motherhood.  It’s pretty pathetic that I treat my children better than I treat him, since he is supposed to be my first priority after God.  So what if he’d like a little extra attention when he’s sick!  He certainly deserves it every once in awhile!

I guess thinking about the anniversary of our engagement made me realize just how good I have it, and so, before I start taking that for granted again, I’d better go apologize to my husband for being so mean, and tell him just how grateful I am for him.

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2 Responses to “In Sickness and in Health”

  1. Ron Bacon Says:

    You know, your blog hits hits close to home. I am a good patient when I’m ill. My wife of 33 years looks after me very carefully, because I have Congestive Heart Failure. Sometimes it irritates me, but I thoroughly understand that it is because she loves me so much, and I love her. We take care of each other.

  2. Naomi Butler Says:

    I can relate- except that my selfishness is actually broader & more frequent! 😉 I’m so glad you guys got married- we were so blessed by your presence at Bona’s and can’t stop talking about it. 😉 I DO remember Jay asking you to make him brownies when he’s sick…(ahem)…;)


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