Check out these cuties, huh?? Featuring my sweet, sweet husband and I expressing how very much in love we feel. 😘
This week I’m pulling out some thoughts and feelings from a little ways back. About a month ago, my husband had a flu-like illness that basically put him out of commission for five days, and it was a really tough time for me (as you’ll see below). There’s almost a little irony in the timing of sharing this post with you though. We are experiencing some health issues in our little family of two currently as well, so many of the thoughts below are similar to what I’m feeling now, even though our situation is very different than it was a month ago when I originally wrote them down. If you have a moment and wouldn’t mind praying for my husband and I as we wait on God for answers, we sure would appreciate it. ❤
There’s a bit of vulnerability here. I was so drained during these tough days. And I was (and am) SO not the perfect wife. But God IS perfect. He continually reminds me that I need to be humble so He can be sovereign.
See also: Boundless Love and Honest Efforts
Much to my dismay, sometimes it takes a week or two of difficult days and exhausting episodes for me to really get the picture. I suppose it is a good thing that God cares enough to keep showing me how to live like Him, but sometimes it’s a lot to handle. Please enjoy these thoughts on what it was like to care completely for another, the days of living through and learning from my husband being sick.
1. It takes a lot more time and effort to care for two people than it does to care for one.
Before Caleb and I got married, I lived in an apartment with a couple other girls. We were all friendly but pretty much kept to ourselves. They were a year above us in school and when they graduated this May, I lived alone until after the wedding. Living alone was actually a wonderful time of rest, peace, and freedom for me. I only had myself to clean up after. I only had my preferences to take into account. I only had me except when Caleb would come over (which was frequently), and I thoroughly enjoyed those moments of solitude.
Now that we’re married, everything is us and ours. It’s our apartment, our bed, our bathroom. Thankfully, Caleb is a wonderful and responsible human being, so two people making messes meant two people helping clean up. When he was sick though, all those daily chores were my responsibility, as well as the tasks involved with caring for his sickness. I already have a high respect for single moms and dads out there, but my goodness did these days open my eyes. I could only do so much as one person when there were two people to take care of, and I now have only a small glimpse of what it would be like to live as a single parent. If you are in this position, you have my utmost respect and prayers. In our household, the dishes did not always get done. The laundry piled on the floor. I still had to go to work, attend classes, study for tests, do homework, and take care of a sick husband. Some things fell much lower on the priority list than they normally would for me. And I had to be okay with that. I had to prioritize taking caring for my husband first, taking care of myself second, and taking care of everything else much, much less. So that’s what I did.
2. When push comes to shove, it’s harder than you think to be excited about that whole “in sickness and in health” thing.
Now, it’s not like I’m an unreasonable wife. I’m not about to leave my husband because he happened to be sick and interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for several days. All I’m saying is: it’s tougher than you think to uphold this promise with love and joy like the devoted wife we all hoped we’d be. Of course, nobody actually said anything about promising to be devoted in sickness and in health and maintaining our sunny demeanors while we’re at it. Taking care of a sick husband is hard. It’s hard to smile when your partner is suffering. It’s hard to be joyful when you wake up every morning hoping he’s feeling better, and every morning that tired face tells you without a word: “Not today, dear.”
I could expand on those wedding vows to give you a picture of what I was feeling. For me this week, it was a promise to stand (or sit on the couch, or lay in bed) by my husband’s side in sickness and in health, even when it meant pausing my busy day to make sure he was well-cared-for. Even when caring for him meant adding stress to my already-full plate. Even when his being sick meant changing all the plans I had carefully laid out for the week. I promised to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. So that’s what I did.
3. I have grown in my ability to be flexible and patient when plans change.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to plan. Love it, really. Every once in awhile, I almost become obsessed with planning. I like to be organized and to know what to expect. And for a very long time, I did not like to have my plans messed with. You can imagine how well this worked out for me, considering it is, in fact, God who’s in control. Not me. One of the things I get to plan now that I’m married is our meals and grocery list for the week. I plan it so we have exactly enough meals for every day of the week until I plan to go grocery shopping again. This keeps us from wasting food, eating unhealthily, and scrambling to put food on the table. It does not work, however, when I plan for two of us to eat and only one of us is well enough to consume all those beautifully planned meals.
The first day Caleb was sick, we bought Saltine crackers, chicken noodle soup, and Sprite on the way home from the doctor. We both had soup and crackers for dinner that night, which was not at all what I planned. But instead of resigning myself to soup and crackers for both of us, I decided that I could shift the original plan to accommodate only one mouth being fed. I decided that I didn’t need to get frustrated and throw everything out the window just because my husband couldn’t eat the meals I spent so much time and effort planning and preparing. I noticed that my attitude was more flexible than I expected it to be. I was more open to change. I could prepare those meals for myself. I learned that it was okay to enjoy them, even if he couldn’t share the enjoyment with me. So that’s what I did.
God is so, so good, and I am so, so grateful that He cares enough about me to teach me little lessons like this. If only I had taken my own advice then and done life one thing at a time! I imagine things would’ve been a little less stressful…
So, my dear friends, those are the thoughts of a tired young wife in the midst of the great love of Jesus. I hope you found something of value in these words, something relatable or encouraging, maybe. And if you did, please let me know, because I would love to chat. 😊