"I take you to be my wife/husband, and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and worst of what is to come, and as long as we live."
These are the vows we used at our wedding.
Not your traditional wedding vows, but still we weren't super creative and write our own. And even though they don't says specifically, "in sickness and in health," I am pretty sure it is wrapped up in "through the best and worst of what is to come." Because sickness definitely falls into the "worst" category. And most of the time, health is taken for granted even though it falls into the "best" category.
It is easy to love someone when things are happening the way you planned. The true test is how you love someone when life throws your plans out the window.
Since our wedding day, we have more than had to live our vows. In addition to normal adjustments that have to happen when you start sharing your life with someone, we were hit with a serious family illness (Phil's dad's liver cancer), owning a business during a horrible economy, grad school, infertility, and then thyroid cancer.
These challenges have brought out the worst in me at times. I am not the bright, funny, and confident woman my husband met and fell in love with. I am struck, more often than not, with feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and fear that my husband will wake up and realize he could do better.
But he hasn't. And I don't think he will. I know those are feelings that I have, and they are not the feelings he has. Because he is living his vows too. He is helping me through things. He is taking care of me like he promised he would. And he is doing a great job.
On Valentine's Day this year, I will have my second surgery. And Phil and I will continue to live out our vows. Not just in cards and flowers, but in actions. He will sit with me as I waffle between crying in fear and waiting for the surgery to be over (again). He will wake up every 4 hours to make sure I get my pain medication. He will kiss me and comfort me and take care of me. Just like he promised.
Knowing he will take care of me during the "worst" times is the best Valentine's gift I could ask for. Because that means I know he will be there and celebrate with me when the "best" comes our way.