In sickness and in health

So my sister had taken her vaccination a week ago. She had developed fever and chills in the night. The following day she had texted in the family group that today her husband would be doing the cooking. After a while mummy responded, “Modern husband… Good!” To which I immediately commented – “Not modern Mummy – Caring!!” This period of lockdown has really been a testing phase to the many of us. Now we are faced with the question about the degree to which our relationship with our spouses is strong!! 

I’m not a feminist, yet it’s really natural and normal for a wife to take care of  husband. She will turn the table upside down when he falls sick. Yet, how true does it stand when a wife falls sick or has a prolonged sickness that would require her husband to care for her.

I know of a very few loving husbands who live the vows they had made to their wives years ago when they were still young and strong. A few years ago I had visited a Pastor and his family in Jammu. Uncle and I had stayed with them for a couple of days. I do not remember anything about what all the Pastor had preached or spoken to me. Yet, I still remember how caring and loving he was to his ailing wife. It was he, who would prepare meals for us and his genuine love for his wife was so evident by the way he treated her. I wish to meet that family again. Another Godly family, whose daughter is a close friend of mine here in Pune. Her family lives in Madurai. Her mom had been ill since her childhood days. It was her Dad who cooked food and took care of their three children. Till date she doesn’t like fancy food or even chappatis as she was brought up eating rice as her three meals as that was how her Dad had taken care of  their needs. Even when she had gone to her home for her pregnancy, it was her Dad who would care for her. That’s truly an example. Even recently her mom’s health had been deteriorating and all his three children were unable to visit them due to the lockdown; It was her Dad who single handedly took care of her which even required to carry her for her basic needs as she couldn’t walk. Truly how blessed is this family !!

One of my friend who has two boys, has been training up her older one (an 8 year old boy) to prepare soft phulkaas, as she doesn’t want his wife to suffer when he will have to care for her tomorrow. She says ..he needs to atleast know how to make chappatis when she falls sick or needs help. Kudos to you my friend!! 

At the same is true that we are all learning. I am overwhelmed to see how my husband in the past 2 years of our 4 years of marriage 😉 has begun to take away many responsibilities from off my shoulder. Today purchasing vegetables is a cake-piece for him. He is a pro in taking care of the children. I would admit to the expertise of my husband in training the children to grow self-dependent in many ways. It wasn’t this way when Oliver was born. I remember questioning many older brothers about how much help should a husband render at home. We did not have help at home until my third pregnancy. My husband’s workplace was far away and so I had to wake up really early to pack his breakfast and lunch. He would return late and would be tired to help with any household chores. Weekends too it was so difficult to expect some kind of solid work from him. I would weep in secret many many days….not knowing how to tell him..I need help! I am overburdened! I used to be so tired and exhausted that used to leave me grumpy and unsatisfied. Only when the pressure was too much would I would literally explode and ask my husband to help me! He would help me for a day or two and things would continue like before until i would explode again. Yet….Praise God that we have learnt. Communication to God and your spouse is the key to all problems in marriage. Since the lockdown our house has a different atmosphere. We  are a team now. I do not have to ask for help from my husband. He knows what to do and he takes it up as his own task.

With my third pregnancy and our decision to  go through it without any help from parents, we have been seeing God’s grace in a very special way. The first thing that becomes alive in such a situation is that we truly begin to see the loving and caring side of our spouse – the memories of which stays with us even during the hard times when we are tempted to doubt their love for us. I hope I could dare to speak a little about the emotional side of how a woman feels especially during her pregnancy and delivery. Even yesterday, I was tempted much to feel low about how most inquire and pray about the well being of a woman only as her date of delivery approaches. Whether true or not, for an expecting mother it looks like it is only the child who is of concern – not her who had been battling her struggles for the past 8 months. The fact is that the 9 months of pregnancy are equally challenging and difficult. Realizing how incapable we are to even lift a fallen child with the big tummy-backache-leg cramps itself could make a second time mother down. Every step is a struggle. Every day a battle. The life stands still for the 9 months for a mother as she cannot think about anything. She sees her body reshaping into something she could hardly imagine. The ‘Do Not’ list for a pregnant woman is never ending. She is fearful about the day of delivery. She is fearful and anxious about the labour…and the list goes on. I had once seen an image of a scene in a hospital wherein once the baby is born every eye is glued towards the baby except for the mother of the mother who tenderly caresses her daughter for all that she had gone through. I look forward to encourage other mothers as this. Encourage and speak words of care from their very 1st month of pregnancy!!

There is a very old movie called – ‘A Vow to Cherish”, that was made on these lines. They promised to love each other forever—“in sickness and in health.” But when John’s wife, Ellen, receives a devastating medical diagnosis, the husband faces a really difficult call – to love his wife even when he could receive nothing from her.

It’s really easy to get pass the honeymoon phase of a marriage, yet when the body is weak and incapable to care for the other – will our marriage vow – in sickness and in health still stand true in our lives!! May God give us the grace to live every word of it and take this union seriously.

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