It has been a few years now since I attended the funeral of my friend’s mom, but what happened at that funeral has greatly affected me as a husband. As I sat in the audience behind the family, I listened to the familiar eulogy of a loved one that has passed – telling of her life as a mother, a wife, a grandmother and a pillar of her church. It was everything you would expect to hear in a service such as this. What I was not expecting to hear was the pastor transitioning from a focus on the deceased to the husband left behind.
For Better Or For Worse
As the pastor made his shift in the service and began to honor the life of the husband, my friend’s stepdad, I couldn’t help but be filled with emotion. I was listening to a eulogy of the living. The pastor shared how difficult life had been over the past several years for this man’s wife. He shared how she needed constant care because she was unable to walk safely on her own. She needed assistance taking showers, using the restroom, getting in and out of bed. She needed someone to cook meals for her, to do the grocery shopping, to clean the home for her, to do her laundry, to dress her and to pick her up when she fell down. What I was listening to was a living example of a real “for better or for worse” story. This man whom I had known for maybe 10 years was showing me through the passing of his wife what unconditional love is all about.
It made me think: what do those words that we frequently hear at weddings really mean? I think they are different for every marriage, but the responsibility of how we deal with them is very much the same. What does “worse” look like for you? What situation have you been placed in that requires extra effort in showing unconditional love in a “worse” situation? How have you handled it?
Being Tested Day By Day
As I sat in that service listening to the praise and honor being given to this man, I asked myself if I would be receiving the same praise if this was my wife’s funeral. And back then, the answer might very well have been “yes” because the “for worse” was not so bad – at least not compared with today. Today, my wife battles fibromyalgia that has her body in a continuous state of pain. Some days the pain is manageable, but when it flares up, her pain intensifies. The problem for me has been that I can’t see anything wrong with her. She looks normal all of the time because there are no visible signs of her pain – she simply hurts. And I have to admit, I get frustrated at times, especially when plans have to be cancelled or she can’t go to work because of her condition. Just yesterday, I found myself frustrated yet again. But then I remember the living eulogy of a selfless man and I am humbled once again. I know he wasn’t perfect and I am certain that he had days of frustration as well, but what won out in his life was his continued unconditional love for his wife.
What will win out in your marriage? Will frustration win? Will you get to a point where you say you can’t deal with whatever situation you are faced with anymore? Or will you seek to be influenced by the unconditional love of a husband and be sharpened by his example? I may struggle at times with my particular “for worse” situation, but my desire is to be a husband who sharpens other husbands just like this man did for me. Who will you sharpen?
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My father is a Christian Psychologist, author, motivational speaker, etc. and has influenced thousands around the world and yet there is no doubt in my mind that the most valuable legacy he will leave me is the love and commitment he has demonstrated to my mother who is fading away from Alzheimers. Not what his plan was for their golden years. What an honor to have him as my father and example.