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For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health

By:  Donna Martin 

The vows are a major part of the wedding ceremony.  Many couples use traditional vows and some couples write their own vows.  Whether traditional or original the vows are important because they are binding promises that a couple makes to each other.  Sadly, many couples are so caught up in the “idea” of getting married and the ceremony and celebration that they fail to realize that the vows they are saying are actually more than suggestions.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a vow as “a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition”.  During the joyful time of the wedding the difficulties of the future are given little or no thought.  But sooner or later every couple will go through times in their marriage where their vows will be tested.  (In today’s economy I would assume that many couples are experiencing the “for richer or poorer” test.) 

One vow that I really never thought about being difficult to keep was “in sickness or in health”.  A young couple might think of this vow as something they might experience later in life, but sickness can occur unexpectedly at any age.  Until you experience it, you have no idea of how it can affect your marriage.  It is not only difficult for the one who is sick, but it is also difficult for the healthy spouse.   During our life we have experienced times of sickness.  It is a difficult time and one that can put a strain on a marriage and a family.  But it is also a time that can bring families closer together.  The way it affects your marriage largely depends on the way you treat your spouse.  Working together, supporting each other, caring for each other, and taking care of yourself are all ways to help you through a time of sickness.

As I write this article our hearts are breaking for our 28 year old niece.  Today she is beginning radiation treatment for her third bout with cancer.  She will be in isolation for several days due to the fact that she will be radioactive.  It is a difficult time for her and her family.  Her sweet husband has been by her side caring for her.  She has been so weak that he has had to carry her from one room to the other.  He has placed their two year old daughter beside her on the bed and read books to them.  He has cooked dinner, cleaned house, cared for their daughter, and taken care of all the things she could not do.  He is keeping his solemn promise to love her in sickness and health.  This is what true love is all about - serving your spouse, loving your spouse, and supporting your spouse through difficult times. 


Take time to review the vows you made to each other on your wedding day.  Assure your spouse that you will continue to do your best to fulfill those vows until “death do you part.”


The Martins currently present “Happy Together” marriages seminars for churches and organizations.  To schedule a seminar call Michael at 940-735-1515. They also publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at


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