Marriage Minute no. 1

Marriage Minute no. 1

“I, Jill, take you, Randy…

“I, Jill, take you, Randy, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.” 

What sacred words these are.

I remember being a young woman, dating Randy for many years and still not feeling mature enough to make that life long decision to be dedicated to someone for the rest of my life. Am I ready? I don’t feel grown up enough to decide for the rest of my life! Then this one day, while sitting next to him at a home bible study, I had this thought…

Don’t laugh. This is the honest to goodness real deal.

I want to be the person that changes Randy’s diaper with honor and dignity. 

Ok, you can laugh a little. You can even psychoanalyze me.  But it was honestly the turning point in our 6 years of dating that helped me know I was ready for these sacred marriage vows, “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

It helped me know I wasn’t getting married for only what I would GET from Randy, but for what I could GIVE to Randy even when he could give nothing to me in return.  That’s a pretty heavy thought for a 20 something year old. That’s pretty major for a normally self centered-youngest born. It’s easier said than done, but it was a good start. It helped me know I wanted to be with him until we were old and gray. I just didn’t think we were that old yet….

MY HEROES

I have some heroes in mind when I think about actually living this respectful and selfless kind of love.

My neighbor Barbara:  Her husband has been big and strong my whole life. He caught 2 year old me when I was falling down the stairs. He used to tell me to put my two pointer fingers together and  then he’d hold them in his  fist and  tell me I was in “Hungarian Hand Cuffs.” He did the same to my boys but used masking tape instead. He used to fix cars and yell at us when we drove too fast. The years of hard labor and bypass surgeries have weighed on him. He’s got some dementia and shaky hands now. He jokes around less and less but still manages to eek out a smile and a word or two. Even though they are mostly home bound together, she has a smile on her face. Even though he might fling his cereal across the kitchen floor by accident, she says, “How can I get mad at him?!” And then she pats him on the cheek and looks at him with a twinkle in her eye. She still looks at him like she’s in love. She’s my hero.

My Uncle Bob: He joyfully nursed his wife after multiple complications from strokes and head injury, always believing, always hoping in her recovery even after she couldn’t talk to him anymore. He went to her nursing home every day and cheered her on. He took her back home insisting he could do it on his own and continued to cheer her on. She was like his little Doll and he was gonna take care of her. He did it with love and honor until the Lord took him home.

Almost 17 years into our marriage and I am extra thankful for their example and the turning point in my own thinking. I am thankful for more than two reasons.

The first, it helps me to sit with Randy while he lays nauseous and in pain. Brain surgery is gnarly. It gives me a commitment and a determination to stay by his side and protect his dignity. I have to be quiet and I can’t touch him. It makes his nausea worse. That’s hard for me. I want to climb in the bed and cuddle. I’m just sitting here in the quiet hospital room listening to him snore, or moan, or ask for ice chips. I help him close his eye lid that gets stuck open and push buttons he cannot see.  When he was 33 he would rather not think about a day like today, but I think today he’s particularly thankful he already knew I’d be right here.  Truth be told, he had to wipe my bottom first! After Ian was born I was quite useless and in tremendous pain. He hasn’t needed that help from me yet, but I’m so ready to do it with honor and respect! Being cared for with honor during such a vulnerable time is one way a marriage can experience nakedness without shame.

The second, I’m thankful that my kids have grown up hearing about Mommy’s silly litmus test. When Ian grew weaker in the hospital and could barely stand he asked me, “Mom, you know how you said you would wipe Daddy’s bottom? Would you do that for me too if I can’t do it for myself anymore?”

Selah… I just need a moment of silence.

“With Honor, Ian.”

It brings tears to my eyes again to remember those days and weeks in the hospital that were so difficult for Ian. It emboldens my heart to practice this selfless service with dignity and honor for these people God has given me. It makes me hunger for all marriages and relationships to be lived in dignity. Hospital life can be very undignifying as our bodies are more like specimens for measurements, or our faculties are lost. All modesty seems to go out the window.  I’m so grateful that Ian knew being cared for in his weakness is an act of love and respect not humiliation or burden.

“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16

I can see why this can happen when we are loved with honor during the hard times. It’s the kind of love Jesus loved us with. He came to serve not be served (Matt. 20:28). With this kind of example there is hope for renewal on the inside. Though our outer self is drooping from muscle weakness, though we walk slower each day, though our hands grow shakier and our minds a little slower, our inner self can be renewed through this kind of devotion… “to have and to hold in richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until only death should separate us.”

Everyone is dying. With Jesus’s service and sacrifice you can hear….

You are valued. You are honored. You are respected.

Jill

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18 thoughts on “Marriage Minute no. 1

  1. Oh Jill, through glistening tears and aching heart I read your beautiful words…and we are all urged onward and upward. I knew such pain would only polish the reflection of Christ’s love to shine brighter in all of you. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works (good heart) and praise your Father in heaven..” Matthew 5:16 . So you shine. And we are praising Him even as we ask Him for His perfect healing, mercy, comfort, grace and peace to strengthen and uphold you in every way. Immanuel…Our God is with us.

    I shared your prayer request with another praying warrior in Tahoe, and she happens to be helping another teacher in her recovery from brain surgery for a benign tumor! She said she is getting better and stronger with every day. Fight on!

    Love Doreen

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    1. Thank you so much, Doreen. Your prayers are appreciated! I feel polished raw, if that’s whats happening to me…the polishing part. I need some Fight On kind of spirit. I know Randy would do the same for me. Only he would like the quiet even more!

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    2. I usually stay out of this blogging-melee and the digitally-fast back and forth you all carry on in “the cloud”. But I’m home alone in a quiet moment and I just didn’t want to stay silent after I read these beautiful words from… my wife. It’s probably good that I usually stay quiet because even now I’m struggling to find words that could begin to describe how thankful I am for her. I want everyone to know that she is more beautiful to me (yes, physically) than when I was first attracted to her many years ago, and even on our wedding day. I have learned much about her life and thoughts and dreams, but there is still much to discover. Right now I’m imagining myself exploring a vast, beautiful land (Jilly-land) full of valleys and mountains, and caves and cities… and museums… art museums.
      One thing she and I have talked about is that if we speak openly about the treasure we have in our marriage to each other, we fear prodding tender wounds some of our dear friends have in their own relationships. Everybody wants a good marriage, but we have found that many find pain, sometimes really painful pain, in this “exploring and discovering” one another. We have too. Our only hope to endure such pain has been the knowledge that we are in fact perfectly safe in the protection of God who loves us dearly. We hope after offense and pain there will be healing and forgiveness and… love. So far there has been each time, and many have gone way ahead of us in “Blessed Holy Matrimony” to show that God is faithful, and marriage is important to him. It is NOT for only a few “fortunate” folks, but for all who would put themselves under His guidance. He is good. He gives good gifts. He gave me Jill.
      P.S.—Jill mentioned a couple of our heroes (Barbera and Uncle Bob) I just wanted to add Uncle Mac and auntie Mae Murakami. Uncle Mac is waiting for us in Kingdom Come, but both have led us by example how to serve Jesus as man and wife. Thank you both so much!
      P.P.S.– The only way she got that photo of our rings was because the surgery people made me take it off. It is now back on my finger—where it will stay.

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  2. Eloquently and honestly and well spoken Jill. Inspiring and challenging. Encouraging and exhortative. Funny 😎 and sober. Praying for you all in these days. Lord have mercy on these difficult hours. — Tom

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Love you and miss you, thank you for your encouragement, hope, and sharing in this time….. we are praying for all of you, mark 10.45 says “for the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”. what an example of serving your family with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength! May the God of peace give you His rest as you sit my your hubby’s side, day by day, moment by moment. May our Lord continue to give you His joy and laughter even though the days and nights are long and tiring, xo kelly

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    1. Thank you, Kelly. your prayers and encouragement are precious to me. Randy encouraged me to go away to a quiet place and get some refreshment to come back and do it all over again. I’m grateful I have an understanding husband in all of this.

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  4. You’re my hero!!! I love each word that your mouth uttereth. I have told Michaela and Harris that college kids need to see a picture of what a good dating/courting relationship looks like…and many have come to them for counsel as they live their lives together in the community of college. You are Randy are the “picture” for all married couples. I knew when I heard the story about the testing of Ian being asked by the psychologist about what he does when he gets mad at his parents…I knew then that even your kids saw the perfect love of Christ in their parents. You continue to live that example give us a glimpse of what that looks like in the context of a marriage. Something to hope we all grow up to be like. Love that you would take the time write this meaningful reflection of Christ in you and in your relationship. Thank you for constantly blessing us!

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    1. Thank You, Lynn. I love these comments on this really vulnerable post. It’s been in my heart for a long time and I didn’t get it out till today. I wondered it if was too personal. It’s a Pearl to me for sure. So I’m glad it could bless you and hope to bless Michaela too.

      I am not the ideal bride. But I am a bride in love with my husband when all the music and fancy dresses and hair are all gone. My hands all wrinkly and my skin is bumpy. My husband is laying in a bed all nauseous and weak. I’ll love And respect Randy no matter what. But the thought of others not or it getting in the way of worship makes my heart ache. I know you’re playing for healing for him. Let’s move this mountain together!!

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  5. It has been a long day for me……………………..but I KNOW IT HAS BEEN LONGER for you…..so every minute I charged on…..checking off little and big tasks here and there…..Leonard helped me with the latest one tonight because I took a nap at 915 pM to get through it. THAT IS what devoted partners do…..be there for each other through….ANYTHING! You two are proof of this….and we know you can plow through this journey as well….safely, better, stronger, more faithful, more in love than ever.
    He looks worn but remarkably good….must be the wonderful person sitting next to him “not” making him nauseous! Praise both of you. I am relieved to see it over.
    Prayers are still flowing…..gonna hold off on the lemonade for now….it might make Randy nauseous.
    Heal and get stronger. Love to you all! Blessings, Wendy and the guys at home and all of us at VHS…..

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    1. Maybe it thinks we’re on an exotic vacation in some far away land! Thank you, Wendy! You and Leonard have something special too. I can see it. It takes two to tango so beautifully!! Thank you for posting and persevering with us. Please give Randy’s sub a great big hug from me. I really appreciate him right now. Tons!

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  6. Dear Jill.
    Thank you. Even while no one would blame you for bemoaning God about your situation, instead you honor and uphold Him. You encourage others with your words and actions, and in doing so, reflect the same story His son came to share, of love and sacrifice. I am humbly touched and encouraged. May your wings continue to carry you and fly free.

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    1. Thanks Dom,
      I might be kinda like a “free bird”. But I don’t think that’s what’s helping me now. If there’s anything good that comes out of me, it’s from God. These aren’t my wings. Not my wings at all. They are His. I know because I spent those months in heart failure asking God to let me feel his wings. I cut out wings in bright colors and put them all over the hospital room. I read over and over inthe books of Psalms, Isaiah, and Deuteronomy of Him hiding me in the shelter of His wings, or mounting up on wings like eagles, or Him carrying me between His wings, or Him hovering over to protect and warm me with his wings. He is so clear in scripture, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due.

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