Robby and I celebrate eleven years of marriage today. Eleven years full of happy memories, adventures, surprises, and the warmth of love and friendship. But we’ve also had our fair share of illnesses, loss, and grief.
While the world equates love with romance and encourages us to seek our own interests at any cost, I’ve learned something that may sound controversial:
a good spouse is one who will stand with you, walk with you, and sit with you, no matter what life throws your way.
During the marriage ceremony, we stand facing one another and vow to love, honor, and cherish one another through sickness and health. This vow is easy to make when love is in full bloom and the future is wide open before us.
Then life happens.
Over the past few years, I’ve felt very strongly that God was calling me to write and, ultimately, to leave a good-paying job so I could focus on my writing career. This has been a wonderful adventure, but I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of time, energy, and money. All along, Robby has supported my dream and continued to support our family without hesitation or reprisal. He is my number one supporter, help mate, and confidant. As my life partner, Robby truly stands beside me.
We all have a vision of what our lives will be like when we get married: traveling around the world, having a big family, or starting our own business.
Life is a wonderful journey, but we never know where it will take us or the impact it will have on us.
Only a few months into our marriage, I went to a doctor to get some help for fibromyalgia symptoms. I wanted to feel strong and happy, able to enjoy my free time with my new husband. Instead, the medicine they gave me stiffened my joints to the point that I could hardly walk. I remember distinctly Robby having to help me up the stairs into our home as if I were an old lady. Fortunately, I was able to stop the medicine and it had no long-term effects. Still, I’ll never forget Robby helping me up those stairs. Through those two frustrating weeks, Robby never issued a complaint, but only voiced his concern at my sudden illness. Since then, I’ve never questioned Robby’s willingness to walk beside me, regardless of what comes our way.
In the early phases of love, we often hide our true selves. We dress up, put on makeup, clean the living room, make fancy dinners—things we might not do if left by ourselves on a typical Saturday evening. We cancel dinner if we have a migraine. We lock the doors if we have the stomach flu. We visit “difficult” family members by ourselves and save our complaints and frustrations for our BFFs.
Then we get married and the mystery is over.
Our family had COVID in January. We managed to get through it okay, but I developed a persistent cough. Just when Robby needed to rest and get back to work, I was up coughing for hours at a time—a nasty, productive cough that caused me to reach for the nearest trash can. There’s nowhere in our house that I can cough loudly without waking someone, so this nightly routine was affecting both of us.
One night, feeling especially miserable but intent on letting Robby sleep, I went to the bathroom and sat on the bath mat, waiting for my cough medicine to kick in. After a few minutes, Robby came in to check on me. Seeing my sorry state—hair mussed up, tears in my eyes, and a trash can between my feet—he came in and sat on the toilet lid behind me. For over an hour, Robby quietly rubbed my back in between coughing spells. This simple gesture reminded me that I wasn’t alone, that we would get through this together.
This also taught me just how much I need my husband—my best friend—to sit with me in times of need. Thankfully, Robby understood this and sacrificed his sleep for me that night.
The world wants you to think that marriage should be the culmination of a whirlwind romance filled with fine dining, roses, big gestures, and even bigger adventures—and those things are all fine and good. But what you’ll really need in life is a partner who will stand with you, walk with you, and sit with you through the biggest and smallest moments, through the happy times and the difficult times.
If you don’t think your boyfriend would ever sit in a hospital room with you, or hold your hair while you lost your lunch, or support you while you chased your dreams, then let him go and find someone who will. But if you’ve found someone who will do all these things, who will cherish you through thick and thin, then you’ve truly found a love worth keeping.
Just remember, marriage is a two-way street. Be ready to support your husband as much as you need that same support.
Paul said it best:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NAS).
Save it for later: