My dear wife recently sent me a list of three things that a chronically ill person wants her loved ones to know. You can access that article here.
It is very well done, and puts to words all that you are feeling.
My darling, I know. I’ve heard you. I understand.
I also want you to know that there are three things that a husband of a chronically ill wife wants her to know:
- I want you to know that your value to me is not connected to how many chores you can accomplish.
I don’t love you because you do stuff. I don’t value you because of your efficient shopping and laundry skills. I know you have them; I brag about them. I know that you long with your whole heart to be healthy enough to do chores; and I admire you for that.
But I don’t love you for what you do; I love you because of who you are. I love you because God has joined us together and my life would be black and white without you in it. I love you because you are a daughter of God and with your whole life you point me to the beautiful Savior. I love you because we have something quite special: in our union we picture Christ and the church! In our relationship, we are something far greater than simply two people who share chores. We are one flesh, linked together by covenant as Christ is forever united to His church.
I love you because you are my half of the orange; my flesh and my bones. When you hurt, I hurt. When you grieve, I grieve with you.
When all you can do is reach out when we are sitting together and touch my hand, the universe moves. It may seem small, but worlds pass between us. You aren’t a maid, a laundress, a schoolmarm – you are my wife. Your touch moves my world.
- I want you to know that life consists of more than activity.
I don’t dream of the next party, the next activity, the next thing. All of that is nothing if you are not there. My life is already full of too much activity. What I dream of is simply sitting with you; talking, watching, praying, thinking.
My life is not full because I do a lot of stuff. I know that you apologize for not being able to be there, but I’d rather bring a meal to you in your chair than dine without you in the banquet hall of the great ones.
I want you to know that when you are here, I’m not missing out on anything. You may feel useless and a drain on us all, but you have no idea how much we all lean on you. You are our stability, our home, our comfort.
- I want you to know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I say this – even though I grieve with you; even though I pray and long for your health and strength; even though I do get weary and overwhelmed sometimes. But what it all comes down to is this: When I vowed “in sickness and in health” I wasn’t just saying words. I know that health and sickness only come from the hand of God, and that He is good.
I know that all things must work together for our salvation. I know that He has linked my life to yours, and we are in this together. We will grieve together; we will pray together. And if you NEVER recover strength, we will lean on our God together. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s you and me. I’m with you. That’s where I belong. Let’s do this thing together.
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised” (Sol 8:6-7 NKJ).