Til death do us part ain’t easy

John and I promised to stay together for better or for worse 13 years ago. Thankfully our worse hasn't been so bad.

John and I promised to stay together for better or for worse 13 years ago. Thankfully our worse hasn’t been so bad.

We recently went to the wedding of some of our favorite people, and as usual, it got me all romantic and misty.

I’ve been to enough weddings, and of course seen them in movies and on TV, that I can pretty much recite the vows in my sleep:

I, (name) take (name), as my wedded partner,

to have and to hold from this day forward,

for better or for worse,

for richer or for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

till death do us part.

In the 13 years since we got married, we have seen several couples face the worse, poorer and sickness: infidelity, financial troubles, addiction, serious illness.

Every time it happens, I can’t help but wonder how I would cope if I were in their shoes. I’m sure none of them imagined on their wedding days that this is what those vows would mean for them.

I am deeply impressed watching couples stay committed to their promise and to each other.

A friend really moved me years ago when she said with pain in her voice, “Why didn’t anybody tell me marriage would be so hard?”

So in case anyone else hasn’t been prepared for marriage’s challenges, I’m sharing an article I recently read headlined, “Three things I wish I knew when we got married.” Among the highlights of Tyler Ward’s article:

1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.

Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.

I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable.

2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.

3. Marriage can change the world.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”

Medina’s answer alludes to a surprising truth…

After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?

“Go home and love your wife.”

If you’d like to read more, check out 3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married

Though acknowledging that sometimes people cheat and people get sick and all the rest doesn’t sound romantic and misty, I think it is. When the reality of what those vows mean kicks in and a couple is able to make it through, I think that’s profoundly romantic.

My related posts about marriage:


Categories: home and family, lifestyle

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1 reply


  1. Intimacy and passion are different, advises couples therapist Esther Perel « Newvine Growing

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