On Monday afternoon, Rick started feeling sick. By the time evening came, he was lying immobile in bed and when he got up, he couldn’t travel anywhere without a pot to barf in (but he never did barf). By Wednesday morning, he wasn’t feeling any better and his skin and the whites of his eyes had turned an alarming shade of yellow. He finally consented to do what I’d asked him to do about a billion times over the previous two days: “Let me take you to the doctor.”
He was sent to endoscopy that day, where they removed that one stone, and was then scheduled for surgery for the next morning to remove his gallbladder. After what was essentially two days in the hospital, he was released to come home, where he is still recovering.
Meanwhile, life goes on for me and the kids. While Rick was dealing with his pain, surgery, and recovery, I was trying to be everywhere at once, and trying to get everyone what they needed. This was the last week of summer and the kids had friends’ houses to go to, church activities, and various classes and practices to attend, and I was trying to be the one and only person to get them everywhere... while also being at the hospital every second that Rick was there. And to top it all off, this was the week of our family reunion with Rick’s side of the family, and we were to host some of the family, and some of the activities.
I’m thankful for friends and family who stepped in to help us. We had offers for meals, farmed out the kids for a day, and the family rearranged sleeping arrangements and activities to accommodate Rick’s recovery and my stress level.
But last night Rick got mad at me. He said that I was giving more of myself than I should be. He told me that I have been giving 100% of my time to everyone but myself. He told me that I put my life on hold for him and his stupid sickness. He said he wanted me to yell at him--to complain about the week and how hard it’s been. He wanted me to tell him that I wasn’t okay and that this wasn’t fair.
The truth is this: to me, the word “fair” doesn’t exist in marriage. There’s no keeping score. There’s no “Well, I did that for you, so now you have to do this for me.” There’s no fair. What there is, is love. There’s “thank you for doing that for me, let me do this for you.” In marriage, we do what we need to do to keep each other healthy and happy. Sometimes Rick is the one who is trying to be everywhere at once, sometimes it’s me. There’s no fair, there’s just love.
For members of the LDS church who are married in one of the temples, we don’t actually say the words “in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Of course, we make promises along those lines, that we’ll love and honor and cherish and care for each other. And we promise that we’ll invite God into our relationship. But we know that our relationships last far beyond the grave. Maybe that’s the part that keeps my perspective of marriage intact. Rick and I know that we’ll be together forever, and we want to treat each other in such a way that we’ll not only love each other, but will like each other for that whole time.
It’s been two years, almost to the day, since we started this blog. When I mentally list all the things that have happened during that time, my mind is blown. So many fun trips and experiences. Those have made it into the annual photobooks. But the things that have brought our family closer together are the things that aren’t fair. It’s the frustrations and set-backs that really bring us together. It’s the nights of answering questions and addressing concerns of individuals or of the family that help us understand and love each other more.
In sickness and in health? You bet. And every other time in between. Those are the times we live for. Those are the times we love.