By Vernalee
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“I,_______take you ____________to be my __________, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; for this day forward until death do us part.”

Most of you in my reading audience have heard these sacrosanct vows. If you are married, or have been married, you have recited them or something similar. Many of us know the words by memory. Often times after the wedding ceremony, we don’t think of the words, they resonant into oblivion.
But those revered vows, though they are simple statements carry a powerful and meaningful message. The execution starts immediately after they are uttered. These simple words are in effect contractual covenants that bind a couple’s love.

One of my best girlfriends is confronted with the testing of her marital vows now. “In sickness and in health” is the section that she is experiencing. Around the time that she turned 50, she and her hubby were on vacation on one of the islands. While there, he fell. It was a fall that had a pronouncement of other maladies to follow. Now, several years later, he has been diagnosed with a debilitating ailment. Once a very active man, he is now unable to mobilize himself as he had previously done. Then, the devastating blow came; he was no longer permitted to drive. That prohibition stripped him of his total independence. He became dependent upon others for his mobility.
Thus, all the responsibility of driving, taking him places, picking up needed household items and the like were transferred to his wife. Slowly, but surely, her responsibilities increased. He lost his maneuverability; she acquired the responsibilities that he once maintained.

Symbolically, her life had become like Atlas, because truly the weight of their collective world now rested on her shoulders. Imagine holding up your and his world on your shoulders! The weight gets heavy. In fact, it can wear you down.
When you have a spouse, you share all things proportionally in good times and in bad. The test always provides the testimony; it separates the wheat from the chaff. My friend “took to heart” her marital vows. She was and is obedient to the words that she stood before God, her family, her church, and her pastor and repeated as she and her husband respectively confessed their love to each other. Now, those marital vows are being put to the test. “In sickness and in health,” she remains attentively committed.

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