Better and Worse

Last month my husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. When I sat down an hour before our dinner date to write out a card for him, I had wished that I would have written the note a couple days earlier when I was in more of an appreciative, lovey dovey mood rather than the funk that I was in at that moment. This predicament inspired me to reflect on love, marriage, funks, and how the three interact.

I’m pretty sure when I stood in that white dress nine years ago, hand in hand with my husband-to-be and promising to take him for better or for worse, that I naively thought the ‘better’ and the ‘worse’ had to do with external factors. Like there was some conglomeration of worsts through which I had to be sure I could promise to love Brian before I committed to marriage – I will still love and cherish you if you lose your job, if our house burns down, if your leg is amputated by a chain saw during a freak Christmas tree cutting accident… I don’t know if I really considered the internal or personal aspects of ‘better or worse’.

Of course I figured marriage would bring moments of frustration and bickering over petty things like chores or directions or flatulence. I suspected that there would be conflict when we couldn’t agree or were just out of sync for whatever reason. Beyond these seemingly trivial issues, at the age of 22 I couldn’t have predicted all of the physical, emotional, and spiritual highs and lows that I would experience as an adult, wife, graduate student, female, human. When we made this vow though, we promised to love each other even when the other person is at their worst. When I am aggressively impatient, my spouse vowed to love me. When I am depressed and lethargic, my spouse vowed to love me. When my focus is off track, Brian vowed to love me. When I have shamefully messed up, which I have, he promised to love me, which he has.

Brian is so good at it. Other women may be able to say the same thing about their husbands, but for me, I have never seen such a wonderful earthly example of unconditional love. When I feel like I am at my ultimate worst, he makes good on his promise to love, honor, and cherish me.

This past weekend we attended a wedding at our church and the pastor said to the couple, “God brought you together to do what you could never do alone.” It is so true for so many reasons that I am a stronger, better person married to this amazing man. Both individually and as a couple we have been able to accomplish things that we couldn’t have accomplished alone. I know that this is founded in the freedom of the vow to be committed for better or worse – this vow that Brian and I have made to each other…and that God has made to us.