In Sickness and in Health

What I overheard was loud and clear: his wife’s health challenges were irritating to him.


Not much can knock the wind out of me, but hearing this did. It touched both my greatest insecurity and the greatest burden on my heart. After a comment like that, I would have expected something profound to follow. There was nothing. The elephant in the room was that sickness is an affliction you have to live with or get through – not a calling you live out.

This is the message we send to the world about adversity: If you have any kind of challenge that makes you different, your existence automatically becomes a burden to those in your life.

It’s this mentality that has led to a divorce rate of 75% for couples dealing with chronic illness. It’s breeding a “give up when it gets hard” culture where people won’t even consider touching something that doesn’t fit into their box of “normal” or “easy”, especially when it comes to marriage.

Not only is marriage a ministry in itself to your spouse and your family, it is an opportunity to be a ministry to the world. Unless you are living out that calling with someone who is 100% committed to whatever that looks like in context of the unique circumstances, you cannot be more effective in God’s kingdom collectively as you would be separately.

Maybe we, as single and married Christ-followers, should start leading by a radical example – seeking out and living alongside a partner who faces adversity while exuding a peace only given by Christ and a prayer that God would use it for His glory. Maybe we should demonstrate what it means to love lavishly those who God chose to walk this life with us, because we are secure in the truth that only when we are weak are we then strong. In this, we can better show what it looks like to delight in hardship and difficulty for Christ, which illuminates the darkness.

To my single “special” friends – don’t waste your time on someone who’s not up for the challenge; who cannot recognize the joy of living out the Gospel with you and sharing in Christ’s strength made perfect through WEAKNESS.

Originally posted on Facebook.

5 thoughts on “In Sickness and in Health

  1. stephanieandthecookie says:

    MaryLynn ! I’m so glad to read your blog. I was really down tonight and I stumbled on your post on Desiring God. I was so encouraged by your words….As for this post, it breaks my heart to see this mentality not only in the context of marriage but also when it comes to aborting children… May we have the same unconditionnal love for others that He had when we were in our sins and unlovable !

  2. marliesvonn says:

    The words “health challenges were irritating to him” – I’ve heard those words verbatim before. And this was a Godly Christian man who promised to be by my side forever. And then three months into our marriage he decided to dump me saying “I want a divorce because you’re too tired and I can’t do enough stuff with you”.

    My time and energy are indeed precious – thank you for touching on this topic. I don’t see enough of this talked about. People really need to think about what they say in their vows….or not say them at all.

    • MaryLynn says:

      I’m so sorry that happened to you. My heart hurts with you. You are far too valuable to be treated that way. Thank you for your honesty in sharing part of your story.

  3. marliesvonn says:

    You are welcome – and thanks so much for the reply! I’ve healed from it – I had a great counselor – this was way back in 2001. So, I’m not carrying it around with me anymore like a brick in my pocket. But I just had to comment because the headline kind of caught a soft spot in my heart.

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