54: For Better or for Worse

54: For Better or for Worse

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

For Better or for Worse

By Tammy A. Nischan

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

~Psalm 61:3-4

Taking walks around the campus of the university we attended, my husband-to-be and I often talked of all the things life would hold for us as a married couple. Rainy days were among our favorite times to walk, sharing an umbrella and a sense of closeness in the not-so-pleasant weather. Little did we know just how significant the happy memories of rainy day walks would become as we were called to weather a marriage filled with as many rainy days as sunny ones.

I never dreamed I would watch my husband carry the coffin of our infant daughter Adrienne to a hearse after her death from SIDS in 1992. I never thought that my husband and I would spend more than three years of our marriage traveling back and forth to different oncology offices, surgeries, and chemo treatments with our son who was battling brain cancer, and that this journey with our thirteen-year-old son would end with me listening to my husband speak at Nick’s funeral.

When two people decide to live the rest of their lives together “for better or for worse,” they usually aren’t picturing all of the “for worse” moments that can happen along the way. I know I didn’t envision this kind of future as I walked down the aisle to say “I do” to Tim. According to Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond, “One-fourth to one-third of parents who lose a child report that their marriage suffers strains that sometimes prove irreparable.”

As I reflect on how our marriage has survived such trauma, my mind wanders back to our days of walking under an umbrella together. I believe God planned those moments long ago to teach me a lesson I would not fully grasp until today.

Looking back, I realize that we were able to enjoy those rainy day walks in college because we walked with protection over our heads, we held each other’s hand, and we knew that sunny days would follow. Today, in our grief, we share those same figurative truths in our rainy seasons of marriage. God is our shelter overhead in times of storms, we hold onto each other in our sadness, and we know and believe that because God’s Son conquered death on the cross, our daughter and son experience a sunny eternity with Him today.

I am thankful today, even though my heart is broken, because the God of rainy days and sunny days leads me and my husband as we walk through this life together… for better or for worse.

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