"Wow you've stayed through all this! Amazing!"
"I commend you for not leaving during this time."
"We've seen a lot of spouses leave so it's refreshing to see that you're still here!"
Lately, I am really zeroing in on this phenomenon that people express a type of genuine surprise when they find out the difficulties of Ryan's health battle...and that I stayed.
Does this strike anyone else as totally disturbing?
Shouldn't we as individuals and as a culture be surprised when spouses leave?! Not when they stay!
I felt my wifely pride puff up a bit the first time a hospital staff congratulated me on my bravery for not abandoning my husband. Then the next comment from someone came about surprise that a 23 year old would stick with her sick husband, and that furrowed my brow a bit. But when the comments became more regular I think I got just down right pissed!
Who on this Earth leaves their spouse and abandons their marriage when the sickness, the poverty, the worst comes up? Shame on them.
I just can't sugar coat this topic; understanding the motives or excuses of a run away spouse is incomprehensible to me. It's not acceptable.
Picturing my husband consumed with pain and all alone, stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night... breaks my heart.
Thinking about him in all those offices, through all those exams, experiencing unthinkable pain...breaks my heart.
Packing my bags and not looking back while Ryan is ill, bed bound, broken, unstable, scared, confused...breaks my heart.
That he would be abandoned for not being perfect...breaks my heart.
There have been so many times in the last 5 months where Ryan couldn't have done it alone. He needed his wife, his friend, his help meet in the pain and emotional turmoil. I have served as his driver, his cook, his comfort, his advocate, and his unofficial nurse. And it is not even that he NEEDED me for those things, it's that he should EXPECT those things of me. And I of him.
I am not going anywhere husband, although I think you already knew that. I am up for the midnight bathroom runs, the random ER visits, and the next scary surgeries and all the doctor's visits for years to come. I am here for the difficult, for the hard, for the unpleasant, for the scary.
Because you and I are one flesh completely inseparable. We are not designed to do this, or any other thing in life, alone. I know and accept that this season of unbearable might be here for awhile. But I look with anticipation to the days of joyful, beautiful, adventurous, and healthy. If I can't stick around for the hard, then I don't deserve you in the ease.
The Run Away Spouse Syndrome just won't do. I just won't accept it from anyone else or from our culture. I don't want to hear shenanigans from people congratulating me about being a good spouse for staying. It's not heroic to stay committed to something you said you will do. It's simply your covenant bond of marriage manifesting for God's glory and as a testament to Christ's love.
Jesus stayed committed through our worst, and it's any spouse's goal to follow in his lead. The Run Away Spouse Syndrome just won't cut it, because we don't serve a Run Away God...and He is the one who WILL root you firmly right where you are meant to be.