When “In Sickness And In Health” Gets Put to the Test


For those of you that are married, you likely made a vow to honor and love each other “in sickness and in health.” It is a pretty common vow, but do you really know what it entails? When I thought about that vow prior to my own marriage, I assumed it was for things like the common cold or stomach flu. We can handle taking care of each other through that–easy!

The vow didn’t actually mean much to me, if I am being honest, until the day it became the most critical vow we made. My husband and I were 23 years old at the time and ready to take on life together. Who really knows anything about life at 23? We had been dating for six years, best friends for 18 years, and we could handle anything life threw at us.

When "In Sickness And In Health" Gets Put to the Test

Four months into marriage, we were suddenly facing one of the biggest challenges I think humans can face. Cancer.

Suddenly that vow became crucial. I was battling cancer. If I’m being honest, it still shocks me almost five years later that we went through it.

I had been in and out of doctors for almost a year trying to figure out why I was so sick, but cancer is not what we expected. At one of the appointments, the doctor told us the problem could be one of 10,000 types of cancer, and we both shrugged it off, thinking there was no way. Cancer was for older people, or so I naively thought.

So there we were, newlyweds, now battling to simply stay alive. We didn’t go on a fun honeymoon or flourish in all of our gushy love for each other. We didn’t go on fun dates and vacations. No talk of babies and buying a house. There wasn’t any future planning at all really. What we did instead was live in the doctor’s office and hospital with no idea what a future even was.

It forced us to live in the now.

Cancer may have taken things away from us that most newlyweds get to experience, but it gave us a gift that nothing else in life can give. A new perspective, but not just any new perspective. It gave us confidence in each other, knowing that no matter what life threw at us, we were strongest together. It gave us a fight to live.

Cancer taught us to love harder. Not just to love each other, but everyone. It taught us that tomorrow is not guaranteed and that you cannot plan for the unexpected. We learned that we were a team and needed to take care of each other first and foremost. It sounds cliché, but it was us against the world, not us against each other.

If you ask us about our story, we both say cancer is the best thing that could’ve happened to us. As individuals and as a couple.

Don’t wait for something like cancer to make you realize what kind of team you and your spouse should be. It should never be the two of you against each other. It should be the two of you battling the problem at hand TOGETHER. Marriage is hard, and being a team is crucial.

We learned how to be a team through serious illness, and this prepared us for being a better team at parenting. And by the way, parenting is by far the second hardest thing we have faced in life aside from cancer, but we were ready to do it together!

Are you ready to be a team and face anything life throws at you?

When "In Sickness And In Health" Gets Put to the Test

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.