Friday, September 28, 2012

Which Comes First, Better or Worse?

The hubby is dealing with some major sciatica pain. He spent 4 days in the hospital this week trying to find the root cause for the pain. We were told that there is some scar tissue in the area where he had back surgery four years ago and that could be impinging on the sciatic nerve.

Our life has taken a detour from where we were headed just a week ago. Now our day consists of rearranging his home space. Each transition to a different part of the room consists of moving heating pads, extension cords, his laptop, tv remotes, phones, pillows, pads and waiting for the pain to subside after each transition. He is feeling frustrated that the simple task of walking is so difficult right now. And of all things, Lord help us, I'm doing the cooking! We all know how much I like that!

This is the time of marriage that the part of the wedding vows "for better or worse" encompasses. Brides and grooms across the world say them everyday, saying them but not ever realizing what "worse" will mean in their marriage.

Better: in a more excellent manner
to greater advantage
to a higher or greater degree

Worse: of more inferior quality, value, or condition
more unfavorable, difficult, unpleasant, or painful
more faulty, unsuitable, or incorrect


I, _______, take you,______ for times more excellent, greater, and higher. I take you for times more inferior, more unfavorable, difficult, unpleasant, or painful, for times more faulty, unsuitable, or incorrect.


I don't think any of us married longer than our honeymoon would admit that when we took our vows we had any idea of what "worse" could mean. I think it's safe to say that most of us girls took the vows with love in our eyes singing that old song, "love will keep us together."

If we could time travel and I could visit myself the day before my wedding and say to Ronda the bride, "you are going to have moments that are tough. You are going to have days that are tough. You are going to have weeks, months, and yes, even years, that are harder than you could possibly know," I'm sure the bride in me would have looked at the 27 years married woman and laugh and laugh and laugh, never really believing how much for better for worse will test me, grow me, weaken me, knock me down and pull me back up.

No young bride and groom can comprehend the toll it takes on a marriage taking care of a sick child, losing a job, moving away from family, the death of a child, the innumerable transitions and challenges that will force its way into a marriage. It's probably good that we couldn't comprehend it in the beginning, because who would ever get married if they could see all the ways that their marriage will be tested?

Is there any way to prepare for it? Probably not. For one can't predict what the future holds. Marriage is a lot like parenting, ever growing, maturing and adapting to the new needs and challenges that constantly surface. One trial is built on another, giving strength to face the challenges to come.

As I get older and have walked through some great challenges with my husband, I can say that each one we've had, in the end, did make us stronger, closer, and more committed. There are a few that I wish we could have avoided along the way, but if we had we may not have learned what we learned by going through it.

Better isn't always better. Sometimes the worse is really the better. Both are temporary and change almost as quickly as the sun rises and sets, but I believe the worse is what makes us better.

When the worse hits, it makes us better equipped for the next worse. We aren't promised life on earth to be better. The better is still to come.

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