Until Death Parts Us
March 23, 2010
There she was. The intensive care room was filled with the beeps of the monitors and whooshes of the ventilator that was helping her breathe. Her face, with tubes coming out of her mouth and nose was expressionless. We were told that she may be able to hear the words her husband and family were saying to her. “OK, wake up.” “We have a card game you’re late for, come on, open your eyes.” “Come on honey, we’re here, we love you, wake up.”
But by Friday, the neurologist had determined that the brain damage was extensive. And then they had the meeting with the family. This upcoming April, they would have celebrated 22 years of marriage, but she wouldn’t be around to spend it with Dave. At 11:30 am, the life support stopped. By 4:30 pm, she departed this earth to be with God in heaven. A far better place than the tubes-and-monitors existence.
I thought of that common phrase that most couples say to each other at the ceremony— “Until death parts us.” I just saw the end of their marriage. As much as Dave would have loved to have her here with him and his family, he unselfishly chose her needs over his own. He let her go. It was really hard and there were tears. But the family all knew this was the right choice.
So much of marriage, and life come to think of it, is fighting selfishness. We want to be first, have our way win and have our needs met. The late Dr. Bill Bright once said that the secret of contentment is to live your life without any rights. When you give up your right to be first, then you have the freedom to serve and to give. I saw Dave give away his rights to a prized possession and to someone he highly valued. It wasn’t easy, but there was an underlying peace knowing God was there in the midst of it all.
How hard is it to fight selfishness in your relationships? In what ways do you put your spouse or others ahead of your own needs?