If you’re married or have been, think back to one or more of the worst “disagreements” you as a couple experienced. Jim and I had some doozies, but in each case, one or the other of us backed down from having to be “right” and got on with the business of getting along. And after 65+ years, we still love each other.

I’ve learned a thing or two over those years, but the pathway of that knowledge is strewn with brambles and thorns. Currently, Jim has memory problems. Doctors say it’s not Alzheimer’s, that only the frontal or short-term part of his brain is affected. His long-term memory can dig up words and names I’ve long forgotten, but he can’t remember the day and date, which does wear thin. However, measured against what others have had to put up with, I am profoundly grateful.

Many of you out there know exactly what I’m talking about—years of struggling with your partner’s Alzheimer’s, learning new ways to relate, developing patience and even joy in those hard times. Caretaking in serious illness tops this category in many ways—meeting the physical and emotional needs of the helpless and dying. Another category is bad behavior or an unwillingness to fight bad habits or addictions. And need we mention suicides?

What IS marriage in these sorts of situations? Certainly not walking hand in hand into the sunset A marriage that glows may simply be reflecting an unseen crucible of pain and anguish.

Hanging tight to Jesus helps us through that pathway of brambles and thorns. The more we love Him, the more we’re able to love our partner.

Many of my friends are true heroes:

Lowell, Fran, Ward, Connie, Paulette, Al, Ann, Shirley, Helen, Joyce and Joyce, Judy and Judy, Bill and Bill, Dick, John, Marilyn, Ginny.

If your name isn’t on this list but should be, please let me know. Be assured that God knows your name and cares deeply.

Though we are sometimes called to hard things, Jesus did the Really Hard Thing for us—on the cross.


Who are the heroes you have known? Please tell me, either below or on egus@me.com