For Better or Worse

When Dean and I got married in 1987, we chose the following verse to display on the front of our wedding invitation: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) At the time, we made a commitment to each other and the Lord, that the three of us would make a strong team that would not be torn apart no matter what would come our way in life. Recently we have faced a significant obstacle that has tested our lives and marriage, as new flooring was installed in the sanctuary at our church this past week. Because the chemicals and glues contained in the flooring make me ill, I can no longer attend services. Attending church is the highlight of my week, so this creates a painful challenge not only for me, but also for my husband. What is a spouse to do when their husband or wife can no longer attend church? This is a tough question with no easy answers.

The process of trying to figure out what to do in these situations can be very difficult. Currently we are “empty nesters,” but when our kids were young, the decision was more complicated since we had to figure out what was best for all four members of our family. At times when I was no longer able to attend church due to remodeling while my kids were growing up, initially it seemed to make the most sense for my husband and our kids to continue attending wherever our current church community was. I would either stay at home on Sundays or try and find a new church that was safe for me to be in without risk of chemical exposures that would make me ill. When we would go our separate ways like this, it usually didn’t feel right for long. After a few weeks or months, Dean and the kids would quickly jump on board and we would seek to find a church that we could all attend together.

Since my husband and I have faced this dilemma six times now in our marriage (toxic materials installed in church sanctuaries), each time it occurs we have to evaluate what the wisest course of action will be. Will we attend separate churches or will we leave our church family together to find a new church?  It is always hard to leave a church community when you have spent months or years developing friendships. Additionally, my husband and I are usually involved in serving in various ministries at the churches we attend, so it is often hard to have to step down from those responsibilities. We find joy and fulfillment in volunteering and serving where we can.

The good news is, in this current challenge at our church, my husband, Dean and I have agreed that we will stay together on Sundays, and not go different directions. Next Sunday we will plan to stay home together and watch our church service online. While it won’t be the same as being with our church family in person, at least we will be together, and for that, I am very grateful. To have his support is such an amazing gift, and his sacrifice is greatly appreciated. Trials in life can either separate us or bring us closer to one another. I’m so glad Dean has chosen to stick with me for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on December 3, 2016

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