Malachi 2:15 – Has not the Lord made [husband and wife] one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. (NIV)
My mom suffered from schizophrenia for 25 years. During most of that time, she was kept in a locked hospital ward for many months, and sometimes she was sent to an asylum. Usually, nine months out of any given year, she was in medical care, so we got to see her for only about 90 days annually at home.
The hospital in which she resided was about three miles from my home. It was an uphill walk all the way, and it took about 45 minutes to get there. We didn't have a car, and there wasn't a direct bus service from where we lived. Visiting was limited to one hour each evening, between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.
My dad walked to visit mom every night. In sunshine or rain, stormy or windy weather, trudging through snow or splashing through puddles, he never missed a visit. He used to come in from work at 6:00 p.m., grab a bite to eat, put together some clean clothes for mom, and then head out the door. He returned home just after 9:00 p.m., talked to us for a little while and then went to bed.
I don't know what dad thought about as he walked to and from the hospital, but this I do know: he fulfilled his marriage vows during the toughest of times, and because of that, he was and still is, God rest his soul, my hero. Perhaps the world would be a better place if we all constantly reminded ourselves about the noble, honest calling of keeping faith, hope, and love alive in our marriages.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, marriage is a tough commitment at times, but something that You want us to keep. There are many unsung heroes and heroines in our community who are remarkable caregivers and promise keepers. They don't draw attention to themselves, and they just keep doing what is right, honourable, and true. Bless them for their quiet acts of faithfulness. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.