Blog by Gary Thomas
Dr. Crawford Lorritts Jr.’s father was dying.
Crawford slept in a nearby bedroom when he awoke at 1:30 a.m. He heard his father saying, “Oh, Sylvia, I’m so sorry. I couldn’t make it. I’m so sorry.”
Crawford Lorritts Sr. had had a “bathroom accident.”
Crawford Jr. listened to his mom say, “That’s okay, Crawford, that’s okay. I’ll clean it up. We’re married.”
That line, “I’ll clean it up, we’re married” is at the heart of a sacred marriage.
When we marry someone, that’s essentially what we’re saying: “Whatever the mess, I’ll clean it up. We’re married.”
In 1978, Charlie Wedemeyer was diagnosed with ALS and given one year to live. While he survived an astonishing 32 years past that initial diagnosis, the disease left him with many humiliating moments, such as the time some friends stopped by to visit and it took Charlie and his wife an hour to take him to the bathroom.
Charlie wrote, “At that moment, I sensed the utter futility of my life…My exhausted, loving wife stood watching over me, I sat hopelessly on a toilet seat, too weak to move and too discouraged to keep on fighting. Tears of humiliation and frustration welled up in my eyes as I looked up at Lucy, sighed in resignation, and said what I’d felt was true for a long time: ‘You and the children would be better off if I died.’ I’ll never forget Lucy’s reaction…In an almost angry, don’t-you-forget-it-tone tempered by the love in her eyes, she said, ‘We would rather have you like this, than not have you at all.”
Lucy’s response led to a lot of tears, and many more days of life than Charlie would have had otherwise: “The memory of those words [helped] keep me alive by giving me the will to continue fighting for my next breath.”
What does your spouse have right now? An addiction? An overwhelming insecurity or lack of shame? Severe employment restrictions? Psychological breakdowns—depression, and the like? Physical ailments?
Marriage calls us to rise up and say, “That’s okay. I’ll clean it up. We’re married.”