It hit me like a ton of bricks as I sat there tenderly changing Travis’ dressing This is what marriage is about.
Every evening Travis lays there patiently while I take off the dressing protecting his wound site. Travis tenses up as I flush his drain and as I catch the fluid that comes out around the tube, the fluid that escapes rather than flow down the tube into the bulb. While the size of the abscess causing this extra work is good, the clean-up and process are tiring on Travis. He hides his tears, to protect me from feeling bad, as I clean the area and pour hydrogen peroxide watching it bubble. I watch Travis clutch his pillow and after the procedure, I always see the tear spots and no words are necessary to convey he is in pain. I feel awful as I inflict this pain nightly. After we feel confident the site will not continue to drain out, and I have properly cleaned the area I start the process of covering it up. At this point, Travis’ back hurts and he is struggling to lay in the position needed any longer. I apply Neosporin, place the dressing, and then tape it all down ensuring it’ll stay securely, without over-taping his sensitive skin. The other day, prior to starting the process, I listened to Travis and stroked his hair while he cried and struggled with his life and broken relationships. From the moment I sat down with Travis up until finishing his wound care, an hour had passed and I was overcome with love for him and grateful for the opportunities and time we have had together.
Travis and I had magnificent dreams when we got married. We had plans for our life, but instead, we were blessed with hours spent together laughing in waiting rooms, emergency rooms, procedure rooms, etc. We have spent countless hours talking about eternity and focusing on deep meaningful conversations. We have cried together and faced a reality that no one ever expects so young in our marriage. I have spent an insurmountable amount of time caring for Travis’ needs and I wouldn’t change it.
As I thought about all we’ve been through I realized how grateful I was to be married to Travis. While our ability to care for each other is impossible to line up exactly I am reminded of the Widows mite, Mark 12, and how she gave all that she could. Travis similarly does all he can for me. Whether it’s making my bed just the way I like it, tickling my arm, taking out the trash, quieting the kids so that I can nap (yes, I hear you Travis!), or making me laugh when I’m sad. Travis and I both give everything we can to each other. We have since the beginning of our marriage. I remember when Travis promised to always take care of me and I promised the same. So, we served each other from the beginning. When he needed a glass of water I would jump up and get it for him, and he would do the same. Obviously, we were not perfect and so it didn’t work seamlessly, but we sure tried. As Travis’ health has declined his abilities have changed, but his heart and desires have not. And, to me, this is marriage. We anxiously care about each other’s needs and try our darndest to be there for each other. We don’t go out on dates and haven’t for years. We don’t go on romantic get-aways. Our gestures of love are dressing changes and bed making, but that’s the reality of marriage. Travis and I weren’t interested in caring for a marriage only until death. Travis and I married for eternity and so we invested everything into our marriage, a marriage worthy of eternity. With the goal of eternity on our mind, we fight one day at a time.
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