I receive a newsletter from crossroads.com entitled Marriage Builders. In this newsletter I just finished reading the story of man who attends a gym daily with his wife. She is frail and bent. Her arms are bent at the elbow, her spine is curved, and lifting her legs takes tremendous effort. Every day this man and his wife plod to the treadmills where she walks for 20 minutes while he straddles the moving belt behind her, supporting her as she painfully takes each step. It is a touching story. I love these stories, where one partner supports the other through the horrific challenges of this world, sickness being the most obvious challenge. It’s beautiful to see that love.
My question, though, is do we remember the importance of the supportive hand when the walk isn’t so agonizing? One of the positive aspects of Phil’s surgery, for me, was that I would be able to care for him. I was looking forward to nursing him and babying him. My healthy guy didn’t need much pampering and I was disappointed. But when he is not recovering from surgery — when he is his happy-go-lucky, here-let-me-get-that-for-you-you-sit-down-Heather, confident-content-competent self, do I remember to support him? Am I at his back with a helping hand that says I am here if you stumble (or even if you don’t)? How do we support the strong spouse? How do we support other family and friends when they are not sick or in need — or don’t appear to be? Or am I the only one who questions this; who hasn’t perfected it?