I’m in the position of having to take on a lot more of the household duties, as well as take care of my wife, as she recovers from her surgery.
It’s a small but notable reminder to me of the awesome responsibility we take on when we choose to form families.
Even when we don’t have kids in our relationships, committing to another human for life (theoretically, at least…Lord knows plenty of people don’t take that as seriously as they should when they trade vows), that commitment extends to caring for that person.
It could be a month after the wedding that one of you gets hit by a bus and you or your beloved might have to be changing the undergarments for a quadriplegic spouse. Or if you live to a ripe old age, one of you might be hale and hearty while the other one suffers chronic illnesses and needs to be taken care of.
Bring in children and it only gets more complicated. In lean times, it’s one thing not to have health insurance for myself, to not visit the dentist, or to eat ramen noodles and rice-and-beans for a week or two. But I can’t do that to my child.
Love is a sweet little word, but I wonder how many of us really consider the responsibilities that go with love. It isn’t just about affection and sex. It’s not just about a theoretically lifetime companion. It isn’t just about making “little versions of us.” It’s about work. Much of that work is just keeping the relationships healthy and always evolving in a mature fashion.
But sometimes it means taking care of that other person, and not asking or expecting praise for it. Not complaining about it. Not feeling put-upon. In fact, it means feeling a sense of pride and compassion and satisfaction at being there and making that person’s life better.
How many of us, though, really do that? How many of us are willing to care for our loved ones as well as we care for ourselves. Or, more appropriately, better?