March 4, 2014 By Ed Wrather
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33.
Sadly, I learned recently that one of my facebook friends had actually passed away August 13, 2013. I am very glad that Larisa, the sister of Tina Nedelcu Carruthers, messaged to let me know. Otherwise, I might never have known the rest of the story.
Tina lived cancer free for nine months after her marriage to Neil Carruthers. Tina had fought cancer once and not only survived but recovered. She had the determination to learn again how to walk and talk. She had in the past sung in church, and she regained her singing voice and sang again. Tina demonstrated courage in the face of a fearsome disease. When the disease returned she fought again and this time her husband fought by her side.
Tina was 29-years-old, and Neil was 34-years-old when they died 46-hours apart last August. Neil had no apparent physical problems when he collapsed, and suddenly died just 46-hours before Tina, the love of his life passed from this world to the next, as well. (BostonGlobe.com 09.27.13; Larisa Chapman; Tina Carruthers facebook profile) I hope you will read the rest of this beautiful love story at http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/09/26/neil-carruthers-and-tina-carruthers-stoneham-couple-paths-converged-before-they-died-hours-apart/CgRlMo2kB5GmcssvOiOyxK/story.html#
In wedding ceremonies I often use the following vows after the exchange of rings:
you are each given to the other in times of happiness and of sorrow; in times of plenty and of poverty; in times of sickness and of well being; to love and enjoy till death shall separate you. Death only separated Neil and Tina from each other for 46-hours!
Vows, wedding vows, consider the vow to be faithful to each other even in sickness; Neil and Tina lived out that vow. What a beautiful love they demonstrated for each other and for all those who encountered their lives! Rarely do younger couples encounter the challenge of caring for a physically or mentally ill husband or wife. Much more often the challenge comes at a much older age. However, many couples never face such a challenge even if they live long lives.
Does it make any difference whether or not you live together or if you marry? I believe it does, and that standing before others; and before God, reciting vows of faithfulness will hold many couples together for their entire lives. It does make a difference when couples put Christ first in their lives (Matthew 6:33), and demonstrate His love toward each other. It makes a difference now, and eternally!