Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Till Death Do Us Part

The other day I received two books that beautifully picture the permanence and joys of marriage, even in the face of severe health difficulty. A Promise Kept was written by Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia International University and accounts for McQuilkin's extraordinary care for his wife, Muriel, who suffered with Alzheimer's disease from 1978 until her death in 2003. One of the most striking moments in the book was when McQuilkin was told that the reason his story impacted so many was that in times of sickness, women are generally true to their men, but men are rarely loyal to their wives. It was a moving, brief story of faithfulness over a lifetime experienced before the darkness came.

Historian Gene Genovese wrote the little book, Miss Betsey: A Memoir of Marriage. Here is a delightful, witty, honest, and grace-filled story of the marriage of two prominent historians of the American South. As Betsey suffered and died from multiple sclerosis (among other health issues), both Genoveses experienced strength in the Christian faith, each having converted to Catholicism late in life.

In the face of so many marriages which dissolve because one of the partners no longer feels invested or loving or committed, the recounting of a long love in the same direction--recountings given by men who are far more often the ones who abandon a marriage--is stirring. Even more is the basis for their faithfulness: both Genovese and McQuilkin found the strength that sustained their love in the gracious Gospel of Jesus. The one who bore the death that we deserved enables us to sustain marriage till death do us part.

2 comments:

fromthesouth said...

So many books, so little time! I've added the first one to my amazon cart for later, it looks great.

Sheena

Frances Alston said...

"A Promise Kept" is indeed an outstanding story of McQuilkin's dedication to his wife...and thus, to his marriage. I've not read the Genovese book, but will try to do so in the near future. Definitely sounds like a book worth reading.