Love's Lasting Call

  • July 5, 2011
  • #7612

Joni shares 3 things Ken has in focus to keep their marriage on track.

Boy, did Ken and I have fun on our wedding anniversary this past weekend.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and after 29 years of marriage with this wheelchair in the middle, that’s saying something… that Ken and I can have such fun! I mean, can we really enjoy our marriage with so many demands from my disability? My quadriplegia? Well, you know what, we can, and I’m convinced it’s because Ken keeps three things in focus all the time: First, Ken and I remember that the enemy is not my disability (or even each other when we disagree on things)! The enemy is Satan. I'm constantly aware that Ken and I are in a spiritual battle. The devil already hates Christian marriage, and if a wife or a husband has a disability, the devil obviously feels he’s got the edge. But he’s wrong! Second Corinthians 12:9 assures my husband and me that God's power has the edge especially when we feel overwhelmed, when we’re weak. And it’s weak and needy people who are more aware of how much they need Jesus. 

The second thing: Ken keeps in focus is taking lots of breaks. At least twice a week, Ken is out there exercising – and every night it’s push-ups. Sometimes it’s the treadmill at the gym – he says that exercise really gets the endorphins flowing, clears the head, and helps him keep disciplined. Even a walk around the block brightens his spirits. And I can tell – believe me, I can tell – if my husband slacks off from the routine. He just gets “down,” like he has no energy. But if this man is going to help lift me in and out of my wheelchair, he knows that exercising sure does help. 

The third thing: Ken stays focused on is his friends. Throughout our marriage, I have always been supportive of his friendships with a couple of key Christian men who hold him accountable. One guy lives in Oregon, and they pray and study Christian books together over the phone. Another friend, Jan, lives nearby and he’s always inviting Ken to lunch, or playing card games, or sometimes it’s something really special, like a day trip out to the high desert for an afternoon in the fields with his friend’s bird dogs. Always, Ken tells me that he and Jan keep Christ in their conversations, for Jan and Ken know that the King (as they call the Lord) is the key to genuinely close friendships between men.

Oh, and one more thing. My husband has learned the secret of “praying without ceasing.” Caregiving can push anyone into some pretty tight and uncomfortable places. And that should be the signal to pray. Whenever nerves are frazzled or we’re ready to throw in the towel, one of us – either Ken or me -- will invariably say, “Okay, wait, stop everything. We both know we’re in trouble here. Please can we just stop and pray.” And when we do before long our spirits feel brighter; the air seems clearer and the atmosphere lighter. The burden has lifted and whatever it was harassing us just doesn’t feel as important. 

Caring for someone just like Ken takes care of me reflects the heart of Jesus Himself who said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” For no greater love does a man have for another, than when he lays his life down for his or her spouse. And that’s what my husband does every day with me in this wheelchair. I want you to see it for yourself because I’ve posted a really great video on my radio page – so after this, would you join me over at joniandfriends.org and take a look at this interview with Ken. Get to know him at joniandfriends.org.

© Joni and Friends

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