Love in the Time of Scarlet Fever

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on January 27, 2014

Love in the Time of Scarlet Fever

My husband and my steroid share a name. That seems appropriate after this weekend. Lifesavers, both of them.

I used to think love was freshly picked Magnolias, playful puddle jumping, and holding hands in the rain. I thought it was sweet nothings and kisses behind the ear. I thought it was letters penned with passion and odes to love carved into sand. I thought it was skywriting, fireworks, and kisses that make cartoon hearts pop out of the besotted.

I still do. But, oh my goodness, how those things only scratch the surface.

Our entire little family of eight (save the baby) came down with Scarlet Fever this weekend. It was just about as unpleasant as you would imagine.

Misery, thy name is Scarlet Fever.

Thankfully, there were a couple of smiles mixed in, too. Like the moment my little Lucy stood up on the top of her bunk at bedtime and dramatically announced that it was a good thing she had medicine because without it she would have “DIED because Scarlet Fever is a VERY SERIOUS DISEASE.”

Thank you, Velveteen Rabbit.

So, smiles, yes, and also love. Love like this:

I spent most of Saturday lying in bed while Dan held down the fort. I won’t lie — I was pretty relieved that he’d thus far been spared so that I could sleep, soak, and wallow. He cooked and cleaned, doled out medicine and wiped feverish brows, and he ran errands. He insisted that I sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. He served without ceasing, complaining, or seeking recognition. (I almost never serve without ceasing, complaining, or seeking recognition.)

Later in the day we decided it was time to take the older boys to the ER. They left well before dinnertime and stumbled back in after bedtime. The boys gathered around me on the couch — while Dan made one last run to the pharmacy — and regaled me with tales of their ER adventure. At one point, their eyes got very big and they told me in hushed, serious tones that when the doctor had looked at their Daddy’s throat she had pronounced him the sickest of all.

The sickest of all.

That’s right. My “healthy” husband who had been keeping the family afloat while I slumbered was in truth, every bit as sick as the rest of us. He never said a word; never uttered a complaint; never even sat down to rest.

That, my friends, is love.

Sometimes it’s all that other sparkly stuff, as well, but when you get down deep into the heart of it, love is profound self-sacrifice offered with a sweet kiss, a wink of the eye, and a tender smile. (And I’m pretty sure those last three things are optional in a cherry on top kind of way.)

Someone once asked me (innocently) why husbands and wives praise their spouses publicly. Was it just to brag?

I don’t think so. At least not all the time.

There’s a lot of talk out there (some of it coming from yours truly) about how very hard marriage can be. That’s not a bad thing. I think that being honest about our struggles helps others to feel a little less alone. It’s good to know that the valleys are normal so that they don’t seem quite so cold and dark when you stumble upon them.

But that’s only one part of marriage.

A marriage on its best days will light up the sky far more brightly than any man-made fireworks. To see another selflessly (and often at great cost to themselves) pour themselves out for you — and to feel that irresistible urge to pour yourself out for them — will take your breath away and make you wonder at God’s love for undeserving you. At least it’s always had that effect on me.

People need to hear these happy, hopeful stories, too.

Marriage will stretch and challenge you in ways you never imagined — absolutely — but it will also bring you more joy than you once thought it was possible to possess.

The more challenging moments will not only pale in comparison to the happier ones but truly and in some mystical way, the good times will transform the bad times into things of beauty. Sometimes only in retrospect and in a “I’m grateful for the growth opportunity” kind of way, but still. The interplay between the two is really something.

I could go on and on, but I’m all drugged up and who knows where and when that would end, Plus, I should probably run and duck because when Dan sees that I wrote this, he will surely send the pillows flying my way. He’s not a huge fan of my sharing the sweet, selfless things he does with other people.

Plus, I have a VERY SERIOUS DISEASE to combat.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris January 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

I LOVE THIS! This is just so beautiful, Hallie. He’s wonderful…but you, for recognizing him and giving him praise? Amazing.

Always love visiting your home on the web…and please please get well soon.
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Karen Bell January 27, 2014 at 8:56 am

So beautiful. Sacrificial love.

I hope you all feel better very very soon.

Amelia @ One Catholic Mama January 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

Get well soon!! Scaret Fever???? Yikes!!

That is a beautiful example of sacrifical love.
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Beth (A Mom's Life) January 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

What a wonderful husband! And, honestly, I didn’t even know Scarlett Fever was still a thing?!

Prayers for relief for all of you.

Liz January 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

This post put tears in my eyes. I think mostly b/c my husband and yours are definitely cut from the same cloth. We are so blessed. Get well soon to you and your whole family!

Andrea January 27, 2014 at 10:31 am

Thanks, Hallie. I was very sick this weekend too, and also attended to by my caring husband. You put into words very nicely how loved I felt. I hope you and all your littles (and husband!) are feeling well soon!

Rachel @ Efficient Momma January 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

So beautiful! Thanks for sharing :-)
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Kat Crow January 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

I will pray for a speedy recovery for your whole family! Yes your little girl is right, it is a very serious disease. Praise God for men who sacrifice for their families and hopefully other men see that and want to do the same. Thank you for sharing!
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Sarah January 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

I love the holding hands in the rain kind of love but the serving even when it hurts kind of love is what makes me realize I am totally undeserving of my spouse. I hope you all feel better soon.
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Colleen Martin January 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm

What a keeper! We all had strep, and my niece got Scarlet Fever, which I guess is like strep’s cousin? I also didn’t know it was still around! And I personally love it when people praise their spouse…so much better than the spouse-complaining I hear a lot of.

Agnes @ Restless Until I Rest in Thee January 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

As always Hallie, what a wonderful and true reflection on love and marriage. You nailed it! I learn so much from your posts on marriage because you always give so many great personal examples. So tell your hubby not to be mad that you write about the good, selfless things he does, because other people learn from you sharing those experiences ;-) !!! And as always, you present it in a humorous – no wait – HILARIOUS – way!!! hahaha. Hope you tackle you VERY SERIOUS DISEASE asap!

God Bless!
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Angela Goudman January 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Actually, scarlet fever is indeed still around. I taught about it just this morning in the pediatric practical nursing class I teach.

Essentially, scarlet fever is a strep infection that causes a rash in addition to the throat infection. Although it’s still around, severe complications of it (such as rheumatic fever – inflammation of the heart valves) are less common due to the advent of antibiotics. I had scarlet fever when I was 6.

Elise @ in endless song January 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Oh dear, Hallie! I will be praying you all get better soon! And I’m with Colleen – I love hearing how wonderful people’s spouses are. :)
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Kendra January 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Even your diseases are old fashioned.

Feel better soon!
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Katie January 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

I hope you’re feeling better, soon.
My husband does things like this, too. You’re right, that’s love. Real love – laying one’s life down for your wife and children.

Beautiful post!
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anna lisa January 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Offering a prayer for your health and the health of your sweet family. This was simply beautiful. Thank you!
About four years ago we had a nasty bug. What was interesting is that half the kids tested positive for strep like the sick ones, but were almost completely asymptomatic. They were happy- go- lucky carriers of the disease, walking around like Typhoid Mary.
And yes–it always seems like the baby gets the lightest case, because they’re all juiced up on the bounty of Mama’s milk. :)

Germaine January 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm

What a great story of his love to remember! This is what people should be writing on the internet : ) I can’t wait for my someday (we’re not married yet :( ), because my mister man can be so selfless and Christlike, too.

Sarah January 28, 2014 at 2:59 am

Oh I’m swooning. :) And praying for all of you because… Ack! ALL of you?! I’m so glad Charlie escaped it but….groan. How miserable.
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Kayla January 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

“To see another selflessly (and often at great cost to themselves) pour themselves out for you — and to feel that irresistible urge to pour yourself out for them — will take your breath away and make you wonder at God’s love for undeserving you.”

That couldn’t be more perfect. My husband and I recently got married right out of college. The majority of our friends are still in that mindset of ‘marriage is hard’ and ‘ ‘most marriages fail’–especially if you get married at a younger age. I can speak for both of us when I say we try so hard to live out the truth for everyone. Sure there might be a difficult day here or there but the good days and feelings of complete love TOTALLY overshadow those days. My heart breaks when I see married (or even just dating) couples where that total self-giving love is not and won’t ever be a priority.

Thank you for sharing! I hope your family is feeling better!
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Mary January 28, 2014 at 5:52 pm

“No greater blessing can come to your married life than pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end. May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on. And if true love and the unselfish spirit of perfect sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears. The rest is in the hands of God.”

Sounds about right. :) Get better, dear woman!
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Lisa Schmidt January 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

Exquisitely written! “People need to hear these happy, hopeful stories, too.” Amen! Thank you for sharing this one. I’m thinking about that ‘love on your husband’ challenge you created a couple of years back, and how I need to do something again like that very soon…

Hope you are all on the mend from this VERY SERIOUS DISEASE!

Erika Marie @ Simplemama February 15, 2014 at 1:29 am

Beautiful! I hope you don’t mind if I share this in the “Marriage” Food for Thought Round-Up this weekend.
You have a great husband and I thank you for taking time to highlight not only the joys and beauty of marriage but also how even the “worse” times can be a source of love and joy as well.
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