When you're twenty-somethings in love, that phrase from the wedding vows doesn't mean much. You're young, reasonably healthy, and can't imagine a time when either of you won't be well.
Time passes. Age creeps up on you. It's always the little things at the start. A little extra weight. Blood pressure is a tad high. Cholesterol numbers are creeping up. Joints get a bit creaky. It's not too bad if both of you are slowing down together.
But what if one of you is perfectly healthy while the other is not? Sometimes the roll of the dice just isn't fair. An accident, a stroke or heart attack, even a terminal illness can change the face of your relationship in an instant.
Then those vows spoken with such hope and joy suddenly take on new meaning. Real meaning. In this day of disposable marriage, it takes deep meaningful commitment to hang in there in sickness or health. The more dependent one spouse is on the other, the more commitment it requires.
My daughter asked me once how she would know if she was in love. I told her to imagine that strong young man flat on his back, dependent on her for everything in his life. And then... then decide if she still wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. If she still wanted to be with him more than any other man, if the thought of living without him even disabled was unbearable, then he was probably the one for her.
It's kind of funny. She's with a man now. When I questioned her choice she reminded me of that conversation and said, "He's the one."