In Sickness AND In Health Till Death Do Us Part

by Yvonne Chase on February 4, 2019

Here’s the scenario; your wife of twenty-seven years now has Alzheimer’s and you are her primary caretaker. Within the past year, you met a woman who is now your girlfriend. She lives with you in your marital home helping you care for your wife. It’s your way of dealing with the grave diagnosis and the reality that your marriage as you knew it is over. Who does that? Dan Gasby, that’s who! He is married to the legendary B. Smith aka “The Black Martha Stewart” and this is their story. In sickness and in health till death do us part means something totally different to him. Watch the video below and we’ll talk after…


In Sickness AND In Health

My mind is blown by all of this, however, it’s especially blown when his girlfriend, Alexandra (Alex) says, “When I come here, she’s always excited to see me.” Really? She doesn’t even know what day of the week it is much less who you really are. This is selfish and disrespectful. In sickness and in health and till death do us part means you are in it till the end no matter what. Forsaking all others means forsaking all others. Taking up with a new lover should be the last thing on your mind when your spouse is facing the inevitable.

In defense of her relationship with Dan, Alex says, people are passing judgment on a situation they don’t understand and that Smith needs 24-hour care. She says, “What a lot of people don’t understand about Alzheimer’s [is that] B. now is really like a 4-year-old, like a toddler in an adult body and can’t take care of herself at all. She needs 24-hour care.”

Alzheimer’s is not a new disease and unfortunately, Dan is not the only person taking care of a spouse with this disease. The general public is fully aware of what happens to someone with Alzheimer’s. I will never forget the time I saw my 87-year-old uncle in the park at our family reunion about to eat dirt. That was my first time seeing Alzheimer’s up close and personal. I was mortified to see him reduced to a child.

sickness

When your spouse gets sick and it’s too much to bear, you don’t move in your new lover. No! You call on family, friends, and the community to assist because caretakers need care too. I get it. This strikes a chord in me and I take this personal because my brother got sick in his marriage. He went from a capable handsome hunk of a man to an incapable skeleton wrapped in skin. His marriage was over the day he got sick and couldn’t get better.

sickness
B. Smith and Dan Gasby

So believe me, when I tell you, I get it. I do! It’s devastating to see your spouse deteriorate right before your eyes. The person you married is no longer and your marriage will never be the same.

With that said, everything about Dan’s choice is wrong…everything! It dishonors the sanctity of marriage. There are some things in life you just don’t do. Bringing a new lover into your marriage because your spouse is sick and incapable is one of those things. You. Just. Don’t. Do. It!

In Sickness AND In Health

sickness

Here’s the takeaway for singles; if you are in a relationship and you’re thinking about marrying your person, you need to have this conversation today. Ask your person about this scenario. Have an in-depth discussion about what the traditional marital vows mean to each of you.

  • What does in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse and till death do us part mean?
  • What happens if one of you or your spouse can’t work for an extended period of time?
  • What’s the absolute worst case scenario imaginable and how do you think you would handle it?
  • Also, have a conversation about your health care proxy, power of attorney and who will make decisions for you when you can’t.

In the final word (Till Death Do Us Part) of his soon to be releassed book Ready or Knot? 12 Conversations Every Couple Needs to Have Before Marriage, author Scott Kedersha shares the story of his mom taking care of his step-dad who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years before he died. He says:

“The disease process became a huge challenge to my mom, as she had to make many sacrifices to care for him. She couldn’t travel or even leave the house without bringing my stepdad. He needed around the clock care and supervision. My mom cooked every meal, drove everywhere they went together and made sure he took his pills. She changed his diaper and cleaned him up after he made a mess on himself.

Even though she grew weary at times, she still sacrificially cared for and supported him. I watched as my mom loved my step-dad all the way until the day he died. My stepdad’s funeral was one long testimony to my mom’s love for him. That’s the kind of marriage I want to build with my wife and the lifelong love I want for our lives. Mom loved my stepdad selflessly and sacrificially to the end. It’s the best picture of love I have ever seen.

Amen to that! Marriage is designed by God to be a lifelong, covenant relationship between one man and one woman that gives a picture of Christ’s sacrificial loving relationship with his bride, the church.

Selfish Ambition

Something to think about…

What say you? Have you ever cared for a spouse with a terminal illness? How do you think you would handle this situation? What does in sickness and in health and till death do us part really mean?

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

1. Leave a comment below

2. Share this post if you like it

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele Morin February 4, 2019

I had never heard of B., and I’m thankful for this introduction–but deeply saddened by this attitude toward marriage. Our culture redefines everything now in order to justify our biases and our ease.
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Yvonne Chase February 4, 2019

@Michele,

I’m beyond deeply saddened by it all. Our culture needs a lot of help where marriage is concerned. We simply do not get it. Marriage is not a joke! If you can’t keep the vows or you don’t want to then don’t get married.
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Michele Morin February 8, 2019

Amen!
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Laurie February 4, 2019

I read about this situation online before I saw your post. I never cared for a spouse with a terminal illness, but I’m with you. “In sickness and in health” and “forsaking all others” means exactly that.
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Yvonne Chase February 4, 2019

@Laurie,

This grinds my gears in the worst way. I hate everything about this and I hate it for B. Smith. To have your husband’s new girlfriend in your marital home is wrong. There’s no way he would do this if she were in her right mind. No way!

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Lisa notes February 4, 2019

I watched my dad care for my mom when she had Alzheimer’s. If he had taken on a girlfriend, we would all have been crushed. 🙁 He was in it for better or for worse.

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Yvonne Chase February 4, 2019

@Lisa,

I was crushed when my brother’s wife took on a boyfriend and kept him hidden. My brother’s departure from this earth was horrific and heartbreaking because of her actions, not only for me but especially for my parents.

It is unconscionable for a spouse to even think about being with someone else while the person they pledged to love to the end is suffering. How can you?

Dan is not the victim here. His wife is yet somehow he’s made this about him and his needs. Disgusting!
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Trina Taylor February 4, 2019

I’m with you 100%. Taking on a new lover while your spouse, the person you spoke vows to, the person you pledged to love no matter what faces the inevitable is wrong.

Don’t know if you saw the ladies of The View discuss it but, like you, Sunny took it personal because her grandmothers husband abandoned her when she got Alzheimer’s and Sunny took her in and cared for her to the end.

In sickness and in health means, till death do us part means I’m all in with you whether you have the common cold or God forbid cancer. There’s no other way!

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Yvonne Chase February 5, 2019

@Trina,

I did see Sunny on The View and I felt her pain and her passion. I’m with you, whether it’s a cold or cancer, I will be by your side until the end believing God for healing and a miracle. That’s what in sickness and in health and till death do you part mean to me. No way could my mind ever be on taking on a new lover. When all is said and done, this is a condition of the heart. Our hearts need to be turned in the right direction and controlled by God and the power of the Holy Spirit to live this out.
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Anita Ojeda February 4, 2019

Yep, I’m trying to wrap my head around this scenario! It’s a far cry from the devotion of marriage that God intended. I’ve taken care of my husband through a life-threatening illness–it’s not easy and it takes work to reconnect afterwards. But boy, was it ever worth it!
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Yvonne Chase February 4, 2019

@Anita,

My head will never wrap around this nor do I want it to. I never want to get to a place where I ever think this is okay. Everything about it is disgusting. His focus should be on his wife; the woman he pledged to love not on himself and his loins. She’s the victim, not him. She’s the one who doesn’t know her name or the day of the week. How dare he make this about him? Blessings to you and your husband.
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Karen Friday February 5, 2019

Yvonne, this is so sad and twisted on so many levels. If you really love someone, like he claims about his wife, you lay down your desires and selfish ways, and you become self-less for that person.

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Yvonne Chase February 6, 2019

@Karen,

So sad and twisted indeed. You’re exactly right. Love, real love, deep love, authentic love leads you to lay down your desires and selfish ways and you become self-less for that person.

My brother and I talked often about marriage. One of the nuggets he imparted to me that’s at the forefront of my mind when I think about marriage is selflessness. Putting the needs of your spouse ahead of your own daily.

Asking your spouse daily; how can I make your day better? How can I serve you today? What do you need from me today? He said if both people do that in a marriage, they have a chance at making it till death do them part.
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Marva | SunSparkleShine February 6, 2019

Wow. This makes me so sad. Clearly it’s a difficult situation to be in to have to care for a spouse full time but there’s no way any one can convince me that this is what God had in mind for marriage.
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Yvonne Chase February 8, 2019

@Marva,

What I’ve observed from personal experience and the experiences of others is this; when a large life insurance policy is on the table or the person has a high net worth (B. Smith’s net worth is somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million) and houses and property are involved, decisions are made that are not favorable to the afflicted.
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~ linda @ Being Woven February 6, 2019

I was married 25 years and cared for my precious husband “until death do us part.” That was this past June, 2018. I cannot imagine the scenario above. My husband did not have Alzheimer’s for which I am grateful. (My mother had Dementia for over 15 years though so I know what it can do.) The doctors gave my husband 7-10 days when they sent him home with terminal cancer. God gifted us with 5 months. I am so grateful for every moment I had with him and have memories that are priceless, gifts from God each and every day. I did not know Jesus as my Lord until I met Kenneth. He introduced me to Him. Oh, my!! Life is new every morning. Caring through Christ, ~ linda
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Yvonne Chase February 8, 2019

@Linda,

So sorry for the loss of your husband Kenneth. Look at God! He gave you five more months to create priceless memories with your love. God is so faithful, isn’t he? I’m so glad Kenneth introduced you to Jesus Christ. He will be with you during your time of loss. Hugs and lots of love to you.
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Jenifer February 6, 2019

Oh this breaks my heart!! My grandfather had this horrible, life-robbing disease and it is so difficult to watch. While the person with the disease may not know or understand, the spouse does and should know better.
Thank you for sharing your link at Woman to Woman Ministries.
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Theresa Boedeker February 7, 2019

I agree, figure out what “in sickness and health” means to both of you. To me, it means remaining with my mate through it all. Care giving is hard. I cared for my step father as he was dying from cancer. But just because the other person is not there like before, that you replace them before they are gone.

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Yvonne Chase February 8, 2019

@Theresa,

Caregiving is hard, however, there is so much help out there that we don’t have to do it alone. Replacing a spouse before they are gone is unconscionable and cruel.
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Janine February 8, 2019

It’s bigamy, plain and simple.

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Regina Shea February 8, 2019

I absolutely couldn’t continue this video. I’m trying so hard not to judge this guy ( I can’t call him a man, sorry!) but I just can’t help but think he is a wimp! Yes it is very hard to be a caregiver to someone who has Alzheimer’s but there is help. There is respite care. There are counselor to talk to. But the One he should have talked to is the Lord. He is the one who can comfort him. Not some young whippersnapper who needs her own husband and not someone else’s.

I’m now going to the Lord with my anger so that when I go to bed tonight I’m still angry. As a matter of fact I will pray that Dan will end this adulterous relationship.

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Regina Shea February 9, 2019

I was thinking about this whole thing last night and I realize that it’s because we live in a fallen sin filled world. If Dan had Jesus in his life and fully leaned on Him he wouldn’t even think of looking at another woman. I was thinking he should be put in front of the church and have all the older church ladies, aka the “Mothers” in some churches and be given a stern talking to.

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Yvonne Chase February 9, 2019

@Regina,

I hate to write this, however, my brother’s wife professed to have Jesus in her life yet when my brother was desperately ill, she had a man on the side that she kept hidden. Dan’s girlfriend would be hidden too if B. were in her right mind.
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Roseann Hampton February 9, 2019

I totally agree with you that his behavior is incredibly wrong! Thanks for sharing with us at The Blogger’s Pit Stop!
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Jean February 10, 2019

Yvonne, I feel for both parties when one spouse has this horrible disease, but oh my. I know a man who is dealing with this right now. He is taking great care of his wife and wouldn’t dream of moving another woman into the house. I can state with certainty that my husband would not either. #TrafficJamWeekend
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Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle February 12, 2019

Yvonne, this is more than sad. I feel for anyone caring for someone with any grave illness, but that does not mean love goes out the door. The book you mentioned sounds so beautiful in contrast to this afront to the Lord.
We will feature your post in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop
Kathleen

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Yvonne Chase February 13, 2019

@Kathleen,

Caring for anyone with a grave illness is definitely not easy. This triggers me in so many ways and all I can do is shake my head at it all.

Thanks for featuring this post. I appreciate you.
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Kimberly February 13, 2019

I heard about this situation online and on the radio last week. This is the first time that I’m seeing the video footage. I don’t agree with Dan’s choice at all. My husband and I went through “in sickness and in health” when I had cancer many years ago. He was right by my side for every appointment, treatment, and hospital admittance. Of course, I was lucid and coherent unlike B. Smith, but that shouldn’t matter. I believe Dan and his girlfriend are taking advantage of her. And let’s not forget the millions of dollars that B. has earned.

This scenario further disturbs me because I have several friends who watched their wives deteriorate from cancer. It devastated each of them as they carried out the wishes of their spouses. Surely, their wives wanted them to go on with their lives and love again, but not in their home and in their presence. I agree with you that B. would not allow this if her illness affected a part of her that wasn’t her mind. Thank you for sharing on Traffic Jam Weekend. It is my fave feature for this week’s party going live on Thursday at 5:00 pm CST.
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Yvonne Chase February 13, 2019

@Kimberly,

I just can’t with any of this. Everything about this is gross to me. It’s wrong on every single level. And now I hear they’re getting a reality show on Bravo. SMH!! Disgusting!

So glad you had a loving husband by your side during your time of sickness and I’m glad that is all behind you.

I wish more couples understood that storms come in marriage to draw you closer together and create an unbreakable bond not tear you apart!
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Joan Davis February 14, 2019

Vows are just that…vows. When we say “in sickness and in health” we are to mean it. It saddens me when people take marriage lightly. Though we haven’t been through this sort of health issue in our marriage, we have gone through some challenging times. However, when pulling together with Christ at our center, we became stronger and closer than before our trials. We need to remember that this life is temporary and nothing compares to what is to come. There will be a time when there is no more crying… But while we are here, we need to live our lives as Christ would have us live them and honor those He has placed beside us.

Blessings, Joan
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