For Luke Smallbone, his wedding vows didn’t mean any less after discovering his wife had developed an addiction to prescription drugs. And now, the For King & Country singer opens up about what it’s truly like loving someone in sickness and in health.
On our wedding day, we think we know what it means to say, "For better or for worse, in sickness and in health." But we really don't know where life will lead us in our marriage or what struggles and obstacles may come our way.
On his wedding day, Luke Smallbone professed his vows to Courtney Smallbone. But years later, addiction put those vows to the test.
Loving Someone With An Addiction
Courtney was seven months pregnant with their second child. Both Luke and Courtney were overjoyed to be expecting. The only downside to her pregnancy was severe nausea. Because the morning sickness had become so debilitating, Luke convinced her to see the doctor.
"She was dealing with morning sickness, so she went to the doctor and they gave her some anti-nausea pills," Luke recalls.
Doctors then prescribed Courtney an anti-nausea medication which relieved her symptoms.
"They would work for a while, but then they would stop working and the doctors told her to take more. The doctors were all good with it, but before long I could see some behavioral changes," he said.
But Courtney also realized when she took the medication, it made her feel an overwhelming sense of calm. The more she took, the happier and calmer she felt. All the while, Luke had no idea she had begun to abuse her medication.
Guilt and shame began to eat Courtney alive. She knew she needed to get off the medication so she tried to do it alone and in secret. That's when she knew was in trouble as she began having severe withdrawal symptoms. In an act of courage, Courtney called Luke. At the time, he was on tour with his band For King & Country.
“One night, we had a show in Austin, Texas, and she was back home in Nashville. She called me and said, ‘I need you to come home. I can't stop taking these pills.' She's never asked me to come home off the road like that before."
Luke Smallbone Honors His Wedding Vows
When Luke got home, he realized Courtney had a serious problem as he held her body through the shaking from the withdrawal.
Wanting her to get the help she needed, he took her to a treatment center when she was seven months pregnant. As Courtney worked through detox and stayed in treatment, Luke learned what it really meant to love someone in sickness and in health. Each day he would drive Courtney to her outpatient therapy sessions which then turned into several years of counseling for the couple.
Luke Smallbone realized during this journey together that wedding vows don't mean less just because you're a few years into marriage.
"It's always just as important as the first time you say it as making a commitment to live out those vows ten years down the road or thirty years down the road, fifty or sixty whatever it might be. That vow remains a vow," he said.
He realized how vital and precious it is to give the gift of grace, especially in addiction, especially when we don't feel like the other person deserves grace. "That's when grace becomes real," Luke reflected.
It is God's amazing grace that enabled Luke to love his wife through her addiction and recovery. What a blessing it is to listen to his story. What a powerful testimony!
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her," Ephesians 5:25
WATCH: Luke Smallbone On Wedding Vows And Loving Someone With An Addiction
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