A lot of people talk about love and marriage in terms of emotional connections, but very few think about what it truly means to commit to another person for life. The idea of being with someone “until death do us part” signifies forever. Not to be morbid, but there’s a lot of time, experiences and hurdles that fill in the spaces between “I do” and your eventual passing or that of your significant other. Ultimately, it’s those years that will test and define your union.

I had the pleasure of meeting an older gentleman recently who’s been married for quite some time. As a newlywed, I always make it a point to seek insight into the relationships of others who’ve had more experiences than myself. I’ve found it helps me in better understanding my own journey to forever, and provides me opportunities to learn from the mistakes of others.

As this man shared his love story with me, I discovered that while his adult children have long since left the nest, his home is far from empty. Due to an unfortunate chain of events, he and his wife are legal guardians to two of their adolescent granddaughters. Both of whom have behavioral and developmental issues. On top of that, his spouse is also suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Needless to say, these are not circumstances he ever expected or even imagined facing when making the decision to walk down the aisle. But who really thinks about the worse case scenario(s) when preparing to embark on his/her happily ever after? Still, he’s managed to take it all in stride, accepting life’s constant curveballs and remembering the solemn vow he made so many years ago to be a faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.

One of my biggest fears is to have a child with a birth defect or any kind of developmental issues. While I’d love him or her just the same, my wish (as is the case for most) is for a healthy child that can hopefully take care of my wife and I in our old age, not the other way around.

Hearing this man’s story and how he provides for his family through what must be incredible difficulties has become an inspiration. I can only imagine the strength and personal conviction and sacrifice it takes to pull through each day and face his adversities with a smile on his face.

I can honestly say I’m not sure if I could do the same if the tables were turned, but I’d like to believe that the foundation my wife and I are continuing to build would provide me with that necessary mental fortitude. That’s what real love can do. It makes the impossible seem possible, and gives you the innate desire to put the needs of your family before your own. Or at least until death do you part.

Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.