“to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part”
Everybody knows these traditional words that are “repeated after me” at almost every wedding ceremony you have ever been too. But when marriage gets hard, and they all have their hard times, do these “repeat after me” words just become words or does a vow mean something more.
Next Monday Dan and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary! That’s a big one and a milestone for sure. We have lived these vows for 30 years. We have even renewed these vows to each other twice!
“To have and to hold from this day forward.”
We wouldn’t want it any other way. We are grateful for everyday that we get to share our lives with one another. Loving each other and growing older together. We have learned the art of having and holding over these 30 years and we do it well. Very well.
“For better or for worse.”
It just keeps getting better! We’ve had the for worse moments also. Lots of them! In 30 years of life together, experiencing all the ups and downs, raising a family, multiple moves, job changes, career changes and just being human, oh yes, we’ve seen the worst in each other. But looking back over 30 years the “better” moments completely swallow up the “worse” moments. And honestly we’ve learned that you get what you focus on. Focus on the good and more good will come. Focus on the negative and that will become all you see.
“For richer for poorer”
We’ve seen both richer days and poorer days. Our finances have always been a training ground God has used with us throughout our marriage. We’ve made lots of mistakes financially and sometimes we had to learn very hard lessons more than once. Money trouble is often one of those things that can take a marriage down. This one never broke us even when we were broke. God used it to teach us about true contentment in spite of our circumstances. Once we truly learned this lesson we realized a rich life has absolutely nothing to do with money. We have a rich life!
“In sickness and in health”
This is a biggie! Not only because I am currently struggling through breast cancer treatments but because we have dealt with chronic illness the majority of our marriage. Chronic pain and inflammation has plagued Dan for nearly 23 years. The “sickness” part of our lives has caused disabilities, job changes, career changes, financial troubles, and countless days of pain, grief, depression and crying out to God. Despite all this, we are grateful for our overall health and trust God that ultimately our lives are in the hands of the Great Physician.
“To love and to cherish”
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
The key to any great love is sacrifice. Once you get married, your focus should shift from your own happiness to the happiness of the person you are now joined to for life. It’s no longer about you! Here is where most marriages fail! You want a holy marriage? Devote yourself to your spouse the same way Jesus devoted himself to us all, unto the cross, laying down His life for us.
We have loved each other in the dearest most intimate ways and have grown together in ways we never dreamed possible. Sacrificing and laying down for one another becomes an honor when done in humility and with a pure heart. No ulterior motives. Loving each other is easy now and loving is only part of the vow. We also truly cherish one another. You can love someone without truly cherishing them. But why would you if you want a great marriage? Don’t leave out the cherishing! The cherishing is where all the richness and fullness comes from! The cherishing is where two people in love become best friends in every way. We consider ourselves blessed beyond measure in the loving and cherishing area of our vows to one another. This one is what swallows up the “worse” the “poorer” and the “sickness” parts. Focus on the loving and cherishing and the rest fades away.
“Till death do we part”
This one is written in stone. Nothing could separate us in this lifetime except this one. All our days are written in His book. Only God knows when death will be written into our story and how that will play out. So until that day comes we will cherish every day we have together and pray that our days will be long on this earth so we can love each other in ways that glorify our Maker and enjoy all the good gifts He has given us in each other, in our love, in our marriage and in our blessedly large family that all came from two kids falling madly in love!
To my best friend, I love you forever. I will always be your favorite and you will always be mine. Happy 30th babe. We got it right!
There is so much hope beyond all of this! Glory to God