Odd how these words, to have and to hold, seem of little consequence said during a marriage ceremony become the reason for cataclysmic divides. What goes wrong? Actually, the problem is, by most standards, generally with what goes right.
Truth is most couples getting married don’t have much. Their pool of material possessions satisfactorily fit loosely into a small apartment. Budget constraints give cause for simple meals and beverages to be shared together at home or with other couples with similar circumstances.
After years, however, the things they have can easily have their time. Like the responsible Dad who after assembling his preschoolers’ swing set, with a number of leftover and unaccounted for parts, reads again the instructions and learns that each of the hundreds of bolts is supposed to be checked for secure fitting EVERY MONTH. He learns that while he thought that he had a swing set, the swing set has him.
When couples marry, they are overwhelmingly holding each other. They rush to get home, so they can be together.
They come to see me for counseling when they have been holding grudges, having thoughts of escaping or are violating the bonds they committed to keeping.
How then may couples avoid these traps and continue to blissfully have and hold each other?
1. Avail every opportunity to spend time together
Whenever you have the opportunity to do so, sit or stand next to or near each other. That means, in public, though you are socializing, it is clear that you are together.
2. Think through together before you make a purchase
Make purchases pass the test of whether this thing or that thing will bring you together or separate you. Will you be parted by working extra hours or taking on another job to pay for this thing? Remember things are just that, things-not suitable substitutes for the primacy of your relationship. You might decide not to hold and not to have some things.
3. Talk about whatever volunteer work that you may decide to do
Invitations to be community stewards abound, choose projects that are compatible with your goals and allow you to work together.
4. Speak respectfully and affectionately to and about your spouse.
Remember that your success as a couple is enticing, and it is critical that you make it obvious to others that you are into having and holding your own spouse. Always speak respectfully and affectionately to and about your spouse.
5. Plan couples only outings
Whether you take fewer long vacations or more frequent vacations, fewer days at a time, make sure that you plan in, for the two of you, couples only excursions.
Your marriage is your greatest asset. Unlike other valuables, however, your marriage is not kept in a safe-deposit box or insured. The only protection that your marriage has is you keeping your promise to have and to hold each other.