Special note; Original blog was technologically compromised. This copy is the second edition.
A box of candy, a card, roses, dinner and a movie all are ways valentine day is sometimes celebrated. It is the one holiday where two people in a world to themselves can enjoy it to its fullest.
June and I in an effort to “get away” traveled to east Tennessee to the Whitestone Country Inn. The setting in the mountains surrounding by a large lake where you get pampered to the utmost was beyond our greatest expectations. There tucked in a mountainous trail was the perfect valentine gift. Strategically placed in small mail boxes throughout the trail were gentle reminders of ‘love.” Designed for couples, each box contained a review of love and marriage and sort of a report card for each other. In this writing I want to take this concept and make this blog interactive for married couples and a way to celebrate valentine day. Please have your spouse participate jointly in the reading.
When I consented to the vows of marriage, I gave very little thought to the true meaning of what I was saying, It is retrospect I want to take each line of the vow and expand on it what I call “cokerism.” I hasten to add these are my perceptions after an accumulation of 53 years of marriage. You might find yourself in some of my thoughts. Let’s begin with the actual marriage vow.
to be my (wife(husband)
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.
“I take you” are very crucial in a successful marriage. Just because you take the marriage vow and become “one” doesn’t mean you give up your identity, your personality, or your preferences. I quickly learned it does not mean you will be in agreement all the time. I also learned not to try and make my wife just like me. The differences quickly rise to the front. I heard one husband say “If I knew she squeezed from the middle of the toothpaste I would not have married her” Obviously he was saying this in jest. However the first order of business is to respect, adjust and compliment those differences in personality, favorites, food types, clothing styles musical preferences and the list goes on.
To be my Wife/Husband…to have and to hold from this day forward……I quickly found out wife/husband is not the same as girlfriend/boyfriend. You can’t decide “she’s getting on my nerves, so I am going to tell her it’s time for her to go home.” Neither can the wife say “he snores like a steam engine, so I am getting rid of him. No, her home is your home. His life is now a part of your life and vice-versa. This relationship is not on a trial basis. It is for life “from this day forward.” Your marriage is to be a loving one and a lasting one. Both the husband and the wife will demonstrate respect and honor her/him and treat each other in a way they feel loved.
For better, For Worse. When you first are married and are honeymooners, it may be easy to think “our marriage is always going to be amazingly good. It will mainly be“for better” However you quickly learn there will be some “for worse” times. Some of the ‘for better” times are: that physical intimacy and getting to know one another on the honeymoon, the birth of a child, the promotion at work, vacations, celebrations just to name a few. The “for worse” times include: the first argument, sickness or hospitalization, a financial loss, death of family members. These ‘for better and for worst times” happen to all of us. How you celebrate the “better times” and deal with the “worse” times together is critical to your happiness. I like to say each partner is a cheerleader for the spouse. Communication is the breakfast of a happy marriage.
For richer, For poorer. Have you heard the couple say “we are going to live off of love and live happily ever after?” Some couples experience the ‘for poorer aspect’ of marriage and this is particular the case when couples marry at an early age. There are always those unforeseen expenses that challenge you financially. Either way, when you took the marriage vow, the promise included you ‘sticking together’ in times of poverty and plenty. Whatever, do not let earning money take priority over spending time together.
In Sickness and in Health. Good health is something a lot of us take for granted. When we have good health we can work hard, play hard and make plans for the future. There may come a time when one spouse will experience ill health in one form or another. In addition to the day to day illness it could be serious. A life-changing or traumatic accident which could render your spouse incapable of self-care for an extended period of time. In these situations spend time praying for your spouse. Be there during doctor visits, hospitalizations. Have a listening ear. Offer support with meals, chores, grocery shopping. Be the example of love, respect and care.
To Love and to Cherish…. There have been many misconceptions about what constitutes ‘true love.’ If you have been married for any length of time, you realize that true love requires an effort on your part. The word ‘cherish’ by its very meaning– care for tenderly, to nurture is the foundation for a good marriage. Yes, the “Golden Rule” applies to couples also. If you care for each other in a gentle, tender manner, and nurture one another, you will have no problem loving and being loved.
Til Death do us Part. In an ideal world, a happily married couple would live a long and happy life together. This vow places permanency on the marriage, it is not a trial but a life time commitment. During my generation if something was broke we fixed it. Today’s culture when something is broke it is thrown away. Unfortunately that same attitude crosses over to marriages. No, you promise to fix it if it becomes broken. If you mean what you said that commitment is not optional.
The Valentine Challenge. In a quiet place you and your spouse get together. It could be in a restaurant, around the kitchen table, anywhere the two of you can face each other and look into each others eyes and repeat the vows listed at the beginning of this blog.
Happy Valentine’s Day