Wednesday, January 09, 2008

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD


Emeline's first Christmas



WHAT’S IN A VOW?

To Have and to Hold

by

Sue Cameron

Most of us don’t often think of the vows we made on our wedding day. Yet, each married person made legally binding promises, to their beloved, before God and man.

But, what do words such as: to have and to hold, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death, really mean?

While we can’t force our spouse to follow through on their promises to us, we can evaluate ourselves. It is helpful to pause and consider the meaning of the words we spoke. To look closely at the promises we made. Let’s examine each phrase. We’ll pick it up, like a priceless treasure, and hold it up to the light to see what is revealed inside our own heart.

To begin, what does the promise ‘to have and to hold,’ mean? I think this is talking about an exclusive, mutually faithful and satisfying sexually relationship within marriage. This is the first vow we made. In essence we said, “I promise that you are the only one I’ll ever have in my bed. You are the only one I will ever hold in an intimate way.”

When we made this vow we promised to meet our spouse’s needs in this area. According to God’s design you are the only person in the world who can legitimately fulfill your spouse’s sexual needs. How are you doing?

Sexual intimacy is a vital part of a healthy marriage. It is meant to be a total sharing between a husband and wife, body, soul and spirit. This relationship is to be a place of safety and joy, purity and delight, honor and giving.

The Lord means for this relationship to be a source of strength and power to every married couple, yet, for some it is sorely ignored, abused or remains a point of on going frustration.

Struggles can often be traced to one or two sources. The first is that the frequency or desire for intimate contact is not equal between the husband and wife. This is a place to compromise. If your spouse would love to love you every day of the week and once a week seems ideal to you, why not split the difference and agree on every other day?

While most of us would never withhold nourishing, regular meals from our spouse, some may be in the habit of thinking they have a right to ration out sexual contact according to their own desire, ignoring the sexual appetite of their husband or wife. But part of our wedding promise to our spouse is that we will make sure they are satisfied sexually. Likewise, we must not make unreasonable demands on our spouse for intimacy but show consideration for their built-in level of desire.

Another challenge is that men and women are very different. This is delightful and it is frustrating. It’s helpful to take time to learn about how the Creator designed our bodies to function together sexually. Understand, honor and enjoy the differences between you and your spouse.

I’ve heard it said that in regards to sexual arousal, “Men are microwaves and women are crock pots.” This being true we need to be sure to work together toward sexual pleasure for both husband and wife. This takes time, but that’s okay, we have a lot of time. After all, each of us vowed to ‘have and to hold,’ for the rest of our lives.

I’d like to recommend two books on this topic. For husbands, “The Married Guy’s Guide to Great Sex”, by Clifford Penner. For wives, “Intimate Issues,” by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus.

(sorry if the fonts are different in size, I've tried to change them and can't)

videoHere is a movie of Ethne "wrapped up like baby Jesus, and her sister Emeline and mom, Aimee playing.

Easier with a friend.

Today someone named Kate sent a comment asking me to keep writing down my thoughts on marriage. If any of you are writers you know that nothing will get you going like a bit of encouragement or someone who actually wants to read your stuff! So, thank you, Kate (you sweetie) for asking, now I just have to hope that I write something worth reading.

It’s the new year and my husband, Craig, and I are doing new things together. Good things, needful things but things that are hard to do alone. Specifically, we are dieting, using the BowFlex, and reading the Bible out loud (he reads, I listen.) I know it’s only January 9 but so far we’re doing great! In the process, I’m discovering, again, that I simply enjoy being with my husband. He’s my friend. It’s good to remember that one reason we married our spouse was because we liked him, enjoy being with him and knew life with him would always be better than life without him.

That reminds me of the wedding vow, “For better or worse.” I’ll post some short articles I’ve written on that topic. Hope you enjoy them and thanks for reading. Blessings to all, Sue