To have and to hold from this day forward

We sat in the old church and watched the young couple hold hands. They had worked hard to get to their long-awaited day, their wedding day, and they looked so happy and peaceful.

We were honored to join in the young couple’s day. As we waited for the ceremony to start, I found myself staring occasionally at two or three older couples in the church. They talked quietly or held hands.


Later when the priest talked about how the three most important phrases to a married couple are: “I love you;” “I’m sorry;” and “I forgive you,” one of the couples shared a knowing glance. The wife, in her early 60s, whispered something under her breath, barely visible to those sitting around her, and the two quietly laughed. I imagined that that she joked that she had never heard her husband say he was sorry and he responded with “Who me?” or something else to that effect. In any event, they giggled like newly-weds.

Another couple, who I’ve met only once or twice over the years but know has faced some health challenges in recent months, barely said a word to each other and sat tightly-knotted together. They held so firm that it looked like it would take extreme force to pull them apart. In fact, they seemed to be holding the other up. Their smiles glistened in the bright lights that hung from the old church’s ceiling.

I found it reassuring to know that the couples still counted on each other and that they were as madly in love with each other as the day they had met. Could I have been imagining their depth of their love? Could I have misunderstood the knowing glances. Possibly, but it sure looked like the real thing.

As we left to enjoy the rest of the night, it was reassuring too to know that young and old love still exist and flourish. It made me think that we need both kinds: the kind that gets us excited and full of boundless energy and the long generational kind that’s ready to face everything and anything. The kind that’s true to you “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

I certainly hope the clichés is true that love — no matter its’ many different shapes or sizes — endures and conquers all. I’m counting on it.


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