To have and to hold from this day forward

by | Apr 24, 2023 | Faith | 13 comments |

“I Carole, take you Keith, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, I promise to love and cherish you.” That was almost seventeen years ago.

“To Have and To Hold” refers to more than the physical between husband and wife. “To have” is to receive without reservation the gift of the other. It’s not ownership, but a promise.

To have and to hold for better or worse

We had a lot of “better or worse” behind us when we met in our fifties. The better brought us the blessings of children, interesting jobs, and wonderful friendships. And the worse brought the loss of friends and family, rejections, disruptions.

One of the worst disruptions we’d both experienced was divorce. To have and to hold didn’t hold up in our previous marriages. Thereafter, we did a lot of soul searching and praying, and we continue to do so—and reading. I highly recommend Dorothy Littell Greco as a resource for Christian marriage.

To have and to hold for richer or for poorer

I’m penny-wise; he’s pound-wise. I budget obsessively; he’s had a financial adviser for years. Paying ten cents less per gallon of gas tickles me; buying farm fresh and eating well are his delights.

We’ve never really been poor, but both of us have lived through tight times. Fifteen dollars to make it through the week. Lots of peanut butter sandwiches. Clipping coupons. Turning up the air conditioning; turning down the heat.

These days, thanks to many, many blessings and good planning, we are comfortable. We have more than enough to be generous with donations, gifts, and tips.

To have and to hold in sickness and in health

We’re in our seventies now, and thank God we have not experienced a serious illness or health crisis. Not yet. And we’re still hitting all points: physical, spiritual, intellectual, family, and community. 

But we’re not as physically strong, energetic, or steady on our feet as we used to be. So, we need to watch ourselves and protect one another. 

To love and cherish, from this day forward.

Linkup with Five Minute Friday:


  1. Barbara

    May you continue to have the grace to hold covenant and reap its blessings throughout your remaining years together. Visiting from FMF #26.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Barbara. And I loved your devotional post, FMF #26! -C.D.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Ellen.

  2. K.L. Hale

    First, Carole, you are beautiful, in and out. I love this post so much! I’m only soon to be 53 and I’ve lost many loves. They weren’t rooted in Christ. I made horrible decisions. I have two amazing sons, both serving in the Air Force, two wonderful bonus daughters, 3 tiny grands, parents who will soon celebrate 59 years, a great career in education….and now, Stage 4 cancer. But for God! I’m never alone, although it would be a lie to think I didn’t want to “succeed” in marriage. God has taken that shame and allowed me the fall on my faith in full reliance on HIM! The both of you are an inspiration to me! ❤️

    • Carole Duff

      Ah, God bless you, Karla. “Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward.” Søren Kierkegaard

      If we walk in the light, we live forward to His glory.


      • K.L. Hale

        Amen, Carole! 💛💛💛🙏🏻

  3. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, your blessed journey with Keith resembles mine with Colleen. God’s grace has shined upon us for nearly 16 years, and He continues to be the cornerstone of our marriage. Blessings to both of you.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for sharing our similar journeys, Richard. God bless you and Colleen! -C.D.

    • Carole Duff

      Yes indeed, and very, very thankful.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, and God bless! -C.D.


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