25 Nov To Have And To Hold

When babies and toddlers, and even younger kids are unsure, tired, scared, hurt, upset, even scared, they will say to those they trust, “Hold me,” or as my daughter use to say to me, “Hold you.”


When a little one says, “Hold me,” they don’t care what time it is, where it is or who’s watching—they just want to be held.


Now that my kids are older, I miss the simplicity of having moments when I can comfort them in one moment by simply picking them up and holding them.

There seems to be something hardwired into our relational DNA to want to be held when we are young. But we grow out of it . . . or do we?


At the beginning of most of our wedding vows, most of us promised “to have and to hold.” While that vow seems to be a small one to get the ball rolling for the biggie vows, I think it is a biggie itself.


In those moments when our spouse is unsure, tired, hurt, upset or even scared, they need us to hold them. Hold them physically? Sometimes yes. Hold them by being *slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry? Always yes. But like a child, our spouse will only come to us to be held, if they trust us; if they have the experience that we are safe . . . no matter what.


Our vow to have and to hold is contingent on nothing. It is no matter what I will have and hold you. It’s beautiful when you see it in other marriages and even more beautiful when you experience in your own.

  • Your spouse loses a loved one, and they have that fall apart moment. All you do is hold them and let them cry. No words, no fixing it. Just to have and to hold.
  • Your spouse is furious with people from work. They come through the door telling the world about it, telling no one about it. You sit near the rant and you listen. They know you are listening. No “my day was tougher than yours.” Just to have and to hold.
  • Your spouse looks in the mirror and they are frustrated with what they see. Their body is different from your wedding day, but is almost as familiar as your own. That makes her beautiful. That makes him handsome. And you tell them so. No mush. No lie. Just to have and to hold.

When an otherwise independent toddler gets hurt, they seek out and find their parent in a split second. When your spouse needs to be held, is it you that they automatically look for?


If so, beautiful. If not, don’t beat yourself up. Marriage can be tough and we can get tougher.


It’s not too late. Try a hold even when they may not “need” one. Be kind. Be gentle. Be patience. Be solid. Be safe. Be the one they want to have and to hold.

(*James 1:19)

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