‘To have and to hold’ — Celebrating 54 years of marriage

54 years ago today my husband and I took our marriage vows.  Using the traditional language of the church we attended, we pledged ‘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, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”

We took these vows seriously — all those years ago and, we continue to live by these vows.

What keeps us together?

Last week, at one of my book club meetings, a friend asked for the secret that keeps us together. I thought for a minute and replied — lots of patience, love, appreciation, and kindness. I could have added agreement on basic values, honesty, respect, and compromise. It also helped that I married a man with good looks and good manners!

person touching flowers
To have and to hold — Celebrating 54 Years of Marriage — photo courtesy of Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

Yes, we had problems over the years but we worked through the problems and stuck it out through the tough times. Our is an interracial marriage which was uncommon in the 1960s.  We were naive about what this meant but it helped that we never shied away from difficult discussions about race.  We encountered racism and sometimes felt judged as an interracial couple but we did not let racial stereotypes nor external struggles enter 0ur home.  Sometimes we refused social invitations to protect each other or to avoid potential issues of racism.

As well as coming from different racial backgrounds, each of us brought a unique cultural heritage to the marriage.  Blending two cultures into our life together brought immeasurable riches.

We built lives together as we supported each other through graduate school at McGill where both of us received MSW degrees on the same day. After that, my husband completed a Doctorate in social work while I completed an MBA degree. Graduate school meant living with less as we lost income while studying plus paid for tuition, books and travel to universities far away.

Once established professionally we became parents — another mutually satisfying journey.  Our philosophy as parents was simple.  We wanted to raise a son who shared our values and who would be an enjoyable dinner companion as an adult.

We rented apartments, bought houses, moved across the country, then moved again to accommodate job changes. There were many adventures — travel to all provinces of Canada and many places in the US,  travels to Europe, and travel to exotic resorts in the Caribbean.  Sometimes the travel was a camping trip and sometimes it was a luxury hotel. Sadly, we lost many close family members and friends because of premature deaths.

Since we retired — me in 2010 and my husband in 2013, we’ve spent much more time together. We’ve down-sized, become grandparents, and moved to a smaller city. Since the pandemic, we spend almost all day, every day together. What a gift to have a loving companion to share this time of isolation.

Overall, it’s been a wonderful journey. Both of us consider ourselves to be blessed. Tonight, we’ll open a bottle of champagne to toast each other and toast to many more years of our relationship.


4 Replies to “‘To have and to hold’ — Celebrating 54 years of marriage”

  1. Happy Anniversary!

  2. Congratulations to your both! 54 years is a wonderful accomplishment – along with all your other accomplishments! Best wishes for continued happiness.

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