We looked at the vow we make at our wedding ceremony in a previous post and today I would like to look at some of the promises we made when we were making that vow. Wedded husband, wedded wife. I thought about this and wondered why we say that, of course we are marrying them and this is a wedding, seems so obvious to me. I looked up the etymology of the word “wedded”. Here is what I found:
- Middle English wedden, from Old English weddian; akin to Middle High German wetten to pledge, Old English wedd pledge, Old High German wetti, Gothic wadi, Latin vad-, vas bail, security.
- Pledge seemed obvious, but Bail? Security? What is bail? Again I went to the dictionary and found out it is
to remove from danger or harm “the government bailed out the savings and loan industry”.
In marrying someone and pledging our vow to be their wedded husband or wedded wife we are also saying we are their bail, their safety net. I must admit there is much security in having someone going through life with you. When you are down, usually they are there to help you up, and vice versa. We are pledging our support, our becoming one with this other person and to be there for them no matter what happens.
Wedded, even the word itself says a lot about the strength of the vow we are making.
Next we see : to have and to hold from this day forward.
Have.I have a computer, I have a pen, I have a husband. But wait! It is more than that. Again, I consulted Mr. Webster:
a: to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement
b: to hold in one’s use, service, regard, or at one’s disposal
c: to hold, include, or contain as a part or whole
Simple word like have, and look what is involved! We are vowing that we are their possession and they are ours, we will be at their disposal and they at ours. YIKES! What are we getting ourselves into?
Wait! it gets better, we not only say “have” but we say “and to hold”
a: to have possession or ownership of or have at one’s disposal
b: to have as a privilege or position of responsibility
c: to have as a mark of distinction
There are some of the same ideas with have and hold, but one is reinforcing the other in the strength of the pledge.
I want to say something here, to have at ones possession or disposal does not allow for abuse, but rather a unity. We will look at more of the pledge and especially of love itself in a future post, but I do not want anyone to think that because your husband or wife made a pledge of marriage to you that you have the right to be bossy or abusive (physically or emotionally).
It is a marriage, a becoming one flesh as God put it, a unity. I am hoping that we can all strive for that unity, a God centered marriage and family.