I often see the same senior couple walking when I exercise. What strikes me about them is that they are always holding hands. Not just a loose touch, but a firm grip on one another. I am captivated and curious as to why.
This particular morning was no different. There they were, walking without words, yet holding one another. As my dog and I trailed at a distance on the same familiar path, I watched them and wondered, Why the tight grasp?
I’ve thought all along that what makes this couple hold each other’s hands so tightly was their lifelong love for each other. Hopefully so, but there is something more so subtle that if I blinked I would’ve missed it.
It isn’t only because they want to – they need to.
As they walked, each took their turn ever-so-slightly losing their balance. Time and again, I watched as one of them began to lose their footing, the other one pulled them into their side for support through the strong grasp of their hand.
It was beautiful.
This husband and wife know a truth many marriages never learn. They not only want each other, they need each other. They not only need each other, they want each other.
Too often, marriages side with one or the other: I want you, but I don’t need you. Or, I need you, but I don’t want you. In either case, the relationship is doomed to stand the valleys and victories of life.
If a marriage is based solely on wanting each other, what happens when those wants change as time passes and we change with it?
Or, what if we need each other without wanting each other? This is more of a business partnership than a marriage. People use each other up until there is nothing left.
What I saw this morning was the idea that it’s both – want and need. Not out of selfish gain, but of selfless giving. Their actions gave new meaning to the vow, To have and to hold from this day forth…
That’s a vow, and a hand, worth holding on to.