10 October 2021

3.2 MINS

Cherish is a seven letter word and full of meaning. My first thought of the word is the way the NRL Grand Final winning team held onto the winners’ trophy, a trophy highly treasured by one and all.

Perhaps the real meaning of the word cherish happened at the same event when Brian To’o put love into action. puts us in the picture.

Moments after the final siren, To’o found his partner Moesha Crichton-Ropati in the crowd of 39,000 and proposed with some blood still seeping from a gash in his eyebrow.

The 23-year-old’s girlfriend broke down in tears, with the cameras capturing the beautiful moment they embraced and kissed.


To’o was inevitably mobbed by his teammates after she said yes.

It was later revealed that To’o had asked Crichton-Ropati’s parents for their permission to pop the question several months earlier…

The Panthers weapon, who was named on the wing in the Dally M team of the year, led the competition in runs, metres gained and post-contact metres this season…

To’o continued: “I want to thank my beautiful partner for saying, ‘Yes’ and the boys for getting the win and so lucky to be here.

He later explained: “Win or lose, I was still going to propose.

“I was actually planning (to do it) in Origin but obviously due to Covid and stuff, that didn’t happen.”

The delight on Brian’s fiancée’s face showed just how much women love to be cherished.

Over four decades ago I said these words to my wife:

“I, _______ take you, ________ to be my wedded wife, 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 as long as we both shall live.”

Having said that, I have a horrible feeling that I haven’t kept my end of the bargain. The challenge came afresh to me when I read Rod Lampard’s brilliant article A Widow’s Not So Simple Marriage Advice.

He tells the story of his Scottish boss at the bookshop where he worked his first job. Rod filled me in personally with a bit more detail.

“She was 80 years of age, a tough woman but very fair. One day in my wild youth I ‘borrowed’ $50 from the till. Usually those who are caught doing such things are sacked on the spot. She gave me a second chance and it paid off. Within a couple of years, I was managing the whole store and then several branches.”

Here is some more from his story:

The best marriage advice I have ever received came from an 80-year-old, Scottish widow.

Sitting beside her a few weeks before my wedding she told me, “The only marriage advice I’ll give you is this: cherish.”

The word didn’t come with any commentary, and I would spend the next 23 years unpacking its meaning and value.

My wife and I married young. We even recited vows that included the words, “to love, and to cherish.”

Yet, cherish wasn’t mentioned a whole lot in our pre-marital counselling.

I don’t even remember it being part of ‘Homes of Honour’ the Gary Smalley marital course we shared with people twice, sometimes three times our age.

At the time I had no idea what it meant and found her advice somewhat too simple.

It contradicted every “merry marriage” method, “how to” and “Your best life for now” list we were being handed.

Not realising the depth, breadth and calibre of the word, to her I must have looked puzzled, a little confused, maybe even indifferent.

Although I didn’t miss her intentions, nor the heavy-hearted weight of her wisdom born from suffering, I missed the point completely.

The verb cherish is enigmatic. It is hard to pin down, even harder to practice.

It is ethereal, other-worldly and hard to grasp.

The word is defined by Mirriam-Webster as to ‘hold dear.’ To ‘keep and cultivate with care and affection.’

They add, it connotes ‘to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely.’

The Hebrew meaning goes further.

Cherish is a ‘thing of value; something of delight.’ It is connected to the old Greek word ‘thesauros’, meaning ‘treasure; something precious.’

Dig down far enough and cherish connects to the word truth, “aletheia” in old Greek.

In another context it extends out towards the verb phrases ‘storing up,’ and ‘keeping safe.’

In this light, cherish is a discipline. It’s not simple advice.

It has to be learned. To cherish someone other than ourselves, things or makeshift gods, takes effort.


It was actually the word ‘effort’ that got to me. I did not see that word in the marriage vows. Maybe I will have to get down on one knee like Brian To’o, and learn some old fashioned cherishment.

Just think, maybe you and I can both learn together.

Yours for more love

Warwick Marsh


Originally published on Dads4Kids. Image by Mark Decile Unsplash.

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