Weddings

The Honest, Not-At-All-Romantic Wedding Vows Every Couple Should Make

“Sure, I’ll marry you but it’s with the full knowledge that you’ve got *major* flaws.”

The best wedding vows are optimistic and absurdly romantic, right?

Not exactly, says philosopher Alain de Botton. In a new video on his The School of Life YouTube channel, the British author suggests that couples would set themselves up for greater marital success if they stuck to more honest, pragmatic vows ― for instance, “Sure, I’ll marry you but it’s with the full knowledge that you’ve got *major* flaws.” He says:

“We should good-naturedly admit that the person we’re marrying is very far from perfect and articulate all the ways in which they will prove irritating, difficult, sometimes irrational and oftentimes, unable to sympathize or understand us. However, it’s vital that we interpret these flaws as unavoidable; no one else would be better and we are as bad. We are simple a very flawed species. We must conclusively kill the idea that things would be ideal with any other creature on the planet.”

Not exactly the stuff of rom-coms but if you’ve read de Botton’s viral New York Times piece titled, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person,” you know the Brit considers sweeping, overly romantic views of love deeply problematic.

As he sums it up in the video, “the only root to a tolerable marriage is to accepting that there can only ever be a ‘good-enough marriage.’”

Watch the video for more. (And if you’re looking for more realist wedding vow inspiration, read the vows divorce attorneys think more couple should commit to on the big day.)