When I got married in 2012, my wife and I wrote our own vows. It is the vogue thing to do these days. What I soon learned is that the writing of one's vows can be intimidating and extremely personal. However, the beauty of having a formal wedding is often tied to the very vows that are exchanged between the couple. Especially, when those vows are personally written by the couple. The vows express a lot about the relationship, sometimes reflecting from the beginning of the relationship to what they hope for in the future. Unlike traditional scripted vows, personally written vows provide a look into the relationship, and each person's perspective on marriage.
As we enter into the traditional summer wedding season in the United States, I wanted to share the vows that I wrote and think about how I can continue to remember those words in my everyday life. The vows that I wrote projected the love that I felt and continue to have for my wife. They captured a desire to make her as special each day as she was on our wedding day. While I can't say that this happens everyday in the way that I would have dreamed, it is a constant reminder of where I want to be and how I want to feel in our marriage. This is what I said:
"On this day, in the presence of God with friends and family as our witnesses, I take thee to have and to hold, to honor and to cherish, to argue (amicably) and to love, to maintain and to grow our relationship through its ups and downs. My heart shall seek no other. I give myself to you with the most holy of intentions. The love that I feel this day shall always remain. Nothing shall come between us; be it any person, place or thing. I promise to be your friend and family, lover and love, your biggest fan and truest confidant, and both a leader and a follower with the mindset to know the difference. I give unto you all that is me, not for all of you, but simply for you to have all of me. I promise to never stop learning about you and giving you my all. I will find interest in most of your interests, as well as pain in your pain. I will give to you comfort, happiness, empathy, sympathy, honor, pleasure, pride, peace and most of all unending undeniable enduring love. At this moment, I am yours forever more. I am your husband, today and always until death do us part."
As romantic as the words can be, the real romance starts when you live out the words that you have so profoundly announced. It is easy to allow your day-to-day obligations to interfere with your relationship, but the key is remembering and living out those words that set the stage for your marriage. What you have set out to do in writing your vows is to establish a baseline and foundation for the person that you "wish" to be for your husband or wife. The goal is not to simply say these words, on this day, but to live these words as much as possible. While you will have your ups and downs, your vows can bring you back to the essence of what you want in your marriage.
The vows that I wrote are indicative of the realities that I have experienced in being married. There are ups and downs, differences and challenges, but there's also a deeply seeded love. A love that continues to grow and develop due to our understanding of what those vows meant not just on that day, but as we go forward each day of our lives together. I love being married to my wife, and when I read my vows I am reminded of the romance that we shared on that day.
I'm also informed of the romance that we can have in the future for as long as we live out these words. As vows are exchanged this summer, I hope that whatever words have been exchanged came from the heart and they should not be just a representation of the past, but those words should be a catalyst for always keeping your love alive. Don't just exchange your vows, but vow to remember and live them.