I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage vows and the reality of marriage. What better day to “discuss” it than Valentine’s Day!
I thought I’d share my perspective on marriage and wedding vows and real life. I chose the traditional vows that we so easily parrot during our wedding ceremony, but rarely contemplate the gravity of until later in marriage, sometimes too late. (perhaps this is why people write their own vows, they put more thought into them…but when you are 24….it’s hard to come up with something so incredibly meaningful. at least it was for us. maybe you are different. good for you. <clap, clap> we went with the “why re-invent the wheel” attitude). Either way, there are the vows and then there is life AFTER the vows.
- I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my constant friend FRIEND. We are to be each other’s friend. Sharing in daily comings and goings, joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams, laughing together and holding each other up on the down days. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy girl’s night out or boy’s golf day, just make sure you are each other’s friend in the process. It’s a two way street it takes effort otherwise you’ll end up roommates in no time flat. Because guess what? You WILL grow apart. You WILL have different interests and opinions. And that’s OK. Look at Mary Matalin and James Carville for crying out loud, they mix politics and marriage. Loudly. And they make it work. Respect each other’s opinions and differences and that friendship will blossom. And it is GOOD.
- my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. FAITHFUL. LOVE. Unless you are a polygamist (which by the way is against the law), when you took the step to be married to ONE person, it doesn’t mean feel free to shop around at work, the gym, the grocery store, etc. Again, like the friendship vow, it’s a two way street. Communicate, cultivate and protect that love, don’t put yourself in situations that may tempt your faithfulness and if you aren’t sure you can stay faithful then don’t take the walk down the aisle. Better some disappointed parents and friends than a miserable marriage and divorce. Bottom line, it takes effort. Remember that you loved each other to become husband and wife and that is important to remember when you don’t see eye to eye and the grass starts to look a little greener on the other side. and from time to time, it will. true words.
- In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, Yup, right there in FRONT OF GOD and everyone, you are PROMISING to take care of each OTHER. You don’t live at home anymore, so don’t be expecting Mama to come over and soothe your issues. Fact is: Sickness comes. Flu. Broken bones. Slipped discs. Knee surgery. Addictions. Weight gain. Migraines. Fatigue. Depression. Cancer. You name it. It’s out there. Some of us are born caregivers, some of us are wimpy sick people. Be loving. Be kind. No one is exempt. It’s life and when it’s your turn to be sick you will want to be loved and gently cared for. Lead by example. Lead in hope that good things come back around. You know what they say about Karma.
- in good times and in bad, We all have good days and bad days. Shiz happens. It’s great to have a sounding board to come home to. Someone to bounce your stuff to and who can give some outside views on what’s happening. For me, my husband has great insight into my work drama/friend dilemmas/issues I’m struggling with and how to better handle things..not that I always agree in the heat of the venting session, but there is always food for thought. He keeps me grounded. When it’s good, it’s so very, very good and when you can share goodness it multiplies.
- and in joy as well as in sorrow. There is balance in everything. Sadness is inevitable and joy comes in return. We all mourn differently and there’s a learning curve in dealing with emotional difficulties. Just breathe. In and out. Some of the most amazing marriages I know have weathered immense sorrow. together. lean on me. when you’re not strong.
- I promise to love you unconditionally, No strings attached. Not if you do “this” for me or buy me “this” or take me “here”. Unconditional. Good bad and ugly. And there is ugly. Especially with morning breath and bedhead.
- to support you in your goals, Even if those goals aren’t your goals. Even if that means you give up some nights or weekends while striving for those goals. Even if you have to cut back on some vacations and luxury items to meet those goals. Teamwork pays off.
- to honor and respect you, to listen when you speak. to look you in the eyes. to look into your heart. to stand up for you when you are badmouthed. to applaud your accomplishments.
- to laugh with you and cry with you, laughter makes the heart grow fonder and sharing tears splits the sorrow down the middle. it strengthens your relationship when you can share life together and come out the other side. ALL of it.
- and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. and maybe you will be like one of my many patients who boast of 63 year marriages, 74 year marriages, 52 year marriages. as they walk out hand in hand. walker to walker. unhurried. in love. after all those years. What a blessing when I come across them.