You're ready! It's probably the wedding of a lifetime; a beautiful candlelit ceremony in front of family and friends. Perhaps, you've chosen a destination wedding in the Caribbean, or maybe it's the spur-of-the moment and you're in love and can't wait another minute to be in each other's arms, so you decide to elope. You know that "Can't eat, can't sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world-series-kinda stuff" (It Takes Two, 1995). However, you've prepared, you're finally ready to say, "I do."
The vows are an intricate and delicate part of any wedding ceremony, whether they are hand-written and recited, traditionally repeated or paraphrased. They can make anyone's heart tremble a bit. Within this small part of the ceremony, a couple makes a personal commitment to one another to be present in Sickness and in health, in good and bad times, till death parts them. During this cherished moment, the bride and groom is blessed with the opportunity to communicate their desires for their marriage and the desire for it to thrive and last (Parke, 2020). But what happens when your vows feel more like a chore than a commitment? Do they still mean something? Have you pledged your love to your partner not fully understanding the promises you've made?
Advice Blogger, Melissa Venable clarifies that as beautiful as wedding vows are; they may lack a bit of practicality when it comes to actually living with and loving one person for the rest of your life (2016). In her blog (The Wedding Vows we Really SHOULD be Taking 2016), Venable goes on to share how she felt about her wedding vows when she married her second husband, "I feel like my vows were somewhat insufficient for the realities of marriage and I have a few additions that I would now like to include…"
So, what are couples really committing to when they say their vows? For better or for worse, all the days of my life, as long as we both shall live… Do we really mean that? Life gets messy, you change as you grow and sometimes we need help. Lindsey Ellison's blog "When You Break Your Marriage Vows" (n.d) explains how she chose to honor her vows by staying in a mentally and emotionally abusive marriage. "Because of my vows to him, leaving him was not an option. I was a person of my word and I took pride in always finishing what I started" She exclaimed. Edison began further exploration by giving sound advice to couples feeling the same way she did… stuck. "But while you're so focused on your vows, you may forget to ask whether he is upholding his vows to you," which brought her to the place she's been for over a decade- The place of self-love. "The ideology of marriage misses a very important component, which actually keeps the marriage intact: we must love ourselves first before we can give love to others." (Edison, n.d)
Here are a few of Edison's vows of self-love she suggests to single and married couples:
Although divorces were rare before 1858, they were only carried out as a legal process. It was still very expensive for most people, and wives had the difficulty of proving that their "Husbands had been guilty of cruelty, desertion, bigamy, incest, sodomy or bestiality," says Rebecca Probert of the University of Warwick School of Law (Ten Key Moments in the History of Marriage, 2012). "The divorce law meant that people trapped in bad marriages need not stay in them forever," Explains Lauren Everitt, (BBC News Magazine 2012).
Wedding vows are some of the most beautiful words you'll say when telling YOUR love story. These words are so packed and full of hope, brimming with promise. Anyone can have a beautiful forever with their partner, even if they've regretted saying most of what they said on their wedding day, even if they can't stand to look their partner in the eyes anymore, even if they wish they could do it all over again, or not do it at all. From this day forward, you can begin, again, whether that's through self-love or choosing your partner, again. Marriage takes work on both ends but it also takes one step at a time and one day at a time in learning how to love each other. Your vows are more than a collection of words, they become actions, and making small decisions to show your actions through love is how you keep your vows alive. "Vows shouldn't be seen as expectations placed on each other, but rather shared support that expands each other's world, not restrict it" (Venable 2016).
Blog Article Author: Heidi-Ann Milwood