YOUR LOVE, YOUR WORD
Vows are a powerful thing. They are an out loud declaration of what you are willing to do, who you are willing to be, as consistently as possible over a long time, to serve a purpose that is greater than you, greater than your ego, and will be a contribution to something larger than yourself.
We rarely make vows in life this consciously, and your marriage is one of those places where it’s actually mandatory! So you might feel some pressure, or you may be inspired, or feel both. If you are like my brides and grooms, you want with all your heart and soul to create and give a vow that comes from your deepest depth, your greatest caring and your best sense of humor. This blog is written to that aim.
Some couples want to choose a vow they have found and love, others choose the traditional vow and either take out any reference to death, or keep it in, where others want to pen their own, and others yet, like to choose lines from different vows to assemble one they love.
I have provided some sample vows below for three of these purposes and later cover writing your own. (I have many more samples and there are lots on-line as well). As I mentioned above, you can cut and paste different sentences from different vows to put together the one you resonate with, choose one as is, or use them as ideas to inspire you in your own writing. The both of you can have different vows, and as many of my couples do, share one unifying vow together at the end of their personal ones. Any way you go is perfect. It’s up to you, because this is, after all, your wedding, your marriage, your life.
I,_____, take you,_____, to be my wife/husband, to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, and to share with you the adventure of life to the end of our days.
I,_____,take you,_____, to be my husband/wife, to laugh with you in joy, to comfort you in need, to cry with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, toappreciate you as an individual, to turn to you in trouble, to nurture your dreams, and to move with you through time in faith, trust and honesty.
I,_____,take you,_____,to be my wife/husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, in all circumstances of our life together, to be loyal to you with my whole life and my whole being.
_____, do you take_____to be your wife,
and _____do you take_____to be your husband,
secure in the knowledge that each of you will be the other’s constant friend, faithful partner and one true love?
Do each of you, on this special day, before God and in the presence of your family and friends as witnesses,
promise to live together as husband and wife,
to stay together and care for each other
in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow,
through all good and challenging times?
Do you promise to love each other openly and without reservation,
to comfort each other in distress,
to laugh and cry together,
to be honest with each other,
to nurture and support one another
to grow both individually and together in mind and spirit,
to cherish each other and be guided by Love
along life’s path, wherever it leads,
for as long as you both shall live?
I,_____,take you,_____,to be my wife/husband, toshare with you all life’s joys and sorrows, triumphs and hardships. I promise to appreciate, respect, and to acknowledge you, to support and to encourage your personal growth, and to be loving, caring and loyal to you. This commitment is made in love, lived in hope, and kept in faith.
I,____, take you,_____, to be my husband/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, today, tomorrow and always.
I,____, take you,_____, to be my husband/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, ‘til death do us part.
______, I take you as my husband/wife and life long partner. From the depths of my heart, andfrom all that I choose to do, I will keep our love and marriage first and foremost in my life. I will build with you a secure home full of love and joy and live with you in kindness, truthfulness and most of all, trust. I promise to give to you and our relationship all that I am and all that I have, each and everyday for rest of my life.
I,___take you,___to be my wife, secure in the knowledge that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner in life, and my one true love. On this special day, I give to you in the presence of God and our family and friends, my sacred promise to stay by your side as your faithful husband in sickness and inhealth, in joy and in sorrow, as well as through the good times and the bad. I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve higher goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
______, today I become your husband/wife.
I promise to be your partner and your best friend.
To share with you all that I am and all that I hope to become;
To be with you through all your adventures, to share every wonderful moment and to support you through the most difficult of times.
I will always encourage you to follow your own path, to do more, to learn more, and to be more.
I appreciate all that you are, and am open to learn all that you have to teach me.
You are my best friend, my teacher, my lover, and my support. As partners, we will enjoy and endure everything.
I love you with all that I am. (for all the days of my life and beyond.)
I,____take you,____, to be my wife/husband.
to appreciate you as an individual
to encourage your personal growth,
to nurture your dreams,
to grow with you in love,
to cry with you in sorrow,
to stand by your side in times of trouble,
to subordinate in times of conflict,
to forgive quickly and completely,
to accept the things we cannot change,
to work with you to keep our lives in balance,
to help remember that family comes first,
to laugh often with you in joy,
to believe in you and believe in us,
and to share with you the adventure of life until the end of our days.
Today I become your husband/wife. This sacred relationship I enter into with you today, with God at our Center, is essential to the entirety of my life.
You are my inspiration, my liberation, the ground of my Being. You make visible to me the Grace of God in our lives.
It is my honor to open myself continually to you to live a life of unparalleled intimacy and trust.
I will use every aspect of myself to contribute to you and our relationship, and daily be an enhancement to your life.
I will continue to speak the truth to you in love to encourage our growth together, and hold in gratitude that because of you, I am a better person.
I will be the Guardian of Your Heart
the Defender of Our Faith
and The Keeper of Our Flame.
You are my Soulmate
As God is the Anchor for our Love
So You are the Anchor for my Life.
WRITING YOUR OWN VOWS
Writing your own vows is an exploration, an adventure into yourself, an experience of strength and vulnerability, humor and delight. It’s best to find some alone time where you have some quiet and can relax. A lot of my brides curl up on the bed with a good cup of tea, some cozy blankets, boxes of kleenex and lots of paper. The tablet or computer are on standby. And do have boxes of kleenex. You’ll need them.
MAKE YOUR LISTS
Make a list of all the qualities in your fiancee that you love, like and appreciate.
Make a list of what you are for each other.
Make a list of all the ways this relationship has influenced, impacted and changed you, your before’s and afters.
Make a list of what you want to see unfold in your life together.
Make a list of what you are willing to be and do to make this life dream a reality each day of your life.
WRITE YOUR SENTENCES
Then write your sentences as they come to you. If they are anecdotal, more like your story, they often come easier. They don’t have to be in order or organized in a natural flow. That can come later, but what’s vital now is to let your heart speak. Just open yourself up and let your feelings run as far as they will go. You’ll be using your kleenex a lot.
Once you’ve run out everything that you can, read what went down. You may end up cutting some out, or merging them with another sentence. You can look for repeats, forgotten things, or fluff. Experience it and see if your heart opens and if you feel uplifted and happy with it. Where it feels awkward, just play with it to see if it can be said differently.
Finally, organize the sentences chronologically if you have some B & A’s, (before’sand afters). group them together where they make the most sense, fill in the next area with who your beloved is to you and what you will do to keep this love alive. End it with your big, beautiful statement of forever love to send the both of you into orbit together, and you’re done.
This process may take some time and maybe more than one session. I had a bride take a day off work and spend the entire day on the bed writing her vows. She went through multiple lists, many drafts and box after box of kleenex. In the end she had what she wanted and blew her man out of the water at their wedding. It was worth every tear and effort she put forth.
PREPARING FOR SPEAKING
Read what you’ve written out loud to yourself. If you are touched and moved, you’re hitting the vein of gold. If it feels a bit stiff or unnatural, touch in again to feel your real feelings and start to make your changes. You’ll know when you’ve said it like you feel it.
I had a bride record her vows into her iPhone and play it back. She did her editing that way until she had exactly what she wanted both in word and voice. On the day of, she knew what she was going to say and how she was going to say it, even though her fiancee nearly brought her and every one else to their knees. She did a gorgeous, moving vow.
AFRAID OF LOOSING IT OR BLUBBERING?
Here’s two ways to be your best on your big day:
1.) Make a special date night before your wedding—two weeks to a week before. That night go out for a special dinner, stay in a special place where your privacy is assured and after a lovely evening of wining and dining, speak your deepest feelings to each other, those words that no one else in the world will ever hear and really shouldn’t. Let this night be your personal and private marriage, the one that only the two of you will ever know of. This will release your deepest and most pressing emotions so they won’t be spilling out all over you on your wedding day. You can still speak stirring and beautiful vows in the presence of your family and friends, but you won’t be exposed to your quick.
2.) Definitely do a First Look. It takes all the pressure and anxiety out of your day. One of my brides who is an event planner just recently got married. She was not going to do a First Look because she always fantasized about being seen for the first time walking down the aisle. But she changed her mind and could not have been happier. Her words clarified for me the extremely high value of seeing each other before hand.
She said it was a relief and very fulfilling to see her fiancee before because the very reason for the whole event—to be inexorably connected—was done before all the activities began. After the two of them saw each other, she and he relaxed, they got to enjoy the ceremony instead of blank out during it, and every minute of their night they enjoyed. They weren’t rushed, everything was enjoyable instead of a big blur because the greatest of all needs were accomplished: they were connected from the start instead of trying to be with all the hub bub going on around them.
Both of these will diffuse internal pressure and help you be relaxed and present. What more could you ask for?
There is nothing more important than being yourself. Your fiancee doesn’t care about a stellar performance or professional writing. They care about you. They want the real you. That’s who they are marrying. So though you have worked on your vows for your own sake and theirs, let your heart and soul take over when you give them. That’s the miraculous expansion love provides, the magic we can’t make happen, and the very force we all desire in our lives. You deserve the best, so let it carry you in it’s arms.
CARRY A HANKY
Make sure your fiancee or your Maiden of Honor carries a hanky for you. It will not be wasted. You might even need it to wipe tears of laughter from the corners of your eyes!