According to Merriam-Webster, vows are a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment. Wikipedia states: Marriage vows are promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony and The Free Dictionary defines vows as: a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment.
I recently lost a very dear friend to a short but brave battle with cancer. My friend was one month shy of celebrating 50 years of marriage to the one and only love of her life. Close friends were to attend a gala celebration of their wedding anniversary and 53 years of being in love. We will not be going to any party to celebrate, but it got me thinking about wedding vows and those promises, pledges and commitments made at a wedding ceremony. It occurs to me, it is not what you promise or pledge to, but what the words PROMISE and PLEDGE mean to you.
Do the vows said at a beautiful wedding ceremony have anything to do with how you will weather the storms that are inevitable during a long, successful marriage. Although modernized and revised with many very cool sentiments, the basic promises of for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part, are still the basis to most vows. When you choose your vows, really think about what you are willing to promise, pledge and commit to. The every day mundane stuff is just as important as how you will handle the wonderful, fun vacations and the boring day-to-day grind; the financial struggles and responsibility with wealth; major illness and how miserable you are with a lousy head cold.
I recently heard of a minister who said to a groom, “I know you love your bride. I know you would lay down your life for her. I know that if she was in danger, you would protect her…but will you pick up your socks?” I could write one for a bride, “I know you love your groom. I know you would give your life for him…but will you leave him some closet space of his own and not take up the entire bathroom counter with makeup?” Respect for the promise and respect for each other are key.
My friends’ marriage was riddled with good times and bad, with poor times and wealthy times, with health and with major illness, but I believe they truly understood commitment to each other. Oh, and respect — he never, ever left the toilet seat up!