What's in a vow (part 2) ........
In Part 1 I talked about the background to your wedding vows; now I’m going to help you write your vows.
Whenever I’ve helped someone overcome “vow block”, I do it by beginning with structure, i.e. a beginning a middle and an end. Then I suggest they begin in the middle. In writing your bespoke vows I think it is important to consider what you and your partner might value most within your marriage; you might need to think back to discussions you’ve had about each other’s expectations. One of the top expectations might be that your wedding will last; another might be that there will be equality within the marriage, another might be there is a focus on communication, or at least these are the things researchers tell us people expect.
So, if I take it step by step; first think about any of the expectations you have talked about and just write them down; whatever comes into your head.
It might look like this:
affection, finances, household roles, communication, sex, in-laws, children, decision making, residence, time with friends/ mates, conflict resolution, vacations, employment, study, selfishness, food, furniture, TV, religion, politics, gardening, gambling, clothes, fitness, health, take for granted, independence, equality, to name a few.
The above list will now help you choose broad ideas that can cover groups of these words; and can be used to express these ideas as a single vow.
Love, Commitment, Communication, Fun, Equality.
Let’s look at “equality” as a vow; in its simplest form, it could look like this:
I vow we will share our journey as equals; in all things and in all ways;
or in a slightly more complicated form:
I vow to remember to act in a way that encourages you to contribute to our decision making; to give power to the concept of “we” in everything we do. You are an intelligent, thoughtful and accomplished individual who brings to our marriage a depth of experience I would be stupid to ignore. By acting as “one” we can take on the World.
Once you have worked through each of the broad areas of expectation, and have a vow for each area, it is now time to complete your vows with an opening and closing paragraph from the heart, to end up with:
(Partner name), how can I begin to tell you what you mean to me; if every star in the sky came to my aid, I’d still fall short of being able to tell you how much I love you.
You came into my life and it was as if a piece of a puzzle snapped into place; I knew from the first moment I saw you that we would spend eternity together.
Today we begin our journey of a life-time and I want the world to know how happy I feel at the thought of sharing my life with you.
(Partner name), I vow to always love you and to offer you proof of that in everything I do.
I vow to never take what we have for granted; something this precious demands my full attention and commitment.
I vow we will share our journey as equals; in all things and in all ways.
Communication is the foundation upon which our marriage will be built; I vow to continually seek to understand you and to be understood by you.
I vow to bring joy into our lives, so that we might grow old with smiles on our faces, in a home filled with laughter.
(Partner name), at the close of each day, I don’t know how life will have challenged us since the sun first crept over the horizon that morning; however, I do know that whatever came our way, be it good or bad, the last thing you’ll hear from me each night, will always be “I love you”.
The above example is a little on the formal side; and people ask me if it’s OK to introduce humour into this part of the ceremony? Only you can answer that because you know the tone you’re trying to create; just remember it’s your wedding and within the boundaries of what would be considered tasteful, it’s yours to design.