When it comes to weddings, I’m pretty traditional. I prefer unity candles over the newly popular sand ceremonies and I have no issues with a woman taking her husband’s last name. I always get teary when the preacher finally says “you may kiss your bride” and I adore cute little flower girls and ring bearers. I also appreciate the simplicity and sincerity of the traditional wedding vows where husbands and wives promise to love each other for better or worse, through sickness and in health and for richer or for poorer. I do however feel that these vows lack a bit of practicality when it comes to actually living with and loving one person for the rest of your life. Though I recited these very traditional vows myself when I married my Superman, I now feel like they were somewhat insufficient and I have a few additions that I would now include…
I vow to love you just the way you are while encouraging you to grow into the person that you want to become
I fell in love with my husband just the way he was. We were together for over three years before tying the knot so I had plenty of time to figure out that he wasn’t perfect. Still, I loved him. I’d been married before to a man who couldn’t love me for the person that I was and instead constantly tried to change me into someone that I wasn’t. When I left that marriage, I swore that I would never be with anyone who couldn’t love me exactly the way I was and that I in turn, would reciprocate that same kind of love. My Superman doesn’t need to justify his love of WWE Wrestling to me nor does he need to worry about me leaving him when he freaks out over something that I think is no big deal (I know that this only happens on rare occasions and it is usually when he is already tired or overwhelmed by other matters.) I also appreciate the fact that while he is confident in who he currently is, my man also has goals and aspirations that he’d still like to achieve. These are goals that are important to him, not expectations that I have placed upon him. I want to be his biggest cheerleader as he pursues his goals and yet also want him to know that I love him absolutely and completely just the way he is. I love and appreciate the fact that he does the same for me.
I vow to be an equal partner to you and to share your burdens and your joys
I have no problem working hard and pulling my fair share of the weight in a relationship. I love that my husband is a hard worker too. Nothing can suck the life out of a relationship faster than one partner feeling that they are 100% responsible for keeping things afloat. Whether it is financially, socially or emotionally–relationships only work when both partners are committed to giving 100%. It simply isn’t fair to expect one person to carry the weight of the entire relationship for an extended period of time. Obviously there may be times (during an illness or a busy season at work) where greater responsibilities might shift temporarily onto one partner. However; I vow that my husband will never feel like he is going it alone when it comes to our relationship. I will pull my weight financially, around the house, in creating a fun and adventurous social life for us and when it comes to raising our children. I’ve experienced the stress and loneliness of trying to manage everything on my own. I appreciate the fact that my husband now shares the burdens of life with me and I promise to do the same for him. This also means that we can share equally in the joys that our relationship brings. We are a team and we both give 100% to ensure that we are a winning team.
I vow to shout your strengths from the rooftop but discuss your shortcomings in private
My husband is awesome. Just ask any of my friends–they’ll tell you. The reason they’ll tell you is because I tell them. I never want my husband to worry about what I’m saying about him behind his back. Instead, I always want him to feel like I have his back. I want to be not just respectful when speaking about my husband–I want to be downright effusive as I sing his praises. He is a good man. I am beyond blessed to have him and I want the world to know that I know that. This does not however mean that he is perfect. He is not. If there are issues that I have with my husband, I vow to take those up with only my husband and a counselor should the need arise. I will NOT go around bad mouthing my man. I will not poke fun at him if it is in any way hurtful to him. I will build him up in the presence of others and I will keep his vulnerabilities, insecurities and fears under lock and key. I vow that I will not become on of those wives who do nothing but complain about their husbands to anyone who will listen. He deserves far better than that.
I vow to love the people you love because you love them
When I married Superman, I lucked out because I also got a beautiful stepdaughter, amazing in-laws and a slew of great new friends. These people are all (thankfully) very easy to love. There are however; a few individuals that came along with the “package deal” that I find to be a little questionable. I have decided that the best way to deal with these individuals is to simply love them because he loves them. Even if I find them to be strange or…well, let’s just leave it at strange…I respect the fact that my husband has a history with them and that he finds them (for whatever reason) to be endearing. Thankfully, I don’t have to live with these individuals on a daily basis, nor do I feel threatened or unsafe around them (that would be another issue all together); so…because I love my husband, I also choose to be loving to the people that are important to him. Besides…Lord knows that he does the same with a few of my friends.
I vow to allow you your freedom within the constructs of our union
No–this does not mean that my husband is free to hook up with another woman nor does it mean that he is free to treat me poorly. It does however mean that I understand the fact that though our lives are now forever intertwined; we are still individuals with individual thoughts, beliefs and interests. I vow to support my husband’s right to have his own opinions–even if/when they differ from mine. I also know that my husband is a good and honorable man so I support his right to engage in activities (hello “Boys Night Out”) that do not involve me. I want my husband to feel like our marriage expands his world rather than restricts it. I do not want to be the old “ball and chain”. I want him to know that he is absolutely free to be himself…after all, that is the person that I fell in love with.
I vow to take the necessary measures to keep myself emotionally and physically strong so that you will never feel like it is your responsibility to “save” me or “complete” me
I know that the whole “you complete me” bit is a romantic notion, but I DO NOT believe that it is a healthy one. No one should ever be saddled with the burden of completing or saving someone else. I absolutely vow that I will never expect my husband to complete me. We are not placed on this earth to complete each other but instead to complement each other. I will do whatever I need to do to keep myself emotionally and physically healthy so that I can be the best wife possible. A needy wife is NOT a good wife. I believe that my husband and I are already fully complete in and of ourselves. There are no “holes” that I am looking for my husband to fill. Instead; we are both competent, strong and vibrant individuals who when joined together, create a synergy and love that burns brighter than we are capable of producing on our own. By taking responsibility for my own emotional and physical health; I eliminate a potential burden that my husband would otherwise have to bear. Yes–if I’m sick, I’ll let him baby me (he does it well) and when I need to move something heavy, I will let him flex his muscles. Overall though, I vow not to need my husband because need is not love. Of course we will do nice things to help each other–that’s one of the great perks of marriage. However; allowing my husband to occasionally take care of me; is light years away from needing him to do so. One is a joyful service–the other is a suffocating oppression. If ever there does come a time when one of us truly does need the other to take care of the other (due to prolonged illness, disability etc.); I believe that we will have the strength and resiliency to do so because we have not been worn down by years of dealing with incessant and unnecessary neediness.
I vow not to set the DVR to record a chick flick over the top of the big game that you thought you were recording
What can I say…all relationships require a bit of sacrifice. Besides…The Notebook will likely be aired a thousand more times before the end of the month whereas the Broncos/Patriots game will not. 😉
These vows sure don’t sound as romantic or flowery as traditional wedding vows and yet, I think that they are good ones to make whether we actually state them out loud or not. How about you? Did you write your own vows when you married or did you repeat the traditional vows? Are there any additional vows that you think should be added? Vow today to put a little extra thought into your marriage. Even the tiniest bit of effort can help to make your union even more FabYOUlous.