After You say “I Do”: Living your wedding vows in Love

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It’s coming upon that time of year again, our wedding anniversary, and that brings me such joy.

I have been blessed with a husband who loves me in ways that truly matter, and  we love our marriage.

To mark the occasion we will renew our wedding vows as we do every year.

Is it just because we are professionals in the wedding industry that we renew our vows each year? Certainly, always being around weddings and celebrating love helps us to treasure our marriage even more, but the underlying reason we renew our vows is that our intention for our life together changes every year and we want to honor those changes in our vows.

Can you imagine how I feel when I watch my husband officiate weddings or he I? Imagine how that experience solidifies our agreement to love more fully all the days of our lives together? While our primary intention is always to bless the couple,we too have been so blessed by being wedding officiants at this time in our lives.

One very special wedding was one in which Bob and I were co-officiants. He performed the first half of the ceremony and I did the second...it was like magic..we were in-sync and everyone felt it. Most of all, the couple loved it, as it helped to broadcast to their guests that their marriage, like ours.honored both spouses’ contribution to marriage.

People ask us what part of the ceremony holds the greatest meaning for us as officiants.There are so many beautiful moments that we treasure and hold in our hearts.However, we find that the exchange of vows, the central core of the wedding ceremony, is the most meaningful. Certainly how engaged in their ceremony a couple is makes a difference, especially as they speak their vows to one another.And if they choose traditional vows, it is how they repeat them to one another.

Vows are so powerful, and our hope is that as you read this article you will think about yours.Perhaps, you do not even remember what your vows were.Whatever you said, do you remember how you felt as you shared them with your spouse-to-be?

What is in vows that makes them so powerful?Are vows more than words spoken at a certain time in a ceremony or are they more? And if they are more than just words for that day,how do they make a difference long term in your marriage?

Vows are promises; a dedication to someone, a pledge,a personal commitment.Which definition works for you?Probably all of the above.For Bob and me, our vows represent an ongoing desire to be married to one another.They are our lighthouse beacon, guiding us in the right direction, home, back to ourselves and to one another.

Let’s look at the “traditional” vow formula and think through the implications for your marriage represented by the words.

“For better or worse”

“For richer or poorer”

“In sickness and in health”

“All the days of our life together”

I have been blessed to observe my parents’ marriage.They lived with us the last 13 years of their lives.We were even able to hold a 50th, and 60th wedding anniversaries for them when they renewed their vows each time. Watching them throughout their lives, I saw a partnership that inspired and strengthened me in my relationships and especially in my marriage with Bob.

I witnessed them living through good times and challenging ones, “for better or worse”.I heard them talk in times of economic prosperity and in times of economic challenge,”for richer for poorer”. And, when my dad lived through an 8 year challenge with Alzheimer’s Disease, I got the true meaning of “in sickness and in health”.So for me, these vows are so much more than words.They represent the energy of love behind all those choices we make every day of our married life together.

Many couples come to Florida to renew their vows with us. Some bring their families, much like they did when we originally planned their wedding.Many now bring their children. Always, we sense such a joy at renewing their vows,especially when one or the other spouse”surprised” their spouse with the renewal of their vows.

It does not need to be a time of detailed planning like a wedding. We have vow renewal packages that cover most needs,and couples seem to enjoy it because there is less stress than on their wedding day. For those who cannot come to Florida, we can meet on a video conference call to renew their vows.

Next week Bob and I will select a beach on which to renew our vows; we will write our vows prior to our renewal and before that we will ask ”How can I be a better spouse to you?”, ”How can our marriage express more love?”, ”How can we be more loving to one another?” The answers to these question will help us create our vows.

Catherine, Lourdes or Doug, our team of ABFW officiants will read this year’s vows, we will repeat them.Then we will re- exchange rings; receive a blessing for the year to come, and take some private time to let this promise of good to come settle into our hearts.

Marriage is renewed by the couple every day living together. It takes Grace to do so lovingly.Renewing your wedding vows sets all that in motion.