“For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, all the days of our life together”… We all have heard these words, some of us have even repeated them as vows on our wedding day. The question is, whatever the word spoken, how are we “living” our vows?
Recently, in speaking with a friend and wife of one of the first couple’s whose wedding I officiated, I heard her say something that really mattered to me. A paragraph from her story follows:
”Last week, I came home from work feeling sick, and my husband came home only to find me trying to sleep.
He looked at me and asked “Shall I eat dinner or wait for you?
She replied, “I am not feeling well, I came home from work this way, I just want to sleep. “What’s for dinner”, he asked? To which she replied “I am not feeling well, I think I am going to sleep. Help yourself to dinner.” At that point he says: “You work too hard and now you are not here for me”. She looked at him in dismay and said “Remember when we said “I Do”? Remember the words, “in sickness and in health”? What does that mean to you?”
There I was on the other end of the phone feeling amazed to hear her say this because, as an officiant, I have often wondered how much the words we say as vows really “live themselves out” in our marriages.
When couples prepare for their wedding day, some are intimately connected to the planning of their ceremony too. Some not only want to share a traditional vow, but also want to express their own thoughts or write and express their own vows. What they have to say is often so touching, I find it hard to hold back tears.
Others choose readings that are so meaningful. I will say “choose readings that personify your love so that every guest will feel the love you share welling up in their hearts.”
Sometimes the love is so palpable that I ask the couple to pause after their vows have been shared and their rings have been exchanged, to look into one another’s eyes, to absorb the moment and “draw strength from these moments for the days of marriage to come”.
As “officiants for life” at A Beautiful Florida Wedding, we know that the wedding day is the official beginning of the rest of their lives together, and we want each couple to feel supported by their promises every day of that “beautiful life” together.
So let’s look back. Imagine in your mind's eye, that gaze, the one you took, the one you received, when you said “I Do “and answer these questions:
- Do I still see love when I look at my spouse?
- What does my spouse see when looking at me?
- How am I still practicing loving myself and my spouse each day of our marriage?
- How could we, as a couple, be more of a blessing of love to one another? To others?
Marriage is a vehicle for transforming our hearts; mindfully living our vows, can create more joy-filled ones… more than we even imagined on our wedding day. Here’s to your beautiful life together!