Vows can be the foundation of your marriage and guideposts for your lives. Take your time in choosing your vows so inevitably they will be sincere and personal, will help you stay the course, and be the husband and wife you aspire to be.
Your vows can look in all directions of your relationship. They can honor the beauty of your history together and they can reach into the future to proclaim your intentions of what the future will hold. In preparation for choosing vows begin to think upon what makes your relationship strong. Consider including these attributes as a way to promise to keep them alive. Then begin to think of yourself in the years to come. What are your fears? Write them down. What are your hopes? Write them down. Choose vows that will alleviate your fears and elevate your strengths as a couple.
Here are some questions to ask as you look at vow possibilities:
What do I intend to promise my beloved (and myself) so that our marriage will be strong?
What can I promise my beloved so I will be the best husband/wife I hope to be in our marriage?
What do I need my beloved to promise to me so I will feel secure, honored and cherished in my marriage?
There is nothing as touching as the bride and groom who look deeply into each other’s eyes as they sincerely offer vows from their hearts. That being said, choose vows you can extend truthfully from the bottom of your hearts. Don’t succumb and accept vows that are meaningful to your beloved but not comfortable for you. This is the start of your marriage and partnership. Take your time with each other and find the words that convey the highest truth and vision for each other through the years.
A bride recently asked me how long her vows should be. Some brides and groom like to be direct, short and to the point with their vows. Others like to use this portion of their ceremony to personally express the depth of their feelings, pay tribute to their relationship, and paint a picture of their future together. Both are equally good. It’s not unusual for a bride and groom to have different opinions about which way to approach their vows. If this is true for you, be patient with one another and try to find a happy medium. Whether short or long, make a point of creating vows that are memorable so you can tuck them into your heart and remember them when you need them most.
Recently I had an occasion when I needed my vows to remind me of the promises of love my husband and I made to one another. Thankfully, they were indeed a significant source of support and guidance for me when I needed them. As I revisited them I was pleased to see that the vows chosen way back when still rang true through the years. Give this gift to yourself too.
One of the pitfalls I run across all too often is when couples choose beautiful metaphoric vows that don’t have real substance. These romantic and lyrical vows are certainly worthy of being included! However, these words can be fleeting so be sure to include promises that will be definitive and therefore everlasting. For instance, is it important that your beloved knows that you will accept him/her through all the changes that life may bring? Then say it. Or, is it important to say that this will be your only love? Then say it. Or, is it important that you promise to be honest with each other? Then say it. Choose vows that are the principles that you want to live by. This is how you’ll create vows that will remain in your hearts and mind.
The standard order for the vows are:
Declaration of Consent
Vows & Promises
Blessing and Symbolism of the Rings
You can choose all four categories and eloquently elaborate on your love and devotion for each other. Or, you can choose, for example, an apt Declarations of Consents as your vow, and combine it with, “With this ring I thee wed” if you wish to keep speaking to a minimum.
Choosing your vows can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s simpler than you think. Start by deleting that which is not appealing. Then begin to look at the possibilities that speak to you. Take one option at a time and let the cream rise to the top. Before you know it you’ll find the way to express your love, devotion and commitment in ways that are unique, touching and fitting for the two of you.