You are one of the most precious gifts in my life. And for that reason, I want to tell you why you need to write your own wedding vows. I’m being completely transparent so I can save you from some of the guilt I still carry today in my marriage. And to be honest, I may continue to carry it until “death do us part.”
It’s been almost 16 years since I said “I do” to your father.
God gave me a wonderful gift in your father. He’s a man that loves God supremely and seeks to please God in his marriage and family life. That type of a man is very, very rare.
I want to be an amazing wife to your father. And I imagine, that when the day comes for you to marry a kind, Christian man, that you too will desire to be beyond what your husband dreams a perfect wife would be. But, dear daughter, be careful about wedding vows.
I’m very concerned about the traditional wedding vows that so many people mindlessly repeat in the wedding ceremony. And yes, my sweet daughter, I repeated them as well.
Since you were several years from being born and unable to hear me repeat my vows to your father, I’ll just share them with you now. Here’s what I said — word for word.
I, Alison , take you, Adam ,
to be my husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part;
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.
Can you guess which part of those vows makes me cringe when I contemplate how many times I have broken it?
It’s the cherish part.
That one small word still haunts me to this day.
After 16 years, we have had some bumps and obstacles in our marriage. We have said some very hurtful things to each other. We always cried, apologized and begged for forgiveness. We learned from our wrongdoings, but because of that one seven letter word, I have been guilty of breaking my wedding vows.
I know I am not a perfect wife and never will be. Yes, I strive to be kind, submissive, loving and even respectful. But I know that there are times when I forget to wear my daughter-of-the-one-true-King’s crown and instead the contentious wife’s crown. It’s an ugly one, by the way. I hope you choose to never wear it.
I know that I have not cherished my husband every minute of our 16 years of marriage. There have been times when I did not “hold dear” or “protect and care” for your dad. Psst — that’s what cherish really means. There were times when I cared more for my own selfish desires or wants than his. That’s not cherishing.
No, I haven’t committed adultery in my marriage. No, I have not squandered away your father’s paychecks or plunged his bank accounts into the red. But, I have still broken one of my marriage vows.
Dear, sweet daughter, remember this: when you choose to seal your devotion to your husband with a vow, think about what you’re saying. Take time to write your own vows. Vows you can actually keep and stay faithful to.
Sometimes living inside the traditional box brings more damage than it;’s worth. Just think. If I had taken time, went against the grain and wrote my own vows, I could have written some heartfelt, powerful words that lovingly expressed my devotion; without speaking words I would later regret.
So, my dear daughter, when your special day arrives, be careful. Think thoroughly about the vows you make to your husband before God, family and friends. Pray about what words you should speak to your husband. Don’t start your marriage off on promises that neither one of you can actually keep.
Yes, be the non-traditional bride and write your own heartfelt vows.
And yes, if you make a vow to your husband, you should determine to keep that vow. Sixteen years later, those vows are still important to your father and me.
May God guide you on your wedding day and may your marriage be one that’s full of “no regrets.”
With much love,