|Jeremy promises Linda...With Love & Embers|
Of course this got me thinking about why so many people feel the need to write their own vows when there are so many beautiful traditional ones out there. And then...why wouldn't someone want to write their own, every marriage is a unique partnership so shouldn't the vows be personal too? Here's what I put together and I hope it will serve to open possibilities for genuine connection for those about to make that journey down the aisle soon.
The good news is that you can each say different vows, there’s no rule that says you need to say the same thing as your intended during this part of the ceremony. Where your partner may feel overwhelmed with the thought of creating something new or might just be shy and would feel more comfortable keeping the vows traditional and somewhat impersonal in front of a crowd, many people feel those traditional vows don’t capture fully what modern marriages are hoping to fulfill.
|Susan going over her Vows one more time moments before the ceremony.|
|Erman wipes a tear from Lori's cheek. Douglas Benedict Photography|
|Stewart sandwiches a little humor into a gorgeous set of personal vows to Eduardo. "Because of you, I dream a whole lot bigger." We Laugh We Love Photography|
|Patrick promises Laura. Sarah McKay Photography|
Is it hard for your partner to trust others because they’ve been betrayed, abandoned or disappointed in the past? Maybe the best promise to give this person is that in all of your actions and meditations, that you will strive to be worthy of the gift of their trust.
Maybe you’re afraid that as life becomes more complicated, that you will lose the part of you that delights your partner—your spark. Most people focus on their partner when making vows, but this is an example of where it would be appropriate to make a promise about how you will respect, honor and treat yourself with kindness, acknowledging your responsibilities to offer your partner your best.
|Bil Cardoni Photography|
“I promise to comfort you in times of distress and celebrate your triumphs as if they were my own.” –speaks to creating an emotional as well as physical safe space, to not abandon, but instead to be fully invested in the identity and enrichment of your spouse. There’s no jealousy when their partner shines, only pride.
“I promise to listen to and learn from you, and to trust your decisions as well as respect your opinions.” –seeing your partner as a source for learning and growing, someone worthy or respect.
“I promise that I now see my family as yours, your family as mine, and look forward to loving the family we create.”
“I promise to persevere when times get tough, knowing that any challenges we might face, we will conquer them together.” –a pledge to be a true partner, to not quit. To see challenges as opportunities for strengthening relationship.
“I will cherish and protect your friendship all of my life.” –acknowledging that friendship is of utmost value and worth being proactive about developing.
“I promise to respect, admire and appreciate you for who you are, as well as for the person you wish to become.” -psychologists call this “positive illusions”, and a mental state where we assume the best about our partner’s character is thought to enhance and stabilize long term bonding.
|Heather's book of promises to Nate. Jeremie Barlow Photography|
Last year, Samantha Joel, a Ph.D. candidate who studies the science of relationships at the University of Toronto wrote a set of 10 vows for her own wedding based on what she knew to support a long and healthy relationship. These vows may not make a good sound bite, but they are definitely an excellent framework for how we should strive to be in relationship.
|Eduardo promises Stewart "to always be your safe place, to encourage, support and believe in you." We Laugh We Love Photography|