Do you remember your vows? Usually a bride and groom are so focused on all of the other activities surrounding the wedding the vows get lost in the stream of activity. Family, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, an evening with the guys/girls, minimal sleep, getting ready for the wedding (hair? make-up?), photos, MORE family and friends, trying to remember what to do and say, concentrating on not tripping or fainting, being mesmerized at how amazing your spouse-to-be looks.
Then there were all the components of the wedding—the processional, prayer, being given away, the charge, scripture music, vows, rings, candle, kiss, pronouncement, recessional, reception…you get the idea. And tucked in all of that were the vows. What did you commit to before God and man? Did you simply repeat after the person officiating? Did you write your own vows?
The Purpose of Vows
We had the privilege to go to the wedding of Brock and Jackie pictured above. Brock is the son of dear friends of ours. He and Jackie chose to write their vows and read them to each other. Tears were flowing around the room as they read their personalized commitments to each other, recommitted their relationship to Jesus, and pledged their faithfulness for the rest of their lives.
Vows are really a covenant that is made between a man and woman before God to remain true and faithful no matter how the circumstances may change. The late Lew Smedes wrote, “ My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed—and each of the five has been me.”
The point is, nothing stays the same in marriage and neither do we. What remains constant is our vow–our covenant–to stay committed and faithful to our spouse.
“What if I don’t remember my vows?”
- When we are at a wedding like Brock and Jackie’s, we will quietly repeat the vows to ourselves, renewing our commitment to one another via the ceremony.
- Maybe you pull out the video, DVD or tape listen to what you said and write them down.
- Perhaps you have a renewal of vows ceremony at a significant anniversary date.
- You could write new vows to each other and set up a special date night to say them—perhaps with friends present, or your small group.
- We spoke at an inner city church on marriage and at the conclusion of the service the pastor invited couples to re-do their processional and he led them in a renewal of their vows (see picture below)
If you aren’t sure what you covenanted, or you desire renew your vows to each other, here are three sample vows that may be helpful for you and your spouse to repeat to each other. Remember the covenant you made and continue to make as you build your marriage!
I, ______, take thee, ______, to be my wedded (husband/wife). And I do covenant before God and these witnesses, to be thy loving and faithful 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, cherish, and serve, for as long as we both shall live.
I, ___, take you ___, to be my wedded (husband/wife), 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, ’til death do us part: according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge you my love and faithfulness.
I love you ___ as I love no other. All that I am I share with you. I take you to be my (husband/wife) through health and sickness, through plenty and want, through joy and sorrow, now and forever.
What would you include in your vows today that you didn’t say then? Keep your commitments before God and others as you build your marriage!