For just a moment, think about all the preparation that went into your wedding: saying “I do,” picking the date, setting the budget, finding the location for the wedding and reception, choosing the dress, selecting the colors, asking attendants, making the guest list (and cutting it down!), finding the photographer, musicians, officiant, and the list goes on and on. So much planning went into the wedding! (We get this as we’ve planned two weddings in the past year!) During the ceremony there were multiple components of the service as well. And yet of all the elements that had to come together for your special day, we believe the most important moment was when you declared your vows to each other.
A vow is a solemn promise of one’s intention. It is a covenant between two individuals who are coming together for a specific purpose. In marriage, you say your vows to one another as a declaration of your intentions and commitment to live those intentions out. They are the founding values of your marriage.
Some couples choose to write their vows. Other couples simply recite their vows with the officiant when they get to the altar. Still others pre-select already written vows. We think it is important to determine your vows early in the wedding planning process. Let them marinate in your soul so that when you pronounce your vows you can do so thoughtfully, reverently, and confidently.
Regardless of the circumstances around your vows, they hold spiritual weight and value in cementing your soul to your spouse. Here are four things to remember regarding your vows to your spouse:
1. It’s a promise to God
You entered into holy matrimony. That means that your relationship is set apart. It is an exclusive relationship. No matter what kind of ceremony you had (civil, religious, etc), God heard your vows. They were made in his presence. As such, he holds you responsible for keeping your pledge to your spouse. You alone are accountable to him for how you fulfill what you spoke at the altar of your wedding.
2. It’s a promise to your spouse
You said your vows to your spouse. In that holy moment, you were giving your word to fulfill these promises in the covenantal relationship that was being established. Your character and integrity were immediately on the line to stay committed to those declarations “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.”
3. It’s a promise before family
Your union is also bringing together two families. They have heard your vows and know of your commitment to one another. Ideally, your family should support through prayer the godly legacy you and your spouse are establishing.
4. It’s a promise before friends and the world
A life-long commitment of two people in the sacredness of marriage is becoming less and less prevalent. In a world that lacks any true commitment to keeping one’s word, you can be a light of hope to a watching world of what can be true for them as well in marriage.
Take some time before God and recommit yourself to keeping the vows you made before God, to your spouse, before your family, friend, and the world. As you live them your vows, you will glorify God and build your marriage.