During our wedding ceremony Mr. Lively and I took turns reading aloud our marriage vows. These joint vows were in addition to our personal vows and now serve as the foundation of our relationship.
Similar to a constitution, we created these vows to last for a very, very long time unchanged. But as we evolve and our family grows, we plan to add amendments to these intentions to suit our future needs.
I had every hope of spending long hours curled by a fire drafting these intentions together. But in reality we discussed a few themes on some runs together, and took the time to write them down at an O’Hare International Airport bar with a Corona in hand.
Not exactly the romantic setting I had in mind… but it worked.
Once we move into our new home, I would like to frame these intentions and hang them on the wall. Then they can serve as daily reminders of what we believe and what we stand for as a couple.
And though our vows are customized to our lives and values, hopefully they might serve as an example of what marriage vows can look like.
Trust is the foundation of our relationship. We trust each other’s loyalty and integrity.
We choose to love each other through good times and bad, because our marriage is worth it.
We seek first to understand, then be understood. It is important for each person to feel that they have been heard. This is the basis of our communication.
We are capable individuals responsible for our own happiness. We come together to improve ourselves by helping each other. Our progress in this area will be extended to the world around us.
As you can tell, they aren’t particularly sweet or sentimental. That part of the ceremony was saved for the individual vows we shared with one another after these combined intentions where shared. The purpose of these vows was to provide a framework for us going forward that would help guide our actions.
The first statement is important to us because we believe that trust and loyalty is essential to have a prosperous and positive relationship. The second intention illustrates that love is an action, not a verb. We want to keep this in mind when we have challenges come our way and we may not feel lovey-dovey feelings but still remain dedicated to love in it’s truest form.
The third statement is really for me to keep in mind when we have disagreements. I think this is important to be in our vows so that I can remind myself when emotionally worked up that I have agreed to listen as much as share.
And lastly, we felt it was important to recognize that happiness is not an outcome of our marriage, it is something that we bring to it. I think it would be easy for either of us to blame the other if we are ever feeling unhappy. But the truth is we are both capable, proactive adults.
We do not need our happiness to rest on another person.
If we place too much emphasis on each other’s actions, we rob ourselves of our own strength and ability to create joy from within. It is not our job to make the other person happy. It is our job to share our happiness with one another.
We hope that by living from of this positive, empowered place we will be able to increase our joy and serve one another fully… which is the ultimate goal of these vows and our marriage as a whole.