Written by Bryan Striegler
The words we speak are so important. They have so much value and weight, and can change the people around us including ourselves and our spouses.
A few kind words can bring a smile to someone’s face or a few judgmental words can destroy someone.
No words are more important to a marriage than the wedding vows. They are your promises to the one you love and the one you plan on spending your entire life with. They are something that shouldn’t be broken.
Unfortunately, though, the vows are sometimes overlooked and aren’t really considered to be as important as they are. If you ask a groom twenty minutes after the ceremony to repeat a few of his vows, there is a good chance that he will only remember about half of them.
To most, vows are simply part of a ceremony and don’t hold any real weight.
This needs to change.
Here are a few simple suggestions for how to make your vows hold real importance in your life.
Being a wedding photographer, I attend around 20-30 weddings a year. A lot of those ceremonies blend together, but the ones that stick out - that have real emotion - are burned into my memory.
The one thing that often separates these ceremonies from the rest is pretty simple - personal vows.
Personal vows are real, heartfelt words, not something written by someone else and repeated by millions of people every year. They hold meaning and grab our attention and our hearts. I love it so much when I get to hear the bride talk about her future husband and all the things she promises to him.
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When it’s the groom’s turn, it’s even better. I often see tough guys break down. Yes, it’s easy to be emotionless when you’re just repeating words, but when you’re speaking from the heart, even the toughest guy breaks down.
Write Your Own Vows
My first bit of advice is to go ahead and write personal vows. The words are going to mean so much more when you have to actually sit down and come up with your own vows. They will fit who you are and your relationship with your spouse. They will also be easier to remember because of the connection and the amount of time you spent thinking about them.
Now, many of you reading this are already married and did the traditional vows. Perfect. This still can apply to you. Sit down right now with some paper and write out your personal vows. I promise you, it doesn’t matter how long you have been married, your spouse will be blown away by this simple act.
As time goes on and your wedding day is further and further in the past and you’ve settled into life, you tend to forget your vows, and you might even start to slip away from them.
We all need reminders, so here are two ways to keep your vows fresh in your mind.
Create a Visual Reminder
One simple way to keep your vows constantly on your mind is to have a visual reminder. Simply having a visual cue will remind you of the promises you have made every time you see it. There are hundreds of ways of doing this and you are limited only by your imagination. You could create some form of artwork with some of the key phrases from the vows like a cross with words etched into it. I’ve also seen simple posters. If you still have the originals from the wedding, maybe get them framed. That would be cool.
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Renew Your Vows
Even if you have visuals of your vows and you remember them on a regular basis, I suggest you speak them to your spouse at some point. Imagine how much of an impact it would make to take your spouse out on a date and then read your vows to him or her. Maybe you could even make it an event and invite your family and friends to be there as you renew your vows.
What if you did this every year on your anniversary? Imagine how strong your marriage would be! As you make vows important again, and give them the thought and time they deserve, you will be less likely to break your vows and your marriage will be stronger and healthier.
Vows are what start a marriage, so it makes sense to focus more on them throughout your entire marriage. No matter where you are in your marriage, I challenge you to go out today and do something special with your vows. It might be writing your own personal vows or just repeating a phrase from them to your spouse. Whatever it is, do something to remember your vows and you’ll be amazed at how those simple words motivate you to act and to nurture your marriage.
Photo Credit: Bryan Striegler Photography
“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”
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