Vows

Vow | a solemn or earnest pledge or promise binding the person making it to perform a specified act or behave in a certain way (Collins dictionary).

A guy  I work with recently got married, and of course posted the wedding YouTube video to Facebook. I cried into my porridge and wrecked my work makeup.  It wasn’t the Bali garden setting, with the view of the ocean over a stone wall, or the flowers that adorned everything or the trendy macramé curtain that framed the couple beautifully under a wooden arbour, that had me weeping. It was their vows. Vows that were their own words written with thought, truth, humour and love.

When I was a bride to be, all I wanted was to marry Scott and have his babies. With everything in me down to my soul I wanted to be the wife to my first love.  I wanted the traditional Catholic Church wedding, with the white dress, standing before God, family and friends being tied to Scott forever. The Catholics have their own script and order of service for the wedding ceremony and at the time I was okay with that. The only thought I put into my vows was that I would not vow to “obey”.

The day of our wedding, I couldn’t wait to get to the church, (I was 20min early). Walking with my Mum on my left and my Dad on my right, and my sisters walking in front of me. I smiled and waved and said hello to family and friends, as I walked towards my guy in the black suit looking like he wanted to vomit or curse me for taking so long to get to him. When I finally did reach him I couldn’t take my eyes off him, all we had to do was say “I do” after the Priest recited the words and vows that bound us.

Priest: Scott, do you take Melinda for your lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Scott: I do.

Priest: Melinda do you take Scott for your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?

Melinda: I do.

After 15 years of marriage, the words that I vowed to live my married life by seem shallow, weak and immature. (That opinion is coming from a place of experience, time, hindsight, trials and love).

I wish I would have had a heart-to-heart to the women in my family, extended family and friends about being a wife and the relationship of marriage. I was so young the concept was of marriage was romantic and exciting. I wish I had my Grandmother, mother, and aunties share their wisdom and insights into being a wife.  What is the joy in their marriage and the difficulties in their marriage?  In hindsight I would of crafted deeper, authentic words and my own personal promises instead of; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

8 Comments

  1. That’s an amazing honesty and insight Melinda. Alain de Botton is writing a lot about Romanticism right now. And the failings in the ideology of warm, fuzzy being the default emotio in a monogamous marriage. It’s a bit different to what you’re saying but there is crossover. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Westendgal. I will Google Alain de Botton would love to read some of jis work.

  2. I’m with you. I ask myself though, if I did have the understanding that I do now, would I have changed my vows? Would it change the way I feel? Would I be in a better place?

  3. So true …… and is something that at times makes me want to do it all again …. get married …. to the same man, renew our vows, and for those words to convey a much deeper meaning. I don’t actually think that you can express the depth of your intent though, at the beginning. It’s only with hindsight a decade or more in (25 years for John & I now!) that you feel and carry the weight of a marriage, everything that it is. You cant express that until you’ve lived it entirely. Nowadays people marry later and have lived together for much longer usually with perhaps more maturity and life experiences behind them before marriage. I was like you, young and married Catholic so was quite naive with the ceremony and all. Just following how it was ‘done’ and not having strong emphasis on making it OUR wedding. It was all rather amateurish also pre 2000 I feel. Now the bar has been raised and how you ‘do a wedding’ is much more than it was back then. But perhaps it’s all marketing …. the slick vows and stylised themes amongst the most gorgeous settings with beautiful food that makes us yearn to do ours again hasn’t made a difference to the success of marriages in general. I guess we have a bad case of wedding envy 🙂

  4. Thank you for such a beautiful, honest post. My partner and I have decided to never marry, but every now and then I take the time to tell him how grateful I am that I have him, how much he has changed my life for the better and how much he has taught me about myself. Of course, I always tear up, and he just smiles at me, but it’s something that I’ll never stop doing.

  5. This is really true! The wedding is just the very beginning of a lifetime of ups and downs. Some people think they (and the relationship) has “made it” if they reach the wedding phase – not true! This is where the wonderful lesson of a shared life starts 🙂 I write about inspiring women and fashion here 🙂 feel free to check it out Iris Lillian

    1. Thanks so much for having a read. Glad you connected with the writing. Will definitely check out Iris Lillian.

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