My marriage was over. Over. Over. Over. After eight years, I couldn’t stand this man that I had promised to spend the rest of my life with. I wanted a divorce. I seriously hated him. But God had other plans for us. As exhausting as moving forward was, and as expensive as counseling was, and as embarrassing as admitting that we needed counseling was, it was worth every tear, every sleepless night, every dollar we spent.
It wasn’t easy, but for a year and a half, we trudged through the dark and dreary road of marriage counseling and found hope. Step by excruciating step, we began to see the light. Our marriage literally had to start all over. We had to overcome so many bad habits, so many lies, fears, and feelings of hurt and betrayal. We had to promise each other that in moving forward, our lives would be different.
And that promise included renewing our vows. We started with our ten year, then our fifteen, but this year, we have decided to renew our vows every year. Yes, every year.
Every year that we survive this marriage thing together is a blessing and I want to share what my husband and I have appreciated about renewing our vows…
- It’s more enjoyable. Not that I didn’t enjoy my wedding day, but I hardly remember it. I was smiling, talking to guests, posing for pictures, and freshening my make-up. I was on display the whole day and I didn’t even remember eating the meal. When you renew your vows, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want, for as long as you want, and for any reason you want. We went big for our first vow renewal and shared our promises on a hot air balloon ride. For our second one, we had a small backyard ceremony with close friends and family, and for our sixteenth anniversary this year, we kept it simple–dinner, quick vows during our car ride, and dancing together. We had a blast!
- It’s more relaxing. The pressure is off. There is no long to-do list. All the details of your wedding day that you cared so much about…now…you could care less about. On our wedding day, I was devastated when my grand entrance was ruined by the pianist missing 50 notes while playing “Here Comes the Bride,” but when we were running late for our back yard vow renewal ceremony and our guests had to help put the food out–No. Big. Deal. We just laughed and drank some wine!
- It’s more recent: The farther away you get from your wedding day, the more you forget the feelings you once had for each other. I can’t tell you how many times rereading our new vows have helped me get over a stupid fight I’ve had with my husband. They always remind me about the deep feelings I had for him not so long ago even if he’s driving me crazy today. My marriage still has seasons of struggle, but renewing our vows gives me something to cling to in the dark times.
- It’s more meaningful. I always cry at weddings–partly because I’m in awe of the love and beauty I am witnessing, but mostly because I’m thinking that this couple has no clue what they are in for. When I listen to their vows about being patient and kind, I’m all “Yep, you’re gonna need it!” When was the last time you read your wedding vows? Probably on your wedding day, right? Exactly. But after you’ve gone through all you’ve gone through together and have grown in wisdom as to what really makes a marriage work, the words have so much more power behind them. You can also be real and say “thank you for being there through infertility, depression, and miscarriage.” And “thank you for surviving an eleven day road trip in an RV with my parents.” Plus, your kids getting to hear your promises and commitment to one another is priceless.
- It’s more sexy: Mommy clothes? Bills? Kids? Dishes? Laundry? Not sexy! Busting out your wedding dress (which I highly recommend) or putting on another pretty dress, fixing your hair, putting on make-up, flirting, saying promises to each other, and spending time together can make you feel sexy and vibrant and special. And speaking of sexy…original-wedding-night-sex…awkward. Already-been-married-for-a-while-wedding-night-sex…awesome. Every time we renew our vows, we have some really amazing “wedding night” sex.
Enough said. If that last one doesn’t sell you on renewing your vows, I don’t know what will.
Your marriage is something to be celebrated! Every year matters. Every day matters. Don’t wait. Take time to celebrate and renew your vows to each other…today. Your marriage is worth it.