Redo your “I do’s” (Part 2 of 2)
Maybe the stress of the first time the two of you married is something you don’t want to repeat. Maybe you really don’t want to renew your wedding vows because you’re stressed over money, the kids, the career/s, the in-laws, what others will think or—gulp—you really don’t think you’re in love with your spouse enough to actually do it a second time.
To speak specifically to what I just said about not loving your spouse enough to say “I do” again, hear me out. I think love needs all the space, time, and celebration it can get. Love needs to be loved. Love needs to be coddled, nurtured, and encouraged. You care for your vehicle enough to have its oil changed, why not care enough about love to care regularly for this, too?
Weddings can be money-draining events. But to renew your vows, your outlook, and your love story? We are really talking about a couple hundred bucks here, if that. Sure, a vowel renewal can easily cost thousands, but it doesn’t need to.
Let me change angles here. Parents with single children in the age range of 13 to 17 (or there about) have a concern. Who is my child dating, or who will my child date?
How do we, as a twosome, teach and model appropriate, affirming, and deeply loving relationships to our kids? This question can be dicey, even for the grown child in his or her twenties or even thirties. What can you say, really?
An answer is you can say “I do” again. To teach what love is, and how to model for your children that, imperfect as you are as individuals and as a couple, you make choices about your marriage each day. Why not choose to show your kids, and the whole world, the power of commitment and the beauty of vows?
Maybe we have less marriages these days because we have more and more people not understanding exactly what marriage is. Marriage is hard. Marriage takes trust, silence, action, negotiation, loss, gain, trial, disagreement, tension, compromise, faith and patience. You are vulnerable in marriage. Your heart gets hurt in marriage, too.
So, why do it? After all, cohabitation is easy, less messy, and it’s an easier out if hardships come.
Eighteenth century Church of England clergyman Thomas Adam has said, “As God by creation made two of one, so again by marriage He made one of two.” Adam suggests that in marriage you find and you validate and authenticate your soulmate, your “other half” who completes you. As you take care of yourself, or should take care of yourself, you should also, by extension, take care of your spouse.
Renewing wedding vows is not for everyone, but then again, maybe it is. This can be planned or spur of the moment. Over a secular officiant (and I can speak more on this role), find a pastor so that God is intentionally involved, not alluded to or somehow assumed. You can do this in the church parking lot on a whim, in a park on purpose, or on your living couch because that just seems right. You don’t have to dress up (or down). You don’t have to exchange rings, but you do have to exchange words, vows.
It is true that some marriages need to dissolve. And according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 7a, being single is a great choice for many. But for most couples, give love its place and space. Renew your “I do’s.”
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on August 28, 2019.