Nancy: My Favorite Love Vows

eight ladies writing, justine covington

(c) Justine Covington

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day spirit, I thought I’d share the wedding vows from my favorite real-life love story: my husband’s and mine. I met my now-husband many, many years ago, when we were very, very young – 17 years old. And decades later, we’re still together, we’re still valentines, and he’s still ‘the one’.

Because we started dating each other at such a tender age, we were together for years before we actually got married (or as my mother-in-law would say, stopped living in sin). By that time, we were mature enough as a couple that our wedding wasn’t so much the marking of a new union as it was a celebration of a long-existing one. We wanted to create our own ceremony that felt spiritual, loving, and commitment-centric. And we wanted to keep it short, because the actual ceremony was outside in June – read: a hot, sticky mess – because love can be practical, too. So with all that in mind, we came up with a ceremony that included our personally written vows (sorry, won’t share those with the great, wide world of the interwebs), as well as some thoughts on love and marriage from multiple cultures/traditions, which I share with you now .

Buddhist Marriage Homily – In the future, happy occasions will come as surely as the morning. Difficult times will come as surely as the night. When things go joyously, meditate and pray. When things go badly, meditate and pray. For meditation and prayer will bring you to the light that will guide your life.

Apache Wedding Prayer – Now we will feel no rain, for each of us will be shelter for the other. Now we will feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth for the other. Now there is loneliness for us. We are two people, but with only one life path before us.

Hindu Wedding Vow – You have become mine and I have become yours forever. We are partners. Hereafter, I cannot live apart from you. Do not live apart from me. Let us share the joys. We are word and meaning, united.

Wedding Blessing – Go into the world and fulfill your lives. Hold fast to your ideals. Give to one another new experiences of joy. Challenge one another that you may grow. May the love that you hold for each other, now sealed in marriage, continue to mature so that your life together may be a source of strength and inspiration to your family and friends, and the wider circle of the world.

For those with a significant other, my wish for you is that you shelter each other, share life’s joys and burdens, and grow together into the people you each want to be. For all our readers, I wish you joy, peace, and love in all its many beautiful forms. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

8 thoughts on “Nancy: My Favorite Love Vows

  1. At my wedding, my maid of honor chose to read from Khalil Gibran.

    Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
    And he answered saying:
    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
    Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
    Love one another but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
    Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together, yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

    I think the best part of it is “as stings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.” Not alone, not lonely, but part of something bigger, and we react in the same ways when brushed by the hand of fate.

  2. I’m all for personalized wedding vows. They’re special for the couple—and they can provide amazing insights for the attendees. I’m recalling a wedding I attended some years ago of a couple I didn’t know very well, where I learned a lot more than I wanted to about the bride and groom on the basis of what they said to each other at the altar.

    • Our personal vows were pretty lovey-dovey stuff, but we did have a ‘roast and toast’ portion of the evening, open to any of our guests to participate. That could have gotten a little dicey, especially with college friends in attendance, but I don’t think there were any hair-raising stories shared (at least, not in front of our mothers ;-)).

  3. Nancy, this post made me think of a post by my current favorite author Tawna Fenske. She got married several months ago and posted the personal vows from the service on her blog, “Don’t Pet Me I’m Writing.” I thought they were a great combination of light-hearted and sincere, as well as the first time I’d ever heard anyone vow to be “your naked alarm clock” or to “grow old disgracefully together.”

  4. Pingback: Elizabeth: Favorite Love Poems | Eight Ladies Writing

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