Why Bother Remembering Wedding Vows?
“To be my wedded husband to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
Forty-two years ago on August 2, I repeated these traditional wedding vows to my husband and he repeated them to me. Little did I know back then what exactly these words meant, but over the course of our marriage, we have experienced every challenge on that list.
For Better, Worse, Richer, Poorer, Sickness, Health,
We started in our poor years. Deciding to live on only one income and raise children too, put pressure on our new union as well as challenged our new commitment to each other. Then we added a mortgage payment to the mix, tightening our meager budget even more.
Those were the days when I added up every item in the grocery cart before I got to the cashier. I did not want to suffer the embarrassment of having to put something back on the shelf because I’d gone over the allotted amount I could spend. Staying within our budget was that important. The financial constraints did not break us, although they did stretch us.
Now that the kids are grown and gone and we’ve paid off our mortgage, we are richer for having experienced those leaner times.
Our first worst time in marriage is easy to remember. We’d been married nine years and suffered the loss of our third born son. To say the least, it was unexpected and at first, our grief kept us apart. Neither of us knew how to comfort the other or how to even talk about how we felt.
Somehow, we found our way through that season by taking small steps together. We learned how to communicate our hurts while at the same time, listening to each other’s hearts. It was the worst of times, but also one of the most intimate of times too. I know we are a better couple and more emphatic individuals as a result of that first worst time.
Sickness, or rather injuries for my husband, the carpenter, have been rather common over the years. Thankfully, more minor mishaps have occurred than major. But there was the year when he severed one of his fingers and we wondered whether or not he’d be able to continue on in his trade.
The wound took a long time to heal and during the interim of waiting, we contemplated our options. If he could not return to carpentry, then what? Should I go back to work? Where would the money come from to pay the bills? It was a worrisome time for us both. Neither of us knew what the future held. The trial of not knowing felt insurmountable. All we could do was to pray and hope for the best. Finally, the best did come. His finger healed and he continued to hammer away in his trade.
The vows we said to one another have come true. We’ve experienced each of the challenges while at the same time, continue to hold, love and cherish each other.
Why bother remembering wedding vows? Remembering our commitments and upholding them brings joy to a lasting relationship.