EXPANDED WEDDING VOWS FOR A MORE COMPLICATED GENERATION
by Dr Kelly Flannigan and reposted from his blog Untangled.
You can find more of Dr Kelly’s writing on his blog: Untangled. What is UnTangled all about? In short, UnTangled is a place to explore the redemptive life. For thoughts about redemptive living, you can read my post, “How to Find Passion, Peace, and Purpose (Without Looking for Them): An UnTangled Mission Statement.”
One part of the wedding which many couples struggle with is the Vows. Here is a unique set of vows with a new twist that you may wish to incorporate into your wedding. Lisa.
In the name of God, I, ____, take you, ____, to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part…
Though I pledge myself to you today, my sense of worthiness will never depend upon the way you love me. I have a divine Light within me that exists independent of how anyone treats me, including you. You cannot make it brighter, nor can you extinguish it, no matter what you do. And you have the very same Light within you. From this day forward, I will honor your Light, and you will honor mine. This will become the rhythm of our marriage, and it will be called grace.
Though I promise to have and to hold you, I will not expect you to remove all of my loneliness. Because no human being can do that for me. Instead, I vow to make my loneliness available to you, to share it with you, not as a way of erasing it, but as a way to intermingle it with yours. In this way, our wounds will not vanish, but they will give birth to something new. It will be called belonging.
Though I promise to love and to cherish you until death do us part, I also swear that our marriage will not become the sole purpose of my life. Our home will not be the end all and be all of my search for meaning. Rather, it will be a safe place for each of us to dream our dreams, an open space in which to discover our passions, and an empowering place from which we can both launch ourselves into the world, to love and cherish it, as well. In this way, our marriage will become something bigger than itself, and that thing will be called compassion.
Today, I pledge this to you: I am not entering this marriage to lose myself, but I am also not entering into this marriage to hold on to myself. I’m entering into this marriage to live one of the great paradoxes of existence: that we are now merged as one, but also not. We are together and apart. Close and distant. United and alone. Fused and free.
Today, we pledge to let our marriage, slowly, over the course of years and decades and a lifetime, reveal to us one of the great mysteries of existence: every person is entirely separate from every other person, and entirely connected to everyone else, as well. And in this way, our marriage will become a part of something ancient and sacred. It is called unity.
This is our solemn and holy vow.
Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Disclaimer: Kelly’s writings represent a combination of his own personal opinions and his professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with him via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Kelly does not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accepts no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.