I recently read an on-line newspaper article about couples who renew their marriage vows.
In the comments underneath the article someone had written, “I wasn’t aware that the vows ran out”.
The comment got me thinking about how many people really do not understand the point of a renewal of vows ceremony.
Of course the vows that you make to one another at your marriage registration or wedding ceremony don’t run out. There isn’t a sell-by date on them.
But they do change.
Like many new politicians, marriages always begin with the best of intentions. The vows of never-ending love and devotion that you make to one another are heartfelt and real, and you really believe that what you’re feeling right now will last forever.
And perhaps, sometimes, it does.
But often, perhaps mostly, it doesn’t. You don’t stop loving each other but your love for each other definitely changes over the course of time. And sometimes that change involves arriving at a crossroads.
At the crossroads you have to choose between honouring the vows that you made on your wedding day, or calling it quits.
For those who honour their vows and soldier on together, their love becomes a new entity. It’s no longer the fluffy, white thing that it was on the day of their marriage. Now it’s real, it’s tangible, it has ragged edges and fragile cracks and it’s being held together with a belief and a determination that the best is yet to come.
And when that marriage, that love, endures and comes through the trials and tribulations that life is, some of us think that that is worth celebrating – especially when we come through it loving each other even more than the day we said those fluffy, white, wedding vows, albeit in a very different way.
So we hold a brand new wedding ceremony, only this time we call it a ‘renewal of vows’.
It’s not the word-for-word renewal of the vows that we made on our wedding day, it’s the renewal of the intention to love each other and be there for each other for the rest of our lives, whatever that holds.
Perhaps we should rename it a ‘renewal of intentions’ because that, in truth, is what it is.
And yes, I believe it’s worth celebrating – sometimes even more than the wedding ceremony itself.