Wedding Vows

My friend Courtney's wedding was our 4th wedding of the summer, but because of a bunch of different reasons it was the first wedding ceremony I attended. Courtney and her husband, Bart, wrote their own vows. It was important to Courtney, so Bart did it and to use Court's words, he "rocked it" - good stuff. I love weddings and intently listened as they read their vows. It was the best part of my day, hearing how much they love and respect each other.

Their words and the words of the justice of the peace have had me thinking the last few days. They spoke of ideas like, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and through the easy and the difficult. These are important ideas to me - ideas I took very seriously when I spoke my vows to Hugh. The thing that has me thinking is that since Tripp was born and died, we have been living through the worst and the difficult and not once have I thought back to my vows.

The day Tripp died, our family doctor said, "this kind of thing can cause marriages to fall apart" and encouraged us to speak to a counselor. In that moment, Hugh and I were feeling stronger than ever in our marriage, but losing Tripp was tragedy enough. We didn't want to lose our marriage as well, so we took our doctor's advice and sought out a grief counselor. I wanted with my whole being to have our marriage survive the most difficult times in our life, but I have never thought, Hugh and I will get through this because we took our vows. Or even, I need to fight for my marriage, because I took a vow.

Hugh and I made a commitment when we got engaged. We became a family and you fight for your family. The vows we said during our wedding ceremony were just words. The commitment we feel to each other - right down to our very core - is what is getting us through our most difficult times. If you are commited, you will just fight. Words alone won't make you fight for your marriage.

I think that for all great marriages the vows spoken at a wedding are just formality. Great marriages start long before vows are said and they last long after. The emotion and commitment of those who speak the words are what make marriages last.

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