Renewing Your Wedding Vows

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused” Paulo Coelho

I’m noticing a trend towards couples renewing their wedding vows more recently.
From celebrities to friends and acquaintances, they all seem to be doing it. So, it got me thinking about their reasons.

Can you recall what those first promises were?

There are many cultures and religions, each having its own promises, vows or statements made by the couple, either implicit or explicit. But the common thread running through them is that each will love the other, excluding all others, despite adversity, including health, financial
situation or illness, until death. Those promises are made in front of friends and family and in some cases, God. The promises certainly encompass most eventualities. In other words, unconditional love. I wonder if that’s really possible.
I also considered that when these couples first made their vows they didn’t fully understand what they were getting into.
I married when I was 22, and I had a very romantic view of the relationship. I didn’t really know my new husband that well, as we met and married within 18 months, and didn’t live with each other beforehand. My rose-tinted
spectacles were firmly in place, caught up with all the excitement of the dream wedding, and firm beliefs of living happily ever after in a cottage in the country with roses round the door and 2.4 children. Some of that did materialise by the way. So when I made those vows and promises, I fully bought into them. But I recognized later I had a very naïve view of life. I thought we would be able to overcome anything that life threw at us. But I don’t think I was fully prepared for what could happen, or how I might react. Certainly at times neither of us had the skills to deal with some of that difficult stuff successfully. So, I am curious when couples decide to renew their vows to each other, if there is an element of
“ We made it through the tough times and survived it, let’s celebrate that’.

Surviving challenging life event

Life can throw some real curve balls at times. When couples have
experienced things like major health issues, serious issues around their children, job losses, financial hardship, and got through it they may well decide that renewing their vows is a reinforcement of how precious their love is.
A declaration of love for each other. Some couples just want to celebrate their love for each other, and that they have truly found their partner in life. Their love has deepened with each passing year, acknowledging that they can’t agree on everything, that they will have differences and possibly at times not even like each other. But it hasn’t shaken their commitment to stay together and work things out. And so they decide to celebrate this by renewing their promises to each other when reaching a milestone anniversary – maybe at 1, 5, 10, 25 years. There are some couples who do this every year, perhaps as a reminder.

A desire for a religious ceremony

If the first ceremony was a civil one, the couple may want to make it a religious
occasion, feeling that whilst their initial wedding was legally binding, they want a religious blessing too. Or perhaps they want to celebrate with certain family members or friends who were unable to attend the first ceremony.

A fad and an excuse for a party.

I wonder whether some people do it because it is the trend. Friends are doing it, so it seems like a good idea. All that romance and excitement, an excuse for the wife to wear the dress she couldn’t afford the first time, recreating all the glamour and
excitement of the flowers, cake, and the venue. It could be they envisage having the wedding they dreamed of having the first time and didn’t. Now they have the ability to have a much more lavish event. I have even heard someone say it would be a good excuse to go away and spend some time together! Surely they don’t have to have an excuse to do that. Will reliving the fantasy really make the marriage stronger?

Fixing the relationship

Has the shine has gone off the marriage, has it become dull, boring or neglected like a shabby piece of furniture? Ask yourself whether renewing the promises they make to each other will reignite the passion and excitement.

If one of them has strayed, cheated, had an affair, they may feel guilty and want to prove to their partner they are sorry, and demonstrate to their partner their commitment to making it work.Sometimes when things are desperate, and there seems no way forward for one or both of them, they may have reached breaking point and are contemplating divorce. They cling to hope that by reaffirming their promises it will breathe some life into the relationship

Sadly none of these things alone are likely to resolve the issues. Words alone are not enough. Positive actions demonstrate commitment to each other and make the relationship work.

For any couple considering renewing their wedding vows or promises to each other, whether it be a simple celebration or a lavish event, think long and hard as to the reasons for doing so. It doesn’t really matter what they are, the important thing is that you are doing it for you and each other.
Wendy Capewell author of: From Surviving to Thriving in a Romantic Relationship

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