Across the Shoreline: What This Would Mean

Our vows were something of a production in the making.  We originally thought we would write them together, but that ended in both of us snapping at each other and one of us walking away (um, that one might have been me. Might have been.).  We eventually decided that we would write them on our own and then compare… and that evolved into “Our vows are a secret to be revealed on our wedding day! And also it’s a contest – most tears elicited wins!”

The contest part was mostly a joke.

We both spent a lot of time scouring the internet for inspiration, and sharing a lot of the inspiration we found.  While we did look at a lot of people’s vows to each other, the ones we came up with were ours, and because of the sacredness of them, I am not going to share them all here.  But! I will share some of them.

“Turtle, 11 months ago, after you finally agreed to marry me, I sat down outside and thought about what this would mean, and here is some of what I wrote:

I know it won’t always be like THIS, it won’t always be the way it is right now, and things change over years and decades.  But I think we could always have this important place for each other, and we could always value each other this way, and have whatever adventures we are having together – in Massachusetts or Oregon or New Hampshire or New York.  With one dog or five… or, fine, just two.  It’s amazing and wonderful and lucky that we can both live the lives that we have individually dreamed about and they can fit together so perfectly, almost make the other’s POSSIBLE, almost fill in the spots we maybe didn’t realize were empty to start with.  I feel blessed to have you.

“Today, I, Bird, take you, Turtle, to be my wife, and, in doing so, I take you to be my partner, friend, and closest family…

“I promise to rejoice with you in the good times and to struggle with you in the bad… I promise to support you and to have faith in you… and to give thanks for you always.

“I realize that we will grow and change in our life together… I promise that I will return to the words we are saying to each other here today and to try always to live by them.  I will be my best self for you, for me, and for us… I am proud from this day forward to be called your wife.”

Then it was Turtle’s turn.

“Bird, you are the sweetest part of my day… Today, I ask you to be my truest companion, my cherished partner, and my wife.

“I promise to love you when love is simple and when love is complex.  I promise to create with you a home filled with joy, kindness, respect, and comfort.  Our home will be abundant with experiences that have shaped – and will always shape – our shared life:  more tea than we could ever hope to drink, a porch filled with plants in various states of aliveness, falling asleep on the couch, figuring out who takes out the dog and who feeds the cats, stopping whatever separate tasks we are engrossed in to dance around the kitchen, and all the other adventures that make up this blessing that is our life.”

AND THEN. I debated not stopping her, my beautiful about-to-be wife, in the middle of her vows.  But then I realized that I couldn’t not stop her: I don’t remember what I said, because I felt bad about interrupting, but I said something and I grabbed her arms as a beautiful hawk flew right over our heads.

I can’t express how powerful this moment was.  The hawk was much closer than you see it in this picture; it was right there.  It felt like a wonderful, beautiful blessing from the world.

After a few minutes, we all recollected ourselves and continued:

“I am unspeakably blessed that I have found my home in you and that one part of our journey has ended and another one begun.”

Turtle’s vows were, I think, the part of the ceremony for which I was most present.  I did not want to miss a word, an ounce of meaning, a look in her eye.  I soaked up those vows.  Funny, though, I also kept thinking, “Ooh, that is GOOD! I should have said that!”

I was going to tell you what my favorite line of her vows were… but I went back and read them again and realized I would have to post all of it, every word.  Each line is full of meaning, intention, and *us*.  I am so lucky, you guys.

How did your vow-writing go, or how do you see it going?  Did you/will you share beforehand, or surprise each other on your wedding day?

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8 Comments

Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement

8 responses to “Across the Shoreline: What This Would Mean

  1. Julie

    The vows were so beautiful! I’m very impressed with what you have chosen to share from both sets of vows. This may be a silly question, but did you have to memorize them? Or did you carry a little index card? My boyfriend and I aren’t engaged (yet) but apparently it’s in the works and we’ve already planned to write our own vows. Is it scary to be in the middle of the wedding and have to remember what the heck you wrote?

    • Oh my, we did NOT memorize them! I knew my nerves would be too shot for that. I had pockets in my dress so I carried both our vows for us, and then we read them. The downside was, since we were reading them, we were looking more at the paper than at each other, and we couldn’t hold hands at the same time (microphone & vows).

      YAY it’s in the works! Can I be excited about that? I am excited about that. Also, if you don’t already read A Practical Wedding, go do it.

  2. Wow, (I need to stop starting comments with the word wow, but in this case I can’t think of anything else). Both of your vows are so moving, touching, and distinctly written for the two of you. I’m a bit in awe. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This brought tears to my eyes. Although it is so personal to your relationship, the amount of love and respect that you both have is evident and reminds me how lucky I am to feel something equally as powerful and real in my relationship with my fiance.

    We are intending to write our vows (our wedding is in four months and 2 days) but I am nervous that I won’t be able to convey the enormity of the commitment and our love in a way that will resonate with both of us and I am concerned that it is a task that will stress her out. Whatever happens I can’t wait to find out!

  4. This post was so sweet. The Hawk flying over must have been amazing! I love that you did stop your wife to share that moment.

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