It’s been six years since Tiffani and I exchanged marriage vows. Like most soon-to-be-married couples, we had an idea of what marriage would look like. We watched “chick flicks,” read a few marriage books and spent time with older married couples.
Looking back, I realize I didn’t know much at all about marriage. The words I promised Tiffani at our wedding were idealistic and romantic. This isn’t much different from the traditional marriage vows you hear at most weddings. “To have and hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”
There’s nothing wrong with these marriage vows. But, seriously. Who really understands what they mean?
I know what you’re thinking. Why do marriage vows matter?
Here’s why. Marriage vows are promises. But not just any promises. Vows are markers that guide your marriage. So, while I’m not against writing vows Casanova would applaud, I am against marriage vows that are more romantic and emotional than practical and honest.
In a culture that idolizes romantic love, we don’t need any more Shakespearean vows. We need marriage vows that will shape and impact marriages.
Truthful Marriage Vows
Here are 12 truthful marriage vows you won’t hear at a wedding.
1) I promise to never flirt, lust or desire the attention of someone of the opposite sex.
When you get married, you vow faithfulness to your spouse. You vow exclusivity to them. You promise to never flirt, lust or seek attention from the opposite sex. You promise to protect your mind from images that aren’t your spouse.
You don’t listen to music that degrades people. You don’t allow your eyes to view images or watch shows portraying people as objects and relationships as indispensable. These are obvious, right?
But when you vow exclusivity to your spouse, you vow more than physical purity. You vow emotional purity as well. You promise to never confide in a secretary at work or be flattered by someone of the opposite sex.
Emotional purity is much less obvious than physical purity, but it’s just as destructive. You must fight to give all of your emotions, your desire to impress, your attention, struggles, heartaches and everything in between to your spouse. These don’t belong to other people. Fight for purity, both physically and emotionally.
2) I promise to never expect a 50/50 marriage.
There’s no such thing as a 50/50 marriage.
You can’t keep score in a marriage. There’s no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. That’s a contract.
Give 100 percent of yourself every day. Some days, 100 percent won’t be much. But on those days, trust your spouse will pick you up. Regardless, let go of this give-and-take idea.
Just give. Giving is the essence of love and the heart of the one who created marriage, God.