I can’t help it. The closer the wedding gets, the more I think about the vows Anthony and I are about to take. Am I ready to say those words? Do I really mean them? With the divorce rate somewhere between 50-60%, a girl’s got to wonder what these vows actually mean, if anything.
It is in these moments of wondering that I’m so, so grateful to be Catholic, to have vows laid out before me. These vows that I’m about to profess before God, Anthony, and our family and friends, will no doubt challenge and stretch me, as well they should. The vows that the Church gives are not always a walk in the park (as the guest posts over the next few weeks will show, but more on that later). Goodness gracious, can you imagine what would happen if we all got to write our own vows, vows that we actually think we’d keep?
I vow to smile at you once a day.
I vow to take out the trash once a month.
I vow that when you look at me with that twinkle in your eye, my heart will fill with love sprinkles.
I vow to occasionally hold your hand in public, but only when I’m not mad at you.
I vow stay with you as long as I feel like I’m in love with you.
I vow to love and sacrifice for you…whenever I feel like it.
Come on, give me a break. Even in my moments of ‘oh my gosh, can I really do this’ I don’t actually want to get up on my wedding day and make some pithy vows. I want to say words that have meaning and that will be lived out every day of the rest of my life with Anthony. I’m not about to get up there and promise him I’ll take the trash out or that I’ll never make him sleep on the couch, I’m about to get up there and pledge my life and soul to him. That’s big, as well it should be.
Marriage is a vocation, a calling, a life-long commitment. It isn’t for the faint of heart and it is certainly not dressing up and playing house. It is handing your life, dare I say your very salvation, over to another living, breathing, beautifully flawed human being. If that is too much for you, if the words are just empty words with no intent of living them out, then don’t do it. If you go up in an airplane with the intent to jump out, but upon flying you realize you are scared to jump you have two options: jump or don’t jump. So it is with marriage and the vows, you have two options: make them and do your best to live them out with each breath you take or don’t make them at all. At the end of the day, what do your words really mean? Something or nothing? Are they empty or are they full? Do they get put into lasting action or are they temporary? Will you do your best to live out your vows for the rest of your days or until the warm fuzzy feeling fades? Only you can decide.
“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?” – Buddha
“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” – Epictetus
“Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” – William Shakespeare
“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” – Socrates
“A word is dead when it’s been said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.” – Emily Dickinson