More Thoughts On Writing Your Vows

All I know is what I have words for.

Wittgenstein

It’s not often that I get to quote the tortured philosopher Wittgenstein in a wedding post! I like that notion, though, that we can only know what we have words for.

When not officiating weddings I’m a corporate communications coach and trainer. One aspect of communications that I emphasize in my workshops is that words have power. Words are magic BECAUSE words create reality.

Think about it. 

Do you recall in the early days of dating, how you would introduce your partner simply with their name. Then, one day, you said, “This is my boyfriend. . .” “This is my girlfriend. . .” and with those simple words there was a shift in the nature and quality of your relationship!

And now you’re searching for the words for your vows – words that honor the reality of your relationship – that honor who you are and who you want to become alongside this person.

It makes sense that brides and grooms more times than not feel intimidated by the task!

How do you find the words for what you know?

Vows are a commitment. 

Vows are a promise. 

And vows are act of gratitude. 

So, yes, you need to know what you are prepared to promise, to commit to doing and being. BUT, before you can promise and commit, you have to know what you are grateful for – in your partner – in your own self – in the life you’ve created already.

This means, you need to remember and acknowledge what your life is built on – what the life you’ve created together is built on.

Success coach Marla Diann believes:

The tool to guarantee a successful, well-lived year is making a list of your top 10 values and living by them every-single-day.

The only way to break through FEAR is to know your top values and make daily decisions by those. 

The symptoms when we don’t live by our values are: drama, lack of enjoyment, mundane existence, discontentment, confusion, uncertainty, to name a few.

Perhaps before writing your vows, you and your partner go off and write down what you understand to be your own Top 10 Values + your top 10 Values as a couple.

Remembering your values – together – will offer you clarity as you head off to compose your vows.

There’s more. . .

Matt Cheauvront of the award-winning ad agency, Proof Branding, maintains he and his team are: 

committed to the daily completion of these simple, yet purposeful 6 things in an effort to actively pursue the core values we espouse:

  1. WE FOCUS ON PEOPLE.
  2. WE KEEP IT SIMPLE.
  3. WE GO ALL IN.
  4. WE HAVE FUN.
  5. WE LEARN EVERY DAY.
  6. WE’RE HONEST.

Okay, I know that you and your partner are not an ad agency (at least I presume you’re not!) BUT as you set about writing your vows, I invite you to consider – what are you committed to in your daily life together?

It strikes me that Matt’s credo actually makes for a solid couple’s credo:

 focus on each other’s needs 

avoid needless drama 

go all in when you agree on something  

have fun in what you do together 

learn each day from each other 

be tenderly honest with each other

Hmm. . .now those are some vows!

One of my fav writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, described “soul mate” this way:

A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A soul mate’s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in. 

Exhilarating. And scary in a way!

I hear that term, “soul mate” frequently in the exchange of personal vows. 

What does that term mean to you? 

To your partner? 

And have you had a conversation prior to the start of your ceremony in which you explained how the other is your “soul mate” and how you want to live out being their “soul mate?”

In one of his poems, e.e.cummings writes this wonderful image:

(now the ears of my ears awake and

now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

As you go about writing your vows –

Don’t worry about your nerves.

Don’t worry about crying.

Don’t worry.

Simply gift your partner with your vows – with your ears awake and your eyes opened!

Are you thinking of writing personal vows to each other?

If so, I invite you to check out my book –

How to Write Your Vows: Giving Voice to What Is Deep Within

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