What You’re Really Doing In Your Vows

Attention is the most basic form of love

Tara Brach

Clippings and jottings and tidbits. . .

I’m constantly noting overheard pieces of conversation – people and moments that strike “my fancy” – excerpts from online articles. I collect and store – and then forget about them because I store them in some oddly labeled folder on my computer.

Now, in these numbing pandemic days, I’m revisiting what I’ve stored away – and I’m surprised. Sure, a lot of it I cannot figure out why I wrote down – whatever it is I wrote – BUT – there are those items that still move me.

Bear with me as I share a few tidbits with you – they’re random and not obviously connected to weddings – BUT – I promise that I will tie them together by the end of this post!

I was moved by a workshop participant, Heather, who began crying because she was afraid of being fired and didn’t know what she would do if she got fired.

A contestant on the reality TV show, “The Great Escape” cried at the thought of leaving the competition, saying the poignant words, “I have nothing waiting for me back home.”  For most of the show he acted like a jerk all so he’d get noticed.

I guest spoke in the college class of a professor friend of mine, who screamed at a student because she came late. My friend accused the student saying, “you don’t appreciate me.”

A clerk at a local store smiled broadly when I complimented her. She brushed off my compliment with, “I’m just doing my job.” And I quickly replied,  “You were just doing your job, BUT not everyone does their job as well as you do yours.”

I once gave a sermon in which I said that the great gift of Jesus is that He is the reassurance that God recognizes us. I reread that line from the sermon and thought, “Wow! That’s deep!” I’m not sure I have the same faith as I did thirty years ago when I wrote that line. . .

What do any or all of these snippets have to do with weddings?

Each of these vignettes flashes on a person who is afraid of being unrecognized and unappreciated. 

And what I’ve learned from my work as a communications coach and trainer is that each one of us has a deep need and yearning to be SEEN, to be recognized, to be understood.

If you think about it, a wedding is THE day of recognition and appreciation.

What are your vows, if not words of recognition and appreciation for who your partner is in your life and for what they have contributed to your life.

In your vows, you say, “I see you for who you are and I love you.”

In your vows, you say, “I pledge to see you for who you are all the days of our life together.”

Your vow is your pledge to be THE witness to your partner’s life.

LOVE is the faithful act of appreciating, recognizing and witnessing this remarkable person who is your partner.

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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