Every marriage vow is made in honesty – we hope! – and to love, honor, and cherish through sickness, health, riches, and poverty is not only doable in marriage but essential. Some may argue that these vows prove useless when fleshing out a forever marriage, but I would argue otherwise. The misuse of some does not warrant the non-use of others. I digress…
Still, there are some things that aren’t often said during marriage vows that are a real part of promising someone something important. Here are five practical wedding vows you may want to consider adding to your special day.
I promise to make my expectations clear
“Unmet expectations” are high in the list of marital frustrations, but many times it’s because expectations weren’t made clear. “You should expect everything from each other!” Sam Elliott’s character in Have You Heard About the Morgans? exclaims, and I agree. But expectations are as unique as the person who has them, so be specific and clear about what you expect from your spouse in every area of life.
I promise to always believe the best in you
Giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt in all things – finances, child discipline, seemingly ignoring you, etc. will add a trust to your relationship like nothing else. You will also find that, as you believe the best in your spouse, your spouse will in turn work to earn that. And you will also find that you’re generally right when you believe the best!
I promise I will never demean you in public but will always defend your honor
Be your spouse’s biggest fan. Trust me, there will be plenty of others who bring him or her down – you don’t need to be one of them. In the privacy of your home you can, and should, have the difficult conversations if something needs work. But don’t stand for your spouse to be called stupid, a bad cook, or childish, and don’t do this yourself. Nothing is uglier than watching a husband or wife degrade the other in public. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not funny, it’s rude.
I promise to put you before our children
Oh, tough one here! NOW we get real! Children will at times have more pressing needs than your spouse, but this isn’t about letting your kids go hungry while you sit and listen to your spouse vent about his day. This is about the knowledge that you are only one flesh with one person, and that person is not your child. Your child will grow up and one day become one flesh with someone else. You need to ensure that your spouse remains your #1 throughout the child-rearing years so that when your kids leave, you will still be more than roommates. Do not allow your children to interrupt, disrespect, or disobey your spouse.
When we’re with my family, I promise to defend and support you, even if you’re wrong
The in-laws. Need I say more? When you spend time with your family, build your spouse up and never give your family reason to think less of your spouse. If there are problems, your place is at your spouse’s side. Your job is to support and defend the person you chose to spend your life with.