My husband and I had agreed to exchange cards instead of gifts for our 27th anniversary since our finances and time were being consumed by our only daughter’s wedding coming up eight days later.   I pondered what deep words to inscribe into the card and decided to track down our wedding vows and copy those words as my message to him in the card.  I searched through boxes and closets to locate the wedding memory album that contained the vows.  I finally found the book in an obscure corner of a bookshelf and flipped to the proper page.  Memories flooded my mind as I thought about the evening we composed our vows.  Two 22-year-old children who didn’t have a clue of what the years would bring discussing and drafting what we thought marriage would look like.  If I recall correctly, afterward we collaborated on drawing a  mustache and horns on Susan Lucci on the cover of TV Guide.  That shows how mature and ready for marriage we were.  I was shocked at the idealistic words we came up with, which read,

“I commit my life to you before all these witnesses.

I will use all of my tomorrows to the best of my ability to share with you in responsibility of creating a Christian home, full of love and understanding.

I will encourage and support you through all times, both good and bad.

        I promise to always respect you and your ideas, and to never put myself first, but to always build you up.

And I ask you to hold me accountable in keeping God the center of our marriage.

I will be the best mother than I can be to our children.

And I promise to be your best friend for the rest of my life.”

I’ve broken these vows!  How many times in our marriage have I selfishly put my needs above his?  Have I always been the encouragement and support I should have been?  Have we been accountable to one another about keeping God the center of our marriage?  Is our home full of understanding?    I started to panic.

Then I reflected on what we had done right.  We are still best friends, and we’ve devoted ourselves to raising the children we’d not yet met when we wrote these words into amazing adults.

One of those amazing adults lay sprawled across our bed chatting with me two days before her own wedding.  She confided that she hadn’t finished writing her vows.  Now that I knew where ours were located, I pulled the book out and showed her.  Her eyebrows rose as she silently read the promises and she muttered under her breath, “That’s a lot!”

Marriage is an arduous journey, yet so rewarding.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes.  I’ve been so frustrated at times that I couldn’t see straight.  I’ve wondered if we would beat the odds and keep our marriage together.  Yet when I wake up early and watch my husband sleeping beside me, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’m even more in love with him than the day we wrote the vows we’ve broken.