If You Could Write the Vows Now

I have attended quite a few weddings in my life and remember the usual vows taken in these ceremonies. Here’s a sample:

“I take you to be my lawful wedded wife/husband, promise to love and cherish you, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and forsaking all others keep myself only unto you, for so long as I live.”

But what do those words mean? Love. Cherish. Sickness. Health. Richer. Poorer. Better. Worse. How do those get lived out day after day, year after year, for the rest of your lives together?

Now I’m not a big fan of the old sitcom Roseanne starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. However, there is a scene that has stuck with me. In one episode, the characters Dan and Roseanne Connor have accompanied two friends to Las Vegas for help them get married. At the end of the friends’ ceremony, Dan and Roseanne — who have been married for many years — have a chance to renew their vows. Check out the scene. (I’ll wait.)

Having been married quite a few years now myself, I wonder about rewriting the vows. Should the vows be more descriptive, more practical, more blunt?

More specifically, how about the line above “forsaking all others keep myself only unto you”? Yes, we pledge that, just as many of us understand the commandment “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 8:14). But what does that look like in marriage?

My focus on this blog has been sexuality within marriage, and I have heard the struggles of couples who love each other in many ways but are not loving and cherishing as God expects in the bedroom. So I wonder if I went for the Roseanne model and reworded the wedding vows to be more detailed, what could that look like?

…forsaking all others keep myself only unto you. Not only will I “keep it in my pants” around others, so to speak, but I will actively avert my eyes from things that might pull my sexual attention away from you. I won’t look at pornography or ogle others of the opposite sex. I won’t compare you to people from my past or characters in a movie, TV show, or book.

I will make myself sexually available to you and you alone. If I am disinterested in being with you intimately because of my history or hormones or depression or whatever other cause, I will communicate with you and seek help to remedy the issue. I will take my time to develop an intimate relationship with you. I will approach our intimacy as an “us” thing, not merely as a get-me-satisfied thing. I will not demand that you perform sexual acts with which you are uncomfortable, but I will also remain open to ideas that do not contradict God’s Word.

I will do what I can to maintain my health and appearance, and I will focus on your attractive qualities and recognize that bodies change and age happens. I will learn about your body and my body, about sexuality in general, and most importantly about God’s desire for our intimate life together. I will make time for you and our physical intimacy. I will do everything in my power to make it easy and joyous for you to keep yourself only unto me.

Frankly, I would put a few more things in there like “I promise to never wear another pair of whitey-tighties” (don’t like ’em) and “I promise not to fart in bed” (that kills the mood). Maybe you have a few of those too.

And off the topic of sex, I might add getting stuff actually into the laundry hamper, killing the roach without mocking my scream, and not ever-ever wearing that ugly sweater that you know I hate. Then again, I’m sure my husband would have a long list for me!

But kidding aside, we should think about our vows — what they really mean. We promised something to our spouse at the altar. Yes, we said that we would stay together “for better or worse” but we want more of our marriage to be better than worse. We want to always seek that loving, cherishing, keeping to one another experience. What would it look like if we carried out our vows fully, becoming one flesh daily and not simply on that one ceremonial day?

If you could say your vows again, what would you say or want said by your spouse? How would you describe your wishes for your intimate life with your mate?

22 thoughts on “If You Could Write the Vows Now

  1. Julie Sibert

    As usual, fabulous creative post Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous! If my husband and I did our vows again, we would definitely have some funny stuff too. And some serious stuff.

    Over the years of marriage, I have learned to not expose my husband’s weaknesses. So, I would throw in a vow along these lines… “I promise to try to truly understand you so that I won’t be insensitive or careless with regard to the areas where you struggle. I promise to come along side you in those journeys where you are trying to grow.”

    With regard to sex, I love the vows you wrote in the post. I would add, “I promise to never take our intimacy for granted or to buy into lies that married people don’t have hot sex.”

    Thanks again Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous. You’re wise. When I grow up, I want to be like you!

    1. J

      Regarding “grow up,” is that your nice way of saying I’m older than you? LOL. 😉

      Great suggestion for your vows. It’s once you’ve been married for a while that you realize where the weak areas are and where your vows need to focus. And I agree that married people really can have hot sex! I’m thrilled that you promote that so well on your site. Wonderful stuff, Julie.

    2. Julie Sibert

      I’m like a grasshopper at your feet, oh wise one. 🙂 You’re not that much older than me, so I can’t be picking on you about age. Maybe we are both wise?! I’m not sure. Older I get, the more I realize how little I know. (Just don’t tell my kids!)

  2. Christy

    Hmmm….this is a good one. Well, we are about to celebrate 15 years but I think I would have added to our vows;”I promise not to put you up on a platform so high you are never allowed to fail. I will only look up to the Lord in that way and set my expectations as such that you are human and you are allowed to have faults. I will not allow you to be my everything because it will make you miserable and me sad.” Amen. The end. Ha! I learned all this of course but it took A LONG time and it caused my husband lots of hurt and unwanted stress in our marriage. I share that with every marriage that is struggling. Take your eyes off of your beloved and turn them upward.

    1. J

      Beautifully put, Christy. I love the line “Take your eyes off of your beloved and turn them upward.” I think having the focus on God means that you can then look at your beloved the way his Heavenly Father sees him and love even better in your marriage. Thanks.

  3. Anonymous

    What about if your husband has already committed adultery? How do you get back to actually wanting to be with him physically?

    1. J

      Slowly. Every story I’ve ever heard or read about a married couple who recovered from an affair involved certain things: confession and transparency by the unfaithful spouse; forgiveness from the other spouse; a willingness to work on the marriage; and easing back into a relationship of trust. Since sex is one of the most vulnerable things you can do with another, it can be even more nerve-wracking to let go with your mate sexually when he has violated your trust.

      I recommend searching out resources to help. There are several who have walked this road and can speak better about how to tread. Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage has shared some resources with me:
      Traylor and Melody Lovvorn: Divorced & remarried. http://www.ragamuffinreflections.com/story/
      Gary and Mona Shriver: Wrote a book called Unfaithful, and now minister to couples who have experienced infidelity. http://hopeandhealing.us/canacoupletrulyheal.html
      Jenni and Brian Clayville: http://www.jenniclayville.com/my-journey/ Also, http://www.jenniclayville.com/affair-week/
      There are many books and websites about affair recovery as well.

      My heart goes out to you. And I will say a prayer for the total restoration of your marriage. Blessings.

  4. Erin (Mystery32)

    Love this, especially the “not farting in bed” line. 😉 If I were to say new vows to my husband, I do think I would add in promises of sexuality. Standing on that altar as virgins, we had no idea the challenge that would come along with making sex good and frequent. We were so oblivious to what sex really was and just thought it would be something we could never get enough of! Ok, he still feels that way… 😉 Sex is such an important commitment to make to our spouse and something never to be withheld. Not only does this make hubby (and wife too!) happy, but it also keeps the threat of adultery away. Thanks, J!

    1. J

      Absolutely, Erin. We don’t often think of sexuality as a challenge, but having a lifetime of fulfilling intimacy with a mate can stretch us. In fact, I think God throws all kinds of things our way to stretch us. The good news is that He blesses us with such wonderful experiences if we commit to the goal of one flesh in marriage – physically and otherwise. Blessings!

    2. Anonymous

      I agree with all of these, but would like Erin to know that frequent great sex does not always keep the threat of adultery away, but it is a great start! You must also be talking openly, sharing feelings , and trully listening to each other.

  5. Nicole

    I believe that people don’t think about their vows very often after the day is done! I love the idea of posting them somewhere in your home as well. Thank you for the posting!

    Be blessed!

    1. J

      You’re welcome, Nicole. I also like the idea of posting your vows somewhere. I do have hanging in my home an Indian blessing that was read at my wedding, and the reminder of that wording is good. I do think my vows above are too long to fit on a plaque, though. 🙂

  6. Kristi

    Hmmm…this one is really good, J! I’d definitely place in there that I vow to listen before I begin to formulate a response(can I just say that I really stunk at that when we first married?!). I would also put in there that I promise to NOT press those hot buttons in the middle of an argument (15 years of marriage will teach you that that is just stupid!). I promise to be intentional in my loving, praise and kindness. If we wrote vows now, I’d also have to add that I’m really glad I chose him…I’d make the same choice again.

    1. J

      Thank you, Kristi. Ah, the hot buttons. We figure those out pretty quickly, don’t we? It takes longer to figure out not to press them! Great point.

      Also love your statement “I’d make the same choice again.” My hubby and I have been through some really tough times, but I’d choose him again as well. God has taught us both so much, and our marriage is better than ever.

  7. mrsmwiti

    Humorous & interesting post. 🙂

    The first to be forgotten is usually TO CHERISH..

    Mostly , familiarity breeds contempt rather than more cherishing.

    1. J

      I love that word CHERISH. One of Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definitions for the word is “to keep or cultivate with care and affection.” Amen. Thanks, Mrs. Mwiti.

  8. Anonymous

    i would add in i promise to pay attention to your feelings and try to be more available not always putting the kids first… also i will learn to speak my mind and tell you what i think 🙂

  9. K

    Right now, it’s so hard for me to read these Christian marriage blogs because my husband and I are having a honeymoon baby in early March. I want to be sexually available like I was for a short time before the weight gain and fatigue truly set in. My husband is more attracted to me than ever, the bigger I get, however, I have no desire to return his intimacy and we’ve only been married about eight months. How do I continue? He really is so understanding about how I feel but I feel like I should try to understand him more and just go with it.

    1. J

      I have had a topic kicking around in my head for a while. I’m going to move it to the top of the list – next week. It will cover that time in my marriage when our sex life stunk. Unfortunately, that time was right around childbearing. Right before and after having a baby are two of the hardest times for a woman to be interested in sex. Your entire body has already been invaded by another being; you don’t feel like inviting further invasion, so to speak. Not to mention that you hardly recognize your body to begin with!

      So basically, I feel for you, K. It can be a challenge to be sexually available during this time. However, looking back (ah, delicious hindsight!), I wish I had done some things differently. Please hang in there, check back here to my blog, and I will be sure to write a post speaking to the expecting and young moms out there.

      Saying a prayer for you.

  10. Mrs. Right

    “I take you to be my lawful wedded wife/husband, promise to love and cherish you, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, and forsaking all others keep myself only unto you, for so long as I live.”

    For me and my Mr. Right, we didn’t have a wedding, as it was a second marriage for both and we wanted something private, but these words were definitely in our hearts and minds. The past 8 years have been such an amazing blessing as we have come to be true best friends forever. We have loved and cherished each other no matter how much money we have or don’t have (and I can tell you we’re pretty near penniless, but still consider ourselves rich in things that matter). We’ve been through terrible tragedies that have brought much heartache but have drawn us even closer together. We’ve had to forsake many others, not in the avoidance of adultery, but in losing family and friends who hurt and betrayed us and would have delighted in our marriage falling apart.

    The words we say, the promises we make, are so very important. Life never turns out quite the way you hope or expect, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.

    At the moment I can’t think of anything I would add to these traditional words, except that I would promise to not force him to eat chili 😉

    1. J

      Love it! Thanks for sharing on my site. I’m enjoying your comments, even if I can’t respond to them all.

      Blessings to you and the hubby. I pray for the couples who come here!

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