In the months leading up to our wedding ceremony my husband and I were wrestling with words. We had both agreed that we wanted to write our own vows for the ceremony (an option that our officiator had given us), but actually crafting a short paragraph to represent the gravity of marriage proved to be no small endeavor. In fact, it was much harder and time-consuming than we had originally thought. I remember spending hours with paper and pen, trying out phrases only to scratch them out and start over again. Just a few weeks before our wedding we had taken a trip with a group of friends and I spent the better part of an entire day holed up in my hotel room working on those vows. I think he spent just as much time on his.
Eventually I came up with a final draft I was satisfied with, and of course so did he. Our wedding day came like a blur and was over in the blink of an eye. I cherish the memory of the day, but to be honest it happened so fast I can’t really remember many details. All the time spent stringing together those perfect words, the ones that were meant to encompass a lifetime of commitment, seems almost funny in retrospect now that I can’t recall a single one of them.
The truth is, the exact words we used didn’t really matter; we knew what we were committing to. Marriage is a lifelong promise of a mutual commitment to love and help one another, come what may. Our flowery adjectives and carefully selected verbs couldn’t change the very essence of what we knew we were doing: entering into a union that would at times be fun and at times be the hardest thing we’d ever done. The wording of the vows themselves didn’t matter as much as the short, simple words of response: “I do”.
“I do” to listening to you at 1am when I’d rather be sleeping. “I do” to cleaning up your vomit when you’re sick. “I do” to awesome vacations with you and “I do” to Tuesday nights on the couch. “I do” to walking through grief with you. “I do” to finding things to laugh at every day. To a life lived in companionship, through every up and down, “I do”.
I don’t remember the vows I so carefully penned, and neither do I remember his. But I do remember us both uttering those two simple words that have changed our lives. I can never forget that I said “I do”.