Mrs. Happy and I used traditional vows at our wedding. Now whenever we attend a wedding where the bride and groom exchange the traditional vows, we effectively renew our own. That’s why we chose to use words that have been spoken by millions of others in the past and hopefully millions more in the future. That’s why tradition is so powerful. That’s part of why I don’t like it when couples write their own vows. I also dislike that practice because most people don’t have the ability to succinctly express their feelings, so they tend to give flowery speeches that say nothing. Even when people know how to articulate what they feel, I don’t think feelings should even be mentioned in wedding vows—a vow is a promise and not a statement of emotion, and original vows also tend to leave out the promise.
Having said that, I should also say that I have never understood the practice of formally renewing wedding vows. I don’t disapprove, but no one has ever explained to me the reasons for it. People I respect have renewed their vows, several times in some cases, so I think there must be something to it; I just don’t know what. Still, it occurs to me that there may be some merit in periodically reminding my wife of what I promised her eight years ago. It also occurs to me that if I remind her in private, I don’t need to concern myself with tradition for the benefit of witnesses, which frees me to write something original.
I spoke traditional vows to my bride at our wedding. I’ve learned a lot about her, about myself, and about in the years since then, and this is now my vow to her:
I, Curt, promise you, Happy Bride, that I will love, honor, and cherish you for the rest of my life. I will do my best to provide for you, protect you, encourage you, equip you, and celebrate you in your beauty. I will treat your hardships as my own and comfort you in your troubles. I will make it my mission to deserve your devotion and be worthy of your respect. I will set an example for our children and work alongside you to raise them with love and discipline. I will grow with you, laugh with you, cry with you, dance with you, offend you, beg your forgiveness, bear your offenses, and always forgive you. I will love you with all of my soul, with all of my mind, and—as long as I have both breath and blood—with all of my body. I thank God now and forever that he has brought us together.