The Vows

All Photographs by  Michelle Boyd

All Photographs by Michelle Boyd

Originally published in The Homecoming Issue.

After the bubbles have been blown, cake eaten, the last photo snapped, guests waved goodbye, and the plane returned from a week in paradise, what remains? You and I. Our vows. Sweet words we whispered to each other standing at the altar before God. Promises we made to one another for the rest of our days on this earth - words so intimate but full of conviction.

One, five, ten and twenty years after the day you walked down the aisle clothed in white your memories of that most special day fade more and more. While our vivid memories start to slip away, the promises we made to each other only continue to permeate and guide more of the decisions we make as a couple. As we age life’s curve balls tend to be a bit swifter and have a bit more sting. How thankful we are that we’ve had time to grow in our marriage and root ourselves in our commitment to each other so we are better equipped to handle them.

For better or worse. Like anything else, marriages run through phases, highs and lows. In the midst of the valleys and even on top of those peaks it’s easier than any of us would like to admit to stop pursuing our partner. While the diversion of our attention to the person, place or thing driving the shift might be the furthest thing from malicious, the result is a spouse who no longer feels like your beloved but rather an afterthought and far from important in your life. From there, it’s so easy for that person to begin resenting their spouse and whatever person or thing has captivated their attention.  Never stop pursuing each other.

For richer or poorer. Oh, what fun it is to travel and go on fancy dates! While this may be all that we see on social media, there is something so rewarding about a quiet night at home intertwined on the couch laughing and sharing with each other, no distractions to be had. Most of the richest experiences in a marriage cost nothing other than your time with each other. And while there is no doubt that money makes life more comfortable, money does not make life any fuller. Love makes life fuller. Money can find a way to be a root of distraction and discord, both when in abundance or in absence.

In sickness and in health. Many marriages begin at a time in our lives where we feel invincible. Typically cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease are nowhere near on the radar. The reality is more than likely a marriage will be tasked to weather the storm of imperfect health at one point or another. Having a spouse that knows their role is two-fold, to be your partner in riding the emotional highs and lows and also to be your reminder that life is still beautiful makes an absolute difference in the outlook and mindset of the one fighting.

To love and to cherish. This is such a simple concept, but often the hardest to live out. We’re all so easy to love on the days we are floating through life and all is right in our world. But those days when you feel so ugly inside and out and that other person still manages to cherish you despite that fact, those are the days to celebrate.

Until death us do part. Commitment. Forever. Often these are the mere words that make immature, young minds quiver. Commitment and monogamy somehow find a way to have a negative connotation in the minds of some people, but I stand firm in my belief that these words can only be things to fear when you are forcing a long-term commitment with the completely wrong person. When you are doing life with the right person suddenly until death isn’t even long enough. With your best friend, the one who encourages your hearts desires, judges nothing you confide, can always find a way to make you smile, and loves you with reckless abandonment, there will never be enough time.

Vows are so much more than simple words. The vows you take on your wedding day are a covenant between the both of you and God that the foundation of your marriage is built upon. On days when frustration or anger creeps into my marriage I’m so thankful to have our vows to refresh my attitude. The man who in this moment is driving me crazy is the same one I promised to love in all situations- and he promised the same to me. Remembering this and taking a few deep breaths sometimes is all it takes to reset my mindset.  

When I think back to standing at the altar with my husband, I can’t help but smile. We were so young, naïve, and nervous. In fact, we spent the entire ceremony whispering to one another trying to forget all the people staring at us. Aside from our nerves being so evident to everyone, I think the true love we had for each other was even more obvious. There was no doubt that on that day each of us was marrying our best friend. While the vows we chose to exchange that day might be different from the ones my parents or another friend chose, they all are an expression of love, respect, and admiration for another soul that you are promising to cherish with an unmatched level of tenderness and guard more fiercely than any other thing on this earth.

Full Image Gallery

Full Story Credits: Creative Styling and Design by Mayhar Design Photographs by Michelle Boyd Photography Located at Lost Mission Floral Design by Bricolage Curated Florals Calligraphy by Whitney Farnsworth Bridal Gown by Rivini via Julian Gold Tuxedo by Billy Reid Austin Silk Ribbons and Hand Dyed Fabrics by Silk & Willow Hair Styling by Vanessa Rios Make Up by Mandy Morrison Decorative Rug provided by A Little Room via Rooms and Gardens