During our first year of marriage, Michael turned to me. I don't remember the context or the occasion for his words, but I remember what he said. "Marriage isn't celebrated nearly enough," Michael said. "How about, every five years, we either throw a big party or go on a trip?"
I agreed and smiled, tucking away what he said in the back of my mind.
Last spring, as our five-year anniversary was approaching, I reminded Michael of those words.
"How about a vow-renewal party to celebrate five years?" I asked him. My little sister was getting married within the year, and I had been looking at wedding blogs and magazines with her. Vow renewals were becoming more popular, and as a romantic, I was smitten with the idea.
He raised his eyebrows quizzically. "What would that involve?"
"It would basically be a party where we have a short ceremony and say our marriage vows again. I think it would be a great chance to celebrate God's faithfulness to us over these last five years."
A week later, after thinking and praying together, we decided to nail down a date. "I love the idea," Michael told me. "We can recommit to one another in front of our community and celebrate the gift of marriage together!"
A Community-Focused Celebration
Michael and I love our marriage, and although our marriage has not (yet) been long in years, we act as a source of counsel, encouragement, and challenge to many other couples in our church, where Michael is a pastor. We are strong proponents of marriage and love helping others catch the vision of biblically centered and peace-filled unions.
Together, we started brainstorming about the deeper purpose of our vow renewal.
"You know, we didn't know any of the people in our church when we got married five years ago," I mentioned to him.
Michael was nodding. "It's crazy, isn't it? Because we moved to a different church, our entire community has changed since the wedding. So many times, I've thought about how strange it is that none of our current friends were there when we got married."
"Right! And I know that they know we're committed to our marriage vows, but there is something really meaningful about speaking vows in front of people who see you week in and week out."
Michael was tapping his pen on the kitchen table. "That's a big part of the reason I'm really getting excited about this party. Saying our vows again—with our friends there—gives us and them a higher level of accountability in our marriage." He stopped tapping his pen and looked at me, then at the list of people we were going to invite. "This will be so fun."