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Renewing Our Vows

Renewing Our Vows

This simple act of recommitment can remind you why you married in the first place
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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."

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Related Topics:Commitment; Marriage; Renewal

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July 15, 2013  7:56am

Hi! This was a great article. My husband and I are renewing our vows this Saturday. We were married 12/19/11. Yes, not that long ago, but we ran to the court house and were married by the Justice of Peace for military reasons. (Hubby was leaving for 5 month training and couldn't have contact without being married, plus no insurance for our 4 small kiddos) We are now have a wedding for our friends and family to witness and be at. I'm running into the problem of what to say with the vows. Also I read not to have bridesmaids/groomsmen but invite them to the renewal, we never had them due to us doing it at the court house, so we are planning on them now. I hope no one will mind!

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Alta Johnson

May 26, 2013  10:19pm

Ann, Thank you for this beautiful article. At first I confess I thought, "What could she know about the long haul after only 5 years?" and also that so many of my thoughts about others renewing their vows seemed like one more excuse to party and get gifts from others. Pretty cynical, I know. But I appreciate your approach to re-affirming your commitment, especially after getting to know each other better, and also in front of your newer group of friends and supporters, and Michael's comments about marriage not being celebrated enough. Knowing you both as I do, I appreciate it even more, seeing it lived out each day. Thanks for expressing this so sensitively and beautifully. Who knows? Maybe we'll be inviting you to our next vow renewal soon...? Prayers of blessings and strength for the long haul.

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Carina Peterson

December 19, 2012  11:25am

Wow, Thank you Ann and ladies. My husband initiated and has planned for a vow renewal service this Friday. It is affirming to hear your experiences and their depth of meaning and simplicity in action. When I shared what we are planning with friends they are thrilled to be a part of it so I got busy over planning the event. I am inspired to get refocused on the depth. I love the braid and marriage knot and adding new vows. Thank you again Ann, Victoria and Betty!

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