Recently some family friends told us they will be renewing their wedding vows in honor of their 10th anniversary. They are doing it up Las Vegas style, complete with the drive thru wedding chapel and all the essential Elvis accoutrements. That, and the fact that today my husband and I celebrate our 8th anniversary (and by “celebrate” I mean he is at work and I am at home with our 3 kids), got me thinking that maybe we could use a little renewal of our own.
“Renewal,” however would not be the right word, as we never exchanged vows in the first place, at least not in the traditional Western World sense. We were married in a traditional Eastern Orthodox ceremony in which there is no exchange of vows. It is a ceremony rich in symbolism and packed with ancient traditions, none of which include the bride or groom speaking a single word. (But you do get to wear a very cool cape and a crown, which allowed my husband to finally live out his super hero fantasy.) There’s no discussion of having or holding, we don’t actually believe that death will do us part, and because the sacrament is considered to be between God and the couple, just showing up constitutes your “I do.”
So we did, 8 wonderful years and 3 beautiful children ago. And we still do. But what relationship couldn’t use some freshening up around the edges, a little spritz of marital Febreze if you will? So while they’re not traditional vows, I thought I’d take this occasion to examine a few issues and make a few promises to the one I love.
So here we go. I, Mona Shand, being of sound mind (OK, I realize we’re already off to a shaky start, given the toll that the 4 nonconsecutive hours of sleep I am currently getting each night is taking on my already tenuous grasp on sanity) and body (and 5 weeks after giving birth to baby #3, let’s not even go there), do hereby promise:
To continue to stick it out in sickness (our own and that of others, which of course includes but is not limited to stuffy noses, earaches and heartaches, diapers of pooptastrophic proportions, boo boos and ouchies, bruised knees as well as egos, and that disgusting green gunk that showed up on the baby’s sheets, and the exact source of which we’re yet to identify), and in health (especially those 3 days in winter when everyone in the house is actually healthy at the same time), for richer (I think it’s best if we just focus on being rich in love, because let’s face it this economy stinks) or poorer (did I mention I stopped at Target today?)
And I promise that:
I will always be your wife,
I will love you all my life.
I will love you in the rain,
I will love you on a train.
I will love you at our house,
I will love you with a mouse.
I will forsake all others here and there,
I will forsake all others everywhere.
And I also promise that next time we’re at the library, I will get myself some books that were not written by Dr. Seuss.
I promise to love (OK, how about “try to appreciate”), honor (OK, maybe “not mock so loudly”), and cherish (OK, that one’s a stretch) your inexplicable fascination with UFC wrestling matches on pay-per-view.
I promise to try much harder to obey a Closed Door Policy when it comes to the bathroom, because as close as we are, there really are a few things that should be left to the imagination, and when I said I wanted to know what was going on “inside” I really meant your head and heart more than your intestines. And there’s just no justifiable scenario in which a grown woman should ever turn to a grown man and say “Mama has to go potty.” I’m also guessing my giant pink plastic shower cap doesn’t exactly make you want to have or hold so maybe we should try to return that time in our lives when there was a tiny bit more mystery and a whole lot less hair removal cream between us.
And I hereby promise, before the dearly beloved gathered here today (which at 4am include one stuffed moose, 2 teddy bears, a naked baby doll and a basket of dirty laundry) in the warm glow of our love and my laptop, from this day forward, to do my best to focus on the better and not the worse, because my life is so much better and Lord knows I never dreamt I’d find someone to put up with the worst of my worse. So that means more listening and less talking over you. More days when I don’t use up all the good, squeezy, super tender hugs and kisses on the kids and leave you with just the little pecks. More “Thank you for putting away the laundry” and less “Where the *&^) did you put my blue tank top?”
Because I couldn’t and I shouldn’t and I wouldn’t imagine a life without you in it.
No I couldn’t and I shouldn’t and I wouldn’t for a minute.
(But I can and I should and I will follow through on that whole “reading books that don’t rhyme” thing, I promise once again.)
So, unless anyone gathered here has any objections (Zip it, Moose.) I’m going to go ahead and kiss the groom.
Just as soon as he comes out of the bathroom.
Happy anniversary, my love.
Mona Shand is a radio and TV news reporter. You can read more on her blog.