Your Vows Aren't Stagnant
Your wedding is a day, marriage is a lifetime. Those words are so true, but we can easily forget the words that are exchanged. It can be easy to leave the events of the day in that day. To live an authentically Catholic marriage, we must bring the words and prayers of the Nuptial Mass to life.
Most of my pre-wedding knowledge came from popular culture. In most Hollywood movies, the couples write their own vows. Each story seemed to be the same. The man would labor over the vows, trying to make them unforgettable and impactful. It seemed pretty stressful. I was delighted to find that the Church provides two versions of vows to use.
She gives us two choices for a simple reason. Your wedding vows aren’t nice things to say to your wife. They aren’t supposed to be engineered to bring a single tear to the eye of the Maid of Honor. They’re designed to be the roadmap for your marriage. No matter where you go, or what you do, your vows are the lighthouse. They guide your decisions. They guide your life.
The Church provides the vows because they adequately reflect the Church’s understanding of what marriage is. They spell out clearly the Church’s understanding of the married life and the role of husband and wife.
The vows are promises. They are beautiful. They are final.
The great thing about the vows is that you can use them as a plumb line. In any situation in your married life, when you reach a decision point, you can reference your vows and know if you are out of bounds or not. It’s wonderful.
The vows are certainly words that we speak, but they’re intended to be brought to life. When I promised to take care of Alison in good times and in bad, I’m supposed to translate that into action. When we’re flat broke, I’m still there for her. When we’re rich beyond our wildest dreams, our marriage hasn’t changed.
It’s a refreshingly absolute promise in this world of flakiness.
The vows are one of the critical elements of the Nuptial Mass, but they’re intended to have a much greater use than to just confer the Sacrament.