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Harness the Power of Your Vows

You can’t know everything that will happen in a marriage but you can decide ahead of time how you will deal with it. That is what marriage vows are all about--it’s a decision about how I am going to deal with everything and anything that happens to us in the course of our journey through life together. Marriage vows are a way of saying, “Whatever bad happens to us, I will always choose us.” so writes Scott Williams, a writer at

This has been the year for unexpected turns of events. Pandemic uncertainty has spread to nearly every aspect of our lives. Unparalleled happenings roll out of our major cities. The clear moral wrong of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has been obscured by dramatic rises in violent crime and street chaos from New York to Seattle. Lives and livelihoods have been upended. Who would have predicted this last year?

Karen and I could not have known a year before we came to Highland that she’d be having surgery and radiation therapy. It just wasn’t anything we expected to happen. Uncertainty forces us to take stock of where we are in our lives and what we have in each other.

Every day has its challenges. We may be up or down; in a season of silent withdrawal or effusive engagement, lots of disagreements or fulfilling conversations.We may go from just struggling to speak to clinging to each other for dear life. These are times we need to return to our wedding vows: “Whatever bad happens I choose us.” “I’m not going anywhere, you’re stuck with me”, “There’s no one else I’d rather grow old with”, “In good times and bad, I’m glad I’m married to you”, “thank you for being good to me even when I don’t deserve it.”

Author Rob Flood suggests this communication vow for couples:

With these words

I will seek to build you up rather than tear you down.

With these words

I will do all I can to reiterate what you mean in a way that honors and respects you.

With these hands

I will touch you caringly, seeking unity, even through the hardest conversations.

With these eyes

I will look on you tenderly, avoiding judgment and scorn.

With these ears

I will listen intently to what you’re trying to say.

With this heart

I will seek to love the Lord first and foremost, loving you all the while.

With these words

I will share grace, mercy, and forgiveness, as it has abundantly been shared with me as our Savior. And with God’s help our communication will draw us more closely together for the good of our home and the glory of God.

I must confess that I’m annoyed when many people discount marriage vows as unnecessary and undesirable. Vows matter--indeed they are the substance of marriage. If you’re married, look them up. Print them out. Repeat them out loud to your spouse--or just use this shorthand: “Whatever bad happens, I choose us.”

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