Friday, April 11, 2014

planning our wedding: our vows

samuel and i decided to write our own vows because we wanted to be intentional about what we were promising to each other before God and our community. we discussed that it was important to choose every statement, to be deliberate about everything we said. they are probably some of the weightiest words we will ever speak to each other. we wanted them to count.

in fact, we're celebrating our six month anniversary tomorrow by reciting our vows to each other again. to remember the covenant we made to each other on october 12, 2013. 

here they are. 

samuel's vows
You're the one I've been waiting my whole life for. You're the girl of my dreams, only my limited imagination could never capture how breathtaking you are, how gracefully you move through this world, how loving you are towards me, or all the many little things that all add up to make you, well, Liz. 

I never knew what emotion to expect when I would finally meet the one I was to marry. I had convinced myself that it would be excitement, a spark, butterflies in my belly, an angelic choir singing, movements, tidal waves, hurricanes. Instead it was peace. A deep peace. A peace that told me that I could finally rest. I had found her, I had found you. 

Whatever we've gone through thus far in our relationship, and whatever our relationship has gone through in our lives, the ups, the down, the any-which-ways, the peace has always remained. Peace. You bring me at peace with the world. 

I am SO happy to be marrying you.

Here is what I promise for myself:

I promise to always be true to myself and what I believe is right, and what I believe is truth. 

This means not just going along with movement of the world around me, tossed to-and-fro with the tide of the times. I will be true to myself, so that I can be fully true to you. 

I cannot promise, in the toils and snares that life throws at us, to always feel love towards you, but I promise to always act lovingly towards you, knowing that God has placed me in this world for you, and you for me, and in that act of love and service, love itself will blossom. 

I promise to be the best husband I can be to you, encouraging you, protecting you, providing for you, and orienting my life towards making you the purest and best form of yourself. I promise to be the best father I can be to our children, raising them up in a Godly household, instilling in them the values that we hold, in love and in discipline. 

Here is what I promise for you:

You are a wellspring of life and a fire in this world. I promise to let you know when you burn me, or when you soothe, or when you excite. I promise to not smother that fire, but also not let it rage out of control. 

You are an artist, a creature created in God's own image, to create. You've created beautiful things, meaningful things, you open the eyes of the world to a breathtaking reality. I promise to nurture that creativity, to encourage you in your craft, and recognize that your best, your brightest, your most glorious moments, are moments of creation. 

You are a women, a wonderfully mysterious being. I will never promise to always understand you, but I will promise to always try. Our differences are a gift, an idea that we will both spend a lifetime working towards. I love you, I love our differences, and I love what we are together. 

Finally I promise that you will always my one, my queen, my bird, forever.

if you thought this was well-written, need help writing your own vows, or know someone who could use help, my husband is a pop-expert in speech writing. he would be happy to be of service!

liz's vows
you are the love of my life.
sometimes i still can't believe that you and i have ended up together. 
i didn't know that i was capable of loving someone as much as i love you until you showed up and asked me to REI.

one of the first things i was drawn to about you, is that you have this ability to create a big wide open accepting space for me to be fully me -- in my beautiful wild ways and in all the ways i'm messed up. you accept me exactly as i am, and you love me over and over again regardless of me being a tender baby bird or one with ruffled feathers. you've demonstrated to me how God loves me over and over again regardless of what i do or don't do. He simply loves. like how you simply love me.

in our marriage, i commit to love and accept you exactly as you are, as you've shown me. 

you know that i wasn't a very good student. i can barely memorize a haiku. i got a D in calculus and stopped buying books in college b/c i never read them. but when there was a class i was super excited about - like macro econ - i studied really hard, went to every tutorial, solved every problem and aced those classes. i loved asking questions, going to extra study sessions, and genuinely understanding the class material. i'm really excited about you, samuel mandell. i want to keep learning about you, as you grow and change. i want to stay curious about you and discover why i love you over and over again. 

in our marriage, i commit to being your best student. 

i was looking at this picture of your mom the other day, her eyes filled with kindness, coupled with her mischievous smile. and i was reminded of something she told me during her last days.... that we have to work hard at marriage. 

whatever comes our way, i commit to working hard at our marriage - with deep kindness and some mischievous ways

but most of all, i commit to being fully myself with you. to be honest, vulnerable, and open with you always. 

you are my best friend and the best gift i could've asked for, and i receive you with my whole heart.

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