As I was merrily surfing the web, I ran across a site for wedding vows. What fun! I love wedding vows! No, really, I do. In truth, the vows are the single most important part of a wedding. This is what makes the whole thing legally binding and what all the fun window dressing of pretty clothes, delicious food, and beautiful music are there to celebrate.
The part of this particular site that rather tickled my particular sense of humor was the section of Celebrity Vows. Yes, you can now choose the same wedding vows used by Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, or Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller. Actually, most of them are pretty much standard forms from various protestant denominations, and not that unusual.
There was, however, one part in one ceremony that caught my eye. I’d like to share it with you. It comes from Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s wedding. While it’s not the vows, per se, it strikes me as a particularly wonderful way of expressing what marriage is really all about:
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In the Art of Marriage: The little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
And I think that sort of says it all.