My wedding vows were my most important endeavor on the big day—after all, they’re supposed to be the ultimate declaration of love to your partner and to the world. Still, now that I’ve been married for three years, I wish I could adjust my vows to be a little less romantic and a lot more practical.
There will be days that I look like crap, smell like crap, and act like crap, but I promise my love will never be crap. There will be days when I need to slick my oily hair back into a messy bun or replace a shower with a squirt of perfume, days that I’m so tired I forget what the word is for “wizard” and instead say “you know those magic people with wands” (yes, this has actually happened). Sometimes I’ll look, act, and be burned out, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped burning brightly on the inside, especially not for my partner.
I promise to create goals, especially without you. I recognize that to have a good marriage, I need to have a strong identity both inside and outside of the relationship. I often try to constantly remind myself that I have to preserve me to be a proper us. Without goals to ground me, I won’t be of any use to someone else anyway.
I promise not to Netflix cheat on you. Where I prefer to binge-watch shows in one sitting, my husband loves to draw them out, often watching just one episode for every few days. What he views as “savoring” I view as “story torture.” Part of me feels like I deserve to be crowned Wife of The Freakin’ Year because I’ve never skipped ahead or watched anything behind his back. Nothing says I love you more than that…
I promise to forgive your crap if you’ll forgive mine. One of my favorite moments in the show FRIENDS happens in the episode “The One With The Red Sweater” where after getting married, Chandler and Monica both have an argument. Their dialogue goes something like this:
“You opened all the presents without me?”
“You kissed another woman?”
“Call it even?”
Then they both proceed to high-five each other and smile. As funny as this moment is, it also shows the makings of a strong, healthy relationship. As Ruth Bell Graham once said, “A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.”
I promise to always be a backseat driver to make sure we don’t get into an accident. There are things I do that seem annoying, but I’m convinced they’re better for me and my relationship in the long run. I can’t help that I’m a better driver and need to point things out to him when we’re on the road. I value my safety more than his pride. He can deal with it.
I promise to be your friend on days you don’t need a lover. I’ll never forget the day I was holding my husband’s hand after he told me he had a rough day. What he really wanted was a friend, someone to talk to and be comforted by. I realize now that relationships are all about balancing the different hats we wear. Depending on the day, I’m a warrior, a peacemaker, a friend, or a badass sex goddess. Switching roles comes naturally to me now and it keeps our relationship strong, healthy, and really interesting.
I promise to not be too dependent on you. It’s unfair and unhealthy to rely on one person for everything. I can’t depend on another human for my own happiness, for life satisfaction, for money. At the end of the day, I can only really look to myself for the things I need. I want to always be totally self-sufficient, not because I can’t rely on my husband—I know I can and I do in many ways—but because that’s what’s healthy, fulfilled couples and individuals do.
I promise I’ll wash my dishes—maybe not right away but at least before I go to bed. I won’t always have perfect timing with chores, but I promise to do them, at least! Sometimes I just want to sit on the couch a while longer, even if it means the rest of our dinner gets a little crusty on the dishes. I’ll get to it.
I promise I’ll never stop sending you random texts. I may not say “I love you” every day, but one thing I can promise to do is to send really weird pictures and random texts while you’re at work. I don’t even care if I get a response or not—I keep at it no matter what. I just like the idea of adding laughter, absurdity, and whimsy to people’s days and I’ll definitely be doing this for my husband for the rest of our lives.
I promise our life will always be like a movie (even though I can’t predict the genre). Life won’t always have a hopelessly romantic plot. Sometimes it’ll be exactly like a comedy, where something goes terribly wrong and everyone is laughing at you. Sometimes it’ll be a drama where one crappy thing happens after another. Whatever happens, I promise life will always be an adventure.
I promise to accept you for who you are if you’ll do the same for me. There’s a reason people joke about couples going crazy over toothpaste caps and toilet seats. Relationships magnify pet-peeves, yet age-old advice tells us if we try to change our partners, we’re in for a lot of doom and gloom. Everyone wants to be loved for being truly themselves, so either we both equally work on our pet peeves together or we accept them and learn to let them go. As with many other aspects of relationships, it has to be a two-way street.