Marriage is seen as one of the biggest commitments that two individuals can make, next to being parents. You stand before each other, vowing to love one another for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do you part. But it’s so much more than those words. It’s patience, sacrifice, and tolerance. It’s unconditional love, and a promise to share your life with someone forever.
But there are promises that we make, sometimes when we are at our worst, and sometimes when we are out our best. Sometimes we make them in anger, or in sadness. Sometimes they’re hidden in harsh words, or muffled by tears. Sometimes they’re in our uncontrollable laughter. They can be as simple as promising not to do certain things. But these promises, both big and small, shape the foundation for every relationship. These are the vows we make, long before marriage.
To give it our all
We aren’t perfect people. Sometimes we break our promises, and we end up hurting each other. We fall short of hopes and expectations. But no matter what, we vow to give it our all. We vow that even when things get really bad, we won’t give up on each other.
Because at the end of the day, when you truly love someone, you find a way to figure things out. You find ways to solve your problems, and recognize your differences. You don’t bail on each other.
If I flew off the handle every time Kyle left pieces of his uniform in every room of our house, we may be in a very different place. Forgive each other for the little mistakes, and work on the bigger ones. As the years go by, new quirks will pop up and chances are you’ll get very irritated with eachother sometimes. But there’s a bigger, more important picture here. Take a step back every once in a while.
To be honest
If you know in your heart that you’re going to spend the rest of your lives together, than there’s one thing that you must agree upon: honesty. No, I’m not married. Maybe some of you are thinking, “What does she know?” But I’ve shared my life with the same man for almost 6 years. We have made each other incredibly happy, but we’ve also hurt each other more than once.
We had to learn the hard way, which was further complicated by our military lifestyle. But we needed to make those mistakes in order to understand. If you can’t look at your partner and say the things that need to be said, than you might have a larger issue on your hands.
To support each other
I’ll be the first to admit, it’s hard to nod and smile when the person you love is about to make a decision that changes both of your lives. But your feelings as well as theirs have to be part of the conversation. You support each other both as individuals and as a team. This aspect of your relationship needs to be 100% equal, regardless of what either of you have for an occupation.
Many couples struggle with this, especially in the military. More often than not, one of two things occurs. 1. One of the people in the relationship feels as though they have to give up everything they want in order to support the other. Or 2. One person feels like they can’t follow their dream because of the way that the other feels about it.
This is extremely sensitive and situational, but there are many things to keep in mind: 1. Everything is manageable, if you’re ready to fight for it. 2. Feelings change. Ask yourself or the other person if you/they think those feeling will always be the same. And 3. Are you being held back from the things you want to accomplish, and why?
To love eachother, without limits
Without limits is the key phrase here. It was easy for me to fall in love with Kyle. After only a couple weeks, I knew, and I’m not ashamed of that in any way. But there were limitations that we both had, mostly caused by previous relationships.
I think that these pop up in every relationship, and sometimes they go unnoticed for a long time. But these walls that we put up don’t allow us to grow; if anything, they make you grow apart. Sooner or later they need to be addressed, allowing both people to heal and move forward.
So let yourself love each other. Let yourself fall in love, and vow that you’ll never stop. If you can promise this, the rest is so much easier.
What are the vows you made before marriage? Did they change after marriage?