Last weekend, for Valentine’s Day, Johnny had the idea to read our wedding vows to each other, and also to get them framed.
I was so excited about it, and, of course, cried when we read them to each other like I did on that special day.
Rereading them sparked passion in me for a belief that I’ve always had: wedding vows are generally treated more like niceties than promises before God.
I’ve realized how impossible it is to live up to what I vowed perfectly in my own strength, but that I want to be better and more like Jesus every single day. There are the tangible vows I have stayed completely true to – like writing Johnny a letter every month – and then there are the ones that I am convicted I have not, like selflessness and servanthood. I know that, in order to live these out, I need to be hidden in Christ; “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
We are framing our vows so that we see them every day, and. can ask God to help us where we stumble and help us to grow in Him, looking more like Him always.
Last weekend, my beautiful friend Josee married the love of her life, and we got to witness it over Zoom. At the wedding, the pastor prayed that the union between them would be both affirmation and conviction for the married couples witnessing it, as weddings and marriages should be.
I thought that today, I would share my vows to Johnny in order to allow the Lord to work through them and maybe reveal something to you about your own marriage that He wants to challenge you in, or remind you of vows that He’s calling you to lean into Him to hold true to. I also want to share the ones that I know I need to be giving to Him to be better in.
My Wedding Vows
The first time I saw you, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I’m not kidding. And then, as I got to know you through only your answers to strange questions in a strange class… and then, finally, got to know you for real, through the most romantic dates, I came to know that that peace came from the Holy Spirit of Jesus in you.
That I wasn’t simply falling in love with the handsomest, sexiest, sweetest man I’d ever met, but that Jesus had drawn me to you.
Johnny, I vow to love you second. I vow that Jesus comes before you, and that, in that way, I will have the grace and provision to be the kind of wife you deserve. (I know that I do love Johnny second. I know that Jesus is my first love, and that this is evident in my life.)
I vow to point you to Jesus if I see you looking to the world. (Johnny has affirmed that the Lord has helped me to hold true to this.)
I vow to cook for you joyfully, but not to let food be an idol in our home, Lord help me. In the same way, I vow to be vulnerable with you, to continue to tell you every little thing on my heart, and to delight in Jesus’ victory over lies with you. (This is an area of conviction for me. I absolutely cook for Johnny joyfully, but I have still been struggling with food and body image in different ways. I have just recently started spiritual counselling again, knowing that I can’t keep striving on my own in this, and am so excited for what the Lord wants to do through it.)
I vow to be open to your advice, discernment, and prayers, especially when my first instinct is to be defensive. (I have been learning so much about how, when I feel defensive, that is usually when I need to be MOST open to outside help – especially from my amazing, discerning, God-fearing husband.)
I vow, even, to make some meals without peanut butter, and to delight in finding new recipes you love. (Funny story – I actually can’t really digest peanut butter anymore without horrible stomach pain… so this one has been sadly forced upon me!)
I promise to look to Jesus to love you selflessly, as He does, and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead our marriage. (I, moment by moment, give our marriage and my life and Johnny over to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to carry out His life in me. Of course I fail in this, and my flesh comes through, but I do believe He is showing me what “More of Him, less of me” looks like every day.)
I promise to listen to you fully, and really hear you, not allowing distractions or technology to rule our lives. (This is always something to be better at – especially since our jobs are in front of computers and phones, and we have been working from home for the past year. But, when it’s just the two of us, I shun technology for the most part. I could definitely be better sometimes at making sure that, if Johnny stops talking to me, my phone is off and not in front of me!)
I vow to trust the Holy Spirit in you, and turn to Him and His Word if ever we have a disagreement. (I think that, together, we have made this the foundation of our marriage.)
I promise to live in His will with you as we, better together, defy and say no to earthly things, and press on toward the mark of Christ – to make His name known. (Always need to be better at this – Lord help us! However, it is the will of my Spirit and my deepest desire.)
I vow to laugh with you and be weird with you, to have pillow talk whenever we need it, and to be your shoulder. (Haha – probably my most truly lived out vow. We are ALWAYS laughing, ALWAYS be weird – we often say if someone looked in on us they would be so confused by our weirdness – and are definitely each others’ shoulders.)
I vow to love you and pursue you every single day… which I truly believe will be a very simple thing, because of how much I love you, and because you have SHOWN me, over and over, in word and action, just how much I can trust you. (It truly is the simplest thing. Loving Johnny could not be easier. I am just so in love with him!)
I vow to continue to write you letters every month, no matter what season of life we find ourselves in, until the day I die. (I haven’t missed writing Johnny a monthly letter since we first starting dating, and plan never to!)
I vow to cover you in prayer, to pray with you, and to submit to you as my husband, forever. (I cover Johnny in prayer daily; we pray together daily; and I submit to him as my husband, as he submits to me as his wife.)
I vow to choose the Cross of Jesus in our daily lives, and to let Him reign, in this short time we have on this earth. (The Cross is the ONLY way. Daily confession, repentance, and stepping into grace and Truth are the rhythms of my life.)
I vow to constantly prioritize the “little things” — learning about your sports and music and other passions, supporting you however I can, and sharing every burden, better together. (I believe that this is so important, and really do my best to learn about, get excited about, and support Johnny in his hobbies.)
I vow to honour and keep pure and holy our marriage bed – to love and honour you and only you forever. (This has absolutely been the case and held true.)
My Johnny, you are the kindest, most compassionate, most patient, selfless man I have ever met. I vow to love you fiercely and fully, embracing everything that comes our way with mighty expectation of our God. (I am daily expectant of God’s absolute greatness – and through that alone can love Johnny the way God has called me to.)
May I look more like You every day.