Learning the meaning of wedding vows

When I stood at the front of the church 22 months ago saying my wedding vows, I don’t think I properly understood what they meant.

I was certain I wanted to marry him. I knew I couldn’t marry anyone else. I knew he’d walk on water for me. I knew we understood each other better than anyone else did. I knew when I had a tough time the only place I wanted to be was with him.

I think my understanding of what it means, to say those words, to make those promises, is better now but not complete.

For better for worse

I’m blessed, I know, that in our married life so far ~ in fact in my whole life so far ~ I’ve been dealt a decent hand. Nothing too frightening or disastrous has sprung up in our path.

But what about the 95% of days when you feel like things aren’t particularly good or bad ~ like you’re just treading water?

Husband asks me every evening how my day was. Irrationally, occasionally I find that irritating. I want to say: standard. Got up, washed, breakfast, brushed teeth, drove to work, sat at work, drove home, and now I’m here. Like nearly every day.

Because it’s easy to forget to be in the moment, to appreciate what you have, to forget the beautiful view on the drive to work, to forget that you helped someone, made a colleague laugh, or friends or family shared a small piece of good news.

So instead I dig deep, and try and remember to tell him about one of these things, because I know he’s asking out of genuine interest and not habit.

I’m not a natural talker. I’m sociable, and I love a good natter, but talking for talking’s sake? Doesn’t come naturally. This may be why I enjoy writing. It’s so much easier to have the time to think what you want to say and put it down perfectly, instead of saying something you don’t quite mean.

As romanticised as love letters are, they’re impractical day to day! So I’ve learned the value of communicating and sharing and made myself do it, even on the occasions I kind of wanted to just be in my own world.

For richer, for poorer

Financial pressures can put huge strain on individuals and relationships. Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you how to set up your bank accounts and bills. That’s your business.

Like most couples, we splashed a fair bit of cash in the months leading up to the wedding, on the day itself and the honeymoon. Correction: honeymoons. So since then we’ve been taking it a little more sensibly: holidays at home rather than abroad; not eating out for no reason and when we’ve got a fridge full of good food.

But we all want to indulge, and we all have aspirations. These are healthy, but they can stop you enjoying the moment too.

I read somewhere once that men fall in love with the woman in front of them, but women fall in love with what they believe the man in front of them can be.

Husband and I earn average to good salaries but things would be a lot more fun if I or he earned more. But then, if he was a Richard Branson type, would I ever see him? Probably not.

Fortunately we haven’t been affected too much, but this recession has been shocking in its endurance and for seeming to leave no corner of life untouched. I officially became an adult in 1997. For 10 years I knew little other than plentiful and ‘safe’ jobs, booming house prices and as many credit cards as you could fit in your purse.

Generally speaking, learning not to whack something on a credit card (what’s a few hundred more?), and learning to appreciate cheap simple things like camping and walking has been a very positive step forward in life.

In the last few months we’ve set clear financial and life goals and are taking baby steps towards them. It’s frustrating at times, but we’ll get there.

In sickness and in health

My real prompt for writing this.

I’m writing on a Sunday, on Wednesday husband has to have a heart operation, I’ll probably publish this post on Thursday.

It’s what consultants might call a ‘routine’ procedure to fix a heart defect he was born with which gives him an irregular heartbeat. But there is absolutely nothing routine when someone is fiddling with the most vital organ in the body of the person dearest to you in the world.

The risks are small, but still there. Consequently there’s a lot of trepidation in our house which is morphing into something like terror as we get closer.

All being well, this post will be published on Thursday when he will be well into recovery phase ~ and probably milking it. If anything does go wrong, I don’t know how I will breathe, let alone blog.

Apparently Tony Blair had the same procedure when he was Prime Minister, and the next day he was playing sport in front of the cameras. I hope husband won’t experience any of the nasty side effects Tony did. Removal of moral compass. War-mongering.

So these are the ways I have begun to understand what I was really promising when I stood at the front of that church. Some married couples are a rock for each other throughout even the most difficult of times. I hope I have the strength to be that, by knowing that to be a good building block you might have to change shape a little.

How about you? What have you learned since you took your marriage vows? And if you haven’t taken them yet, what do you think they mean?

{UPDATE: the operation was a success and he’s doing well, thanks to the wizards and angels at Leeds General Infirmary.}

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7 thoughts on “Learning the meaning of wedding vows”

  1. Ive never been to a wedding where i KNEW with certainty that the two people at the front were made for each other – until i went to your wedding.

    Your blog moved me to tears, we dont step back often enough or spare the time to “count our blessings” and its a shame that it’s usually something major that forces us to really assess what we have and its’ value to us.

    Thank you for putting your very personal thoughts in your blog – a refresher for all of us in a relationship. After 20 years of marriage, i feel really lucky that my hubby and i still really enjoy the simple things in life, like the camping and walking etc and i remember the saying – “The harder you work the luckier you get”

  2. Stumbled across your blog … as you do! Stayed around because its called angel in the north and that fact that you are in Yorkshire. Love the two combined as I am in Teesside! Anyway, started to read this post about your husband’s op and thought asIi was reading oh I hope hes ok .. and was relieved that you had added an update saying he is … great relief for you I bet! Just followed you on twitter and will defo submit something about my online boutique xx

  3. OMG Anna this is soooo true, really touched a nerve with me. We’ve been married 6 years in 2 weeks time and I also agree that at the time you dont fully appreciate the full meaning of the vows, its only as you wander through life that every now & then small things bring home the significance of them. I love reading your blogs – keep them coming! xx

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