Eighteen years ago, today, my life was forever changed for the better by a woman I met through, what I believe, was a divinely orchestrated set of circumstances.
We were married on the hottest day of record in Salina, Kansas in a pleasant local park outside. The Mrs.’s father, who is a pastor, married us and we were surrounded by our closest family. It was the second time for both of us, so no frills this time. Even though the weather was hot, it was beautiful, and we’ll never forget that day. At the reception, our song was played, 'You Are The Sunshine of My Life', by Stevie Wonder.
While we were celebrating today, I couldn’t stop thinking about the word ‘vows’. We all make them when we commit ourselves to another at the alter but, over time, they seem to fade as life happens. We intentionally made copies of ours and framed them, so we could see them on the wall and be reminded of what we committed to. Still, reading through them tonight, I can say I’ve done my best to keep them and will forever do so.
Webster defines a vow as, ‘a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition’. That’s about right. It’s a promise to act and it’s a binding commitment. When you get right down to it, marriage is based on those vows. When they’re broken, it’s difficult to keep that marriage together because we place our trust in them.
It’s the vow which is our commitment to another. A commitment that stands for more than just a promise. It binds us. It holds us together. Sadly, those commitments are less honored today than in the past. For me, that commitment means even more when one partner doesn’t keep it because it’s the commitment of the other which will keep the relationship alive.
If we marry expecting our spouse to be perfect, then we’re in for disappointment. If we carry those vows around as a guilt hammer over the other, then where’s the unconditional love we committed to?
At our age and having been around the mountain before, the Mrs. and I both came into our relationship with the expectation that the other isn’t perfect. That they can never live up to that type of expectation. Instead, we came into the relationship with the understanding that we’ll be there for each other through the best, and the worst of times. Even though we still act like newlyweds at times, we’re both fully aware of each other’s humanness and love the other through the good, bad, and ugly.
So, tonight, I thought I’d leave you with a copy of my vows to the Mrs. below. These I try to live by every day. They ring as strong in my heart today as they did eighteen years ago. I love you Mrs. Clawson and I’m looking forward to another eighteen years together…
Love always friends,
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