Renewal of Vows
Marriage is one of life’s major rites of passage, but the wedding day is just the beginning of married life together. A period of adjustment often follows a wedding. The couple begins to experience a shift in their relationship. They may also feel some sense of loss in no longer being the center of family and community attention as they were on their wedding day. Unfortunately, statistics show that the largest number of divorces occur in the first year of marriage. Continuing to enact ritual and ceremony to celebrate their love and commitment can help a couple grow through this transition phase.
Married love deepens and unfolds over time, with experience and work. To grow in relationship takes awareness, attention and effort. I recommend reading Love’s Journey, The Seasons & Stages of Relationship by Michael Gurian. He writes about love as a spiritual path, a spiritual discipline. Michael presents a new model for love and relationship that can help deepen a couple’s commitment and practice.
Many rites of passage will be experienced by a couple through their life together that will challenge them as individuals and as a couple. The changes initiated by these events offer them opportunities to grow and to deepen their love and commitment. As they encounter any of life’s events, creating ceremonies and rituals will help them find meaning in these events and stay connected with each other.
Renewing marriage vows can be a deep source of rejuvenation, rededication and reconnection for a couple. The timing of a ritual or ceremony may coincide with an anniversary, a birthday, a promotion or new job, the purchase of a house, the birth of a child or any other special event in the couple’s life.
The ritual could be simple or a more elaborate ceremony can be created complete with prayer, music, readings and vows. It might include a statement looking back on the life of the relationship, as well as acknowledging and celebrating the present. Looking forward to the future together, new hopes and dreams could be expressed. Original vows can be re-spoken or new ones written and voiced.
The renewal of vows or recommitment ceremony is a wonderful celebration of love and devotion. With family and friends as witnesses and participants, it becomes a joyful, moving experience for the larger community.