“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences. “
- Sylvia Plath
With our little beach wedding seven months away, I’ve decided to begin the inspiration search for my vows.
Having a writer for a fiance makes the vow-writing process an intimidating adventure. Over our ten-year love story, Mr. Ostrich has made my heart skip a beat with just a few words (and silly drawings) in birthday, Valentine, and holiday cards. He’s truly a master of the English language, and I can only imagine that his vows won’t leave a dry eye in the house.
And while I don’t boast a fancy English degree and may not write words that bring the house down, all I want is for my promise to be something that he’ll always remember.
No sweat, right?
So like every creative project I take on, I started out my vow making with some soul searching and some inspiration hunting. I was looking for poetry and prose that made my heart sing and could give me a starting point.
And after all of that, I’ve narrowed it down to these four selections that take my breath away every time…
As we stand beside the ocean tide,
May our love always be as constant and unchanging
As these never-ending waves that pour beneath our feet,
Flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea;
Your love came softly upon my heart,
Just as the foam comes softly upon the sand,
And just as there will never be a morning
Without the ocean’s flow,
So there will never be a day
Without my love for you.
I pledge myself to you this day.
Our love will be as unchanging
And dependable as the tide;
As these waters nourish the earth
And sustain life, may my constant devotion
Nourish and sustain you
Until the end of time.
* * *
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage: the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
- Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward
* * *
The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more,
that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds,
and that’s what you’ve given me.
That’s what I hope to give to you forever.
- The Notebook
* * *
I could promise to hold you, and to cherish you. I could promise to be there in sickness and in health. I could say to death do us part.
but I won’t…
Those vows are for optimistic couples. The ones full of hope.
and I do not stand here on my wedding day optimistic or full of hope.
I am not optimistic, I am not hopeful—
I am sure, I am steady.
And I know that I’m a heart man. I take them apart, put them back together. I hold them in my hands. I am a heart man.
So this I am sure—You are my partner, my lover, my very best friend.
My heart beats for you.
And on this day, the day of our wedding, I promise you this: I promise to lay my heart in the palm of your hands—
I promise you me.
- Grey’s Anatomy
* * *
For my hopelessly romantic bees, what are the vows, poems, or quotes that strike a chord with you in the name of love? Would you rather write your own or celebrate through the perfect words of another?
And next up for this bride-to-bee? A little—make that a lot—of brainstorming, drafts, and edits of my thoughts and words for this little promise of mine.
Here goes nothing!