Originally published on May 27, 2011
Mrs. Bacon nominates Mrs. Jam’s post on writing vows. Mrs. Bacon says, “I totally used it FIVE days before the wedding to write my own vows! Mrs. Jam: You are a LIFESAVER. For Realz.”
I am a writer. Mr. Jam is not. So when it came down to creating our ceremony, I lovingly forced the idea of writing our own vows because words are my bread and butter. Plus, I sincerely miss our long-distance IM sessions where we would do the whole, “OMG, I love you!” and “OMG, love you more!” thing for hours and hours until we virtually self-combusted. And let’s get real: Who doesn’t want to get goose bumps listening to two people spilling their guts using words they actually wrote?
The vows in my friend Jacki’s recent wedding video = part of the reason Mr. Jam finally agreed to write ours. WE JUST LOVE THEM.
But remember, Mr. Jam’s bread and butter is numbers, not words (unless they’re technical, though he was quite the essay-writer in college) so he suggested we write them together. I likened this to going Christmas shopping for each other together, meaning we’ll get exactly what we want but without the delicious surprise of, “OMG, darlin‘, you know me SO WELL!”
So I created an easy-to-follow vow format, enabling our vows to be written in secret but still feel cohesive like they were written together:
II. “I Love You Because”
III. “Because I Love You”
IV. Grand Finale (otherwise known as, Feel Free to Get Choked Up)
I got pretty giddy about this development and emailed the list to Mr. Jam. When I didn’t hear back from him within a fraction of a minute, I called his work phone screaming.
Mr. Jam: “I don’t get it.”
So, I came up with a way to literally show Mr. Jam the format without actually telling him what to write. And that, my friends, was writing sample vows to the dog.
Hey, Millie girl!
I – Introduction: Sweet Millie Sue – Before I met you, I never saw myself having a dog, especially a lab with so much energy and a rebellious streak that includes stealing our glasses off the nightstands, chewing up toilet paper rolls and shredding the magazines strewn on coffee tables. But your energy was contagious, and before I knew it, I couldn‘t see myself without one. I love our nightly walks exploring the neighborhood in the springtime; the way you get so excited for a treat you attempt to do all your tricks at the same time; and even when you snore so loudly I have to turn music on just to fall asleep (which is actually very sweet, by the way).
II – The “I Love You Because” Part: I love you because you’re so accepting of everyone, no matter their flaws. You’re the first to make a new friend, the first to apologize when we’re angry, and first to comfort me when I’m hysterically upset about a character I know only through a book or a movie. I love you because you’re dependable and honest, and I wholly believe you when you show your love to me.
III – The “Because I Love You” Part: And because I love you, I promise to care for you the same way you’ve watched out for me since Mr. Jam’s been away. I promise to always have a steady supply of snuggles and treats, and to not laugh too hard when the toy you’re playing with gets caught in your collar. And most of all, I promise to do all I can to always make you the happiest dog in the world, even when I come home to find the bathroom full of shredded toilet paper and cotton balls.
IV – Grand Finale: Millie, you are the best dog we could have ever asked for, and I’m endlessly proud that you’re ours. You’ve always fit in perfectly with everyone you meet, and I treasure the memories we’ve made together. More than anything, I can’t wait to see what kinds of wonderful adventures we have to look forward to. I love you forever!
And Mr. Jam really got it, despite replying with, “I’m going to take the one you wrote for Millie and replace ‘dog’ with ‘girl.’”
Don’t have a pet you can write sample vows to? Write them in character based on your favorite books (Katniss and Peeta, woot!), TV shows, imaginary friends, whatever. And if you’re having trouble convincing your partner that writing vows is a good idea, sample vows can help them see that the goal is not to showcase flowery, archaic language that is going to be critiqued by the meanest English teacher in the land.
Hey married members o’ the hive: Do you have any tips for those of us writing (or considering writing) vows? Did you have a lot of convincin‘ to do before your partner agreed, or did you lose that battle?