Jul 27, 2006

Writing The Vows. I'm gonna do WHAT?

Martin: Larry, will you have Susan to be your wedded wife, to live together in the covenant of faith, hope, and love according to the intention of God for your lives together in Jesus Christ? Will you listen to her inmost thoughts, be considerate and tender in your care of her, and stand by her faithfully in sickness and in health, and, preferring her above all others, accept full responsibility for her every necessity for as long as you both shall live?

Larry: Sure.

Martín kept reading while Larry and I snickered quietly to ourselves.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t the real thing, we were at our planning meeting. And tonight we had to go over the Order Of Service that Martín had emailed me, to see what we liked, didn’t like, etc.

Larry didn't want to do the read-through.
Larry: I’ll take a look and edit it later.
Susan: But we need to hear it out loud, for length.

Besides, I’d emailed him a different Order days before.
Larry: You want me to edit THAT? It’s massive!
Susan: I know. I’ve already edited down the first half.
He never touched it. I wasn't going to let him off the hook now.

So, here we were reading Martín's Order, or what I thought was his: meaning, he'd used it before and liked it. But tonight, the way he was tripping over the words, I wondered if he’d ever seen it before.

And that gave me hope. Because this Order was annoying. For one thing it was too long. I’m all for updating the thees and thous. But this modern version, for every thou they removed, they added back ten more words. And sappy ones at that. Wedding Buzz words like dreams, goals, potential, treasures, shared treasures, being each other’s treasure, maybe a search for buried treasure in there. And there was a long analogy about hands. “Hand in hand you step out in faith. Be firm in your commitment. Don't let your grip become weak. The hand you freely give each other is both the strongest and most tender part of the body…

The hand is the most tender? Whoever wrote that never had shiatsu.

Look ... if you are going to rewrite something beautiful and poetic that's worked for 500 years ... “with this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship…” you better do a dang good rewrite.

Here are two versions of the vows.

1: I, __, take you ___, to be my wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, 'til death do us part.

2: I ___, take you ___, to be my (husband/wife), loving you now and as you grow and develop into all that God intends. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart; when our lives are at peace and when they are in turmoil; when I am proud of you and when I am disappointed in you. I will honor your goals and dreams and help you to fulfill them. From the depth of my being, I will seek to be open and honest with you. I say these things believing that God is in the midst of them all.

From the Depth Of My Being?
When I am proud of you and when I am DISAPPOINTED in you?

Nuh-Uh. Not in MY wedding.

Yeah, I was punchy. We all were. Larry and Doug started coming up with their own modernized version of the service.

“So like, are you into this?”
"Are you gonna be cool with this for a while?"
"Yo, I’m down with it."

They laughed pretty hard. We all did. But what was so funny? The ceremony and the vows meant something. Words have power in them. so why were we laughing?

Because we were scared! Because in five weeks, we were going to be saying these words in front of a hundred people, and we'd have to mean it!

When we were finally finished, asked Martín if he'd done this version often. No, he'd just sent it as a template.
Martín: I thought you were going to edit it!
Susan: Here's my edit: Wing it!

Martín was relieved. If those speeches were to listen to, they were harder to recite. With a straight face, anyway.

When the evening was over, Lar walked me my car. We were in Woodland Hills, where it had reached 119 F the previous day. Walking outside was like walking into a steam iron.

So how did all of that feel?
Um, weird
Yeah, weird.
Yeah, scary!
I am going to need time alone, you know.
Me too. Lots of it.
It’s important to keep our outside friends and activities.
Shaa! We can’t expect the other person to hang around every minute.
Of course not. I’m going to need serious time away from you!
I had a life before you came along!
For the last 20 years!

30 years!
Feel better?
Oh my gosh I love you.
Oh my gosh I love you so much.
I can’t wait to live the rest of my life with you.
Me too!
Minus the time alone.

Of course.
So, are you gonna be into this for a while?


soulpadre said...

We wrote supplementary vows to the traditional ones, and I liked the traditional ones better. I did sing my wife down the aisle, and since she kept walking toward the altar, I guess at least the song was okay!

Anonymous said...


What about something from "Hair," for Larry's sake?

"We are moonbeams together," that sort of thing.


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