Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Look Back at Our Vows

Over the weekend, I attended the wedding of a co-worker and friend of my wife which was amazing in many ways, most notably that it was an outdoor wedding in Minnesota in October... the same weekend which last year saw us fighting snow. However, it was a beautiful 80+ degree day with plenty of sun and a bit of a breeze. It's not often you see that in Minnesota in October! It was a great day for a wedding indeed.

Since this was a wedding for one of my wife's friends, I didn't know a lot of people there, so it left me a lot of time during the service, after, and at the reception to take in the ceremony and reflect a bit on my own wedding day. It's hard to believe that come January, which is only a few months away, we'll be celebrating anniversary #2. It doesn't feel quite like 2 years have passed, but soon they will have gone by. Looking back, the days we've shared since our wedding have, as we guessed, given us many ups and downs. The concept of knowing that there will be highs and lows in our relationship was something we were aware of as we came into our marriage, which I think has been truly beneficial. We didn't look at everything through rose-colored glasses, setting our expectations at perfection, which I feel many people do. We were, and are, realistic with hints of optimism (or at least that's how I like to look at it).

Thinking back, and re-reading our vows, I'm refreshed by the combination of serious gravity and light-hearted goodness that we used to express our vows to each other. Our vows embody quite well our personalities and the approach that we take to living together.  Anyways... I thought it was nice to muse about this topic during the wedding this weekend, and it gave me an excuse to dig out the sheets of paper we had our vows written on and type them up in case we somehow manage to lose them... well, lost mine, I guess. Kristi was smart enough to type hers up and save them whereas I just scribbled it all down on a piece of notepad paper and had it crumpled up in my suit pocket.

My vows to Kristi:
Kristi, today is a day on which we make many commitments to one another. As a symbol and demonstration of my commitment to you, I would like to make a series of promises.

First, I promise to cultivate, nurture, and grow the love that we share, helping it to be ever expanding. However, I cannot promise that some of the growth won't go straight to my belly.

I promise to value every moment we spend together, no matter how trivial or how monumental. I will let no moment be taken for granted. However, I cannot promise that my memory won't occasionally fail me.

I promise to support you at all times, whenever you need someone to lean on, to listen, to give you a pick-me-up, or just to snuggle with. However, I cannot promise that I'll know how to fix everything, even though I like to think that I can.

I promise to laugh, to joke around, to smile, to enjoy life, and to appreciate puns. However, I can't promise that you'll always find me funny.

I promise to be, and am looking forward to the day that I can be, a caring, loving, and involved father, cherishing every moment our family will share together. However, I cannot promise that I will always act more mature than our children.

Lastly, I promise to love you completely, deeply, and unconditionally. There are no exceptions to this promise. No howevers. No buts. No footnotes. No crossed fingers. No special circumstances.

Kristi, I promise to continually love you, today and throughout all of our tomorrows.

Kristi's vows to me:

I was once told that love is defined as the total and complete commitment to the betterment of another person. That's stuck with me over the years, as I've tried to work out in my head how loving someone translates to changing that person. But that's not it. It's not about telling you how to wear your hair or getting you to hang something other than Batman posters on the walls. It's not about getting me to stop biting my nails or learning to cook with real food rather than heating up pizza in the over... though, let's be real, it is our favorite.

Instead, I've come to understand the sentiment as about the importance of supporting you as you grow in life. Today is just one moment on our journey together, and we have a long adventure ahead! In the years to come, you'll face some of the happiest days and some of the most challenging days in your life, and those experiences will mold you and shape you into the husband, and someday father, that you want to be. And my commitment today is to be by your side along the way, loving you and supporting you as best I can.

And I know you'll do the same for me. One of my favorite things about our relationship is that from day one, I've felt completely at home with you. You challenge me to be the better person that I want to be, but you've never challenged who I am as a person. I'm excited to take this big step with you. I promise to walk with you, support you, enjoy the journey with you, and love you every step of the way.

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