Cheryl's Blog

Week 19 – When the vows break

Tis the season for weddings and last week Michael and I attended one for our nephew who’s starting a beautiful new phase of his life.

I smiled as I watched their ceremony, recalling the sweet memory of our own wedding day and the vows we wrote for each other.

Hearts filled with good intentions…

The birth of a new family…

Promises to love, honor, and cherish no matter what…

Ahhhh, the innocence of early love!

But then life happens.

And you quickly discover that this magical mystery ride called “relationship” is filled with experiences you never in a million years could have planned for.

The vows break.

The music stops.

The honeymoon ends.

And that’s when the real commitment starts, ushering in the process of falling in love.

But only if you’re willing to do the work.

When the truth of what it means to build a life together unfolds, you soon realize that the best of intentions pales in comparison to what’s required for a partnership to flourish.

Nothing has forced me to grow more than my marriage to Michael. And nothing has brought me more meaning, joy and fulfillment.

This year Michael and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and if we were getting married today given the history, experience, and maturity we’ve gained from so many years of being married, my vows might sound something like this:

First and foremost, I’d vow to do my best to remember that marriage is a spiritual partnership designed to teach us about love – how to love each other and ourselves – so we can share this love with the world.

I’d promise to keep this higher vision of partnership in mind, especially when things get hard.

Because they will.

During tough times, I’d vow to come to the table, heart in hand, ego checked at the door, ready to listen and learn, knowing that the greater good of our marriage is far more important than getting my way.

I’d promise to create a habit of remembering five things I love about Michael before entering into scary and hard conversations that are sure to push buttons.

I’d commit to always look for the role I play in any mess we happen to find ourselves in, and be willing to do what it takes to heal myself so I can change my behavior and become a more loving and respectful partner.

This healing work is rarely done alone, so I’d also commit to getting whatever help we need.

I’d vow to look for things, big and small, to appreciate about Michael every day – and to share this information with him because I’ve learned that people grow with love and appreciation, not criticism and nastiness.

I’d commit to learning how to be big enough to admit when I’m wrong and to apologize even when I think I’m right.

If the idea of apologizing even when you think you’re right seems crazy, please go back to the first vow .

I’d pledge to cultivate the necessary patience needed to travel the winding path of partnership so we’re not tempted to put Band-Aids on wounds that need surgery.

Finally, I’d vow to revisit these promises every year on our anniversary, in order to update them.

Because they’ll need it.

After all, the evolution of any relationship requires regular upgrades to Love’s operating system .

Video of the Week

Remember the couples talking about marriage after the movie, When Harry Met Sally?  Watch it, here.