Wedding vows often say something along the lines of promising to be there for one another. The two who are about to marry look one another in the eyes and agree at that moment to become one and be there for each through thick and thin.
It is often difficult for any of us to truly and fully imagine what our futures will look like together, so in hope and optimism they, on that wedding day, we agree that no matter what life throws tour way, we know that we want to go through it together. As we exchange the rings and declare “I do,” we are at that moment, one.
If you are one of those standing at the alter and a man or woman in military uniform is the one across from you, what it is you are about to say, when you say “I Do?” The life of a military marriage is unlike any other. There really is a whole subtext to those simple marriage vows that often gets overlooked. In hopes to fully highlight the promises and devotion you are about to make when you marry a military man or woman, let’s elaborate on the vows themselves.
“I take you”
I take you as you are today and as you will become tomorrow. For I know that who you were when I met you is not quite the same as you are today, nor certainly how you will be for the rest of our lives together. For as this military life is sure to shake us and break us and make us into who we will become, I take you just the same. I understand that no matter how much you change, that I am promising to love you just the same.
“To be my spouse”
To be my spouse even when it doesn’t feel as though you are. For I know the days will make you weary, numb, and dry at times. I understand that even though you love me, it will be difficult for you to always show it and express it in the ways I would like. I will endure those days for I know that feelings are fleeting and not grounded in love. For as your spouse, I will remember that you are mine and I will always be anchored in you.
To have both when you are near and far. For I believe and trust that our love can span distance and time. No matter if I can see or hear you near, I know our love is always clear. This life will take you away from me for short times and long, but I know I have you in my heart and that our love is strong.
To hold you close and tight as I can, when I can, and be able to let go when I need to lend you and cheer you on as your biggest fan. For your love is surely mine to hold, but you have another purpose that is also big and that is bold.
“From this day forward”
From this day forward I stand in the mission too. For we are in this together and I will support you in whatever it is you need to do. I know that what you accomplish, I do too, so I will always try to feel and understand what it is like to walk in your shoe.
For better times may be great or few, depending on how we see them as me and you. But we can always feel better if we remember this day, and how we promised to be there for one another no matter what came our way.
“Or for worse”
Or for worse times when they do come, we will ride them out like a storm. We will be strong as if we were both in uniform. For these days are not always easy and can feel like a battle, so to win we can not let our love shake and rattle. It is on this foundation that we are building today, that can save us on our toughest of day.
For richer we can always be, for we know this life is not about what we can see. The best treasures we have already found, it is what we are facing right now and to what we are about to be bound.
For poorer days we know they may come and pass, but it is in those days we must make our love last. May nothing bend us or break us too far for repair, not fear, sadness, or despair. For if we can remember this love in the toughest of time, we will always be able to call one another mine.
In sickness we may find that we are alone and the other is not there, but I promise to be tough and strong for I know you care. For the days that we are and we can see the pain, I promise that by your side I will remain and help you sustain.
“And in health”
And in health I will take every day as a gift and will use those days to make our love lift. I will put you first as you will me, for we both know that is the key.
“To love and to cherish”
To love and to cherish you when it comes easy and when it doesn’t. I promise to love you whether you or I feel it or not.
“From this day until death do us part.”
From this day until death do us part I will never wish we were apart. You surely do have my heart. For we were brought together and meant to be, and from this day forward we are a family.