Wedding vows are a subject of mystique, romance, and for many soon-to-be married couples, stress. They’re supposed to be succinct, eloquent, emotional, and full of romantic promises. In all of life, there are really no other publicly-spoken words that carry more weight.
This might partially explain Hollywood’s love affair with wedding vows. Watch any romantic comedy that involves marriage, and it’s almost a guarantee that the vows will show up during a pivotal moment.
Are those kinds of vows really realistic, though? As touching and romantic as a promise to never fight or a promise to always be there for the other person is, is there really even a remote chance for that vow to be upheld?
If you were to ask an attorney for some more realistic wedding vows to help keep a family from a bitter end, they might say a few things like this:
- I vow to watch our wedding video with you every year – Remind yourselves of what that special day was like for the both of you, why you wanted to spend the rest of your lives as a couple, and how blissful you felt to stand up in front of friends and family members and commit to a life together.
- I vow to fight fair – Every couple argues. Some more than others, but still. Vowing to never fight is silly, but vowing to fight fair is a fantastic idea. Don’t dredge up the past, don’t name-call or belittle your partner in front of others (especially children!), and don’t be afraid to take some time to cool off.
- I vow to never run away – As mentioned above, marital problems will happen, and sometimes a little space can help cool things down, but running away (physically or mentally) is never the right idea. Communication is at the heart of almost all successful relationships, so rather than shutting down and bottling things up, be open and honest, and share your concerns with your partner. You can’t work on something if it’s not on the table.
- I vow to be open with you about money – Financial problems are huge in divorce. The vast majority of divorcing couples mention some sort of financial issues that pre-empted the divorce. However, if you and your spouse are able to sit down together and formulate a plan based on assets, debts, income, and expenses, you will be a massive step ahead of the curve. Never hide financial activity, or financial developments. Face the future together.
While these vows are certainly not the stuff of a tear-jerking romantic story, they will follow you into the real world, and if you and your spouse are together on them, they will take you far.