Write your own vows. Be true to yourself.
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” ~ John Steinbeck
I got married. Again.
Something I vowed I would never do. But vows are funny things, you know. Life is constantly in a state of flux. What we vow one day gets flipped upside down the next. We either stay firm within them, or we shift with the tide.
So when the unshakeable desire arose to love this man and commit to the unfolding partnership, I shifted, too.
But when it came time for me to write my wedding vows, I found myself utterly stumped. Months went by. I thought the moment would magically arise and words would effortlessly overflow from my loving cup. Alas, every time I tried to share what was in my heart, everything felt cheap and trite.
I reconsidered the whole notion of having vows. When I hear “in sickness and in health; til death do us part,” I think of fundamentalist religious perspectives of the ‘proper’ roles of husbands and wives. Considering that I believe relationships can express themselves in a variety of ways, i.e. queer, poly and/or non-marriage based, this collection of antiquated aphorisms just wasn’t my speed, nor did they inspire my writing.
Finally, in the shower (as usual), inspiration came in the form of a lyric from a medicine song that deeply binds me to my prayer. I quickly wrapped a towel around me and dashed to my computer. I squeezed out four lines. It wasn’t much, just a start.
The next day, our internet went down. We called the cable company. While my partner was testing the internet on my computer, he saw the vows I had idiotically left open on my laptop.
I was back to zero.
And this time I felt even more hopeless. The crappy internet had destroyed my tiny shred of inspiration.
And that’s when I decided I would start as I always do: with the truth. I made the decision to just write what I was feeling in the moment. Every mental block broke, and all aggravation poured out of me.
And from this odd pile of brain vomit arose a simple truth: I had been trying to vow in a way that wasn’t in harmony with who I was. I was looking for static promises that I knew would set me up for failure.
What I discovered then was that this love was a moment to moment choice. How our relationship will look or what we will want in the future will naturally ebb and flow. But I can be certain that I will be a total ‘yes’ to whatever arises. And this ‘yes’ to everything—the blissful and the challenging—is the foundation of orgasmic marriage.
I share these words with you today in the hopes that they carry on the spirit of that prayer: to inspire and foster the growth—for myself, my Beloved and everyone we meet.
In a moment when a writer most needs her muse
Words utterly fail me—
Or rather they disappoint—
They are but brief placeholders
To the magnitude of love inside.
I remember within the first weeks of dating you
(During our emotional disarmament)
When I laid down my vanity and spoke
The ominous desire:
“I want to know what it’s like to be utterly devoted to a man.”
And so…here we stand.
Me: a woman
Just trying to figure it out.
You: the answer
To my every prayer.
This relationship has felt like a series of choiceless choices.
I can say ‘Yes’
And watch the most incredible miracles unfold–
Or…I can say ‘Yes’
Because you and I would never choose anything less than magic.
I choose connection over ‘being right.’
I choose vulnerability over pride.
I choose support for our growth over insecurity of my own inadequacy.
I choose celebration over manipulation.
I choose ‘more life’ over stagnant insulation.
I choose gratitude over resentment.
I choose play over ‘winning the game.’
I choose service to Spirit over selfish adoration.
I choose interpersonal freedom over fear-laden codependency.
I choose a pauper’s truth over a king’s ransom of lies.
“Oh my Beloved, you are always in my heart”
And this is my only prayer:
May our love be the foundation of our lives,
And an inspiration to each other
And to every person we meet.
I honor—and devote—myself to you,
My partner in this world—
And every place
This essay originally appeared in Elephant Journal.
Photo of the author and her husband by Shane Metcalf.