Uniquely Yours: Wedding Vows

The wedding vow is the most well-known demonstration of verbal love. A vow is a line of words that are a solemn promise, or assertion, someone makes that binds him or her to an act, service, or condition. In the case of a wedding, it’s a declaration of love.

Because religion plays a significant role in many people’s lives, some of the more traditional vows were created by individual churches. Each vow has a slightly different way of phrasing the dedication words to make them fit each belief system better. The following are some of the more common religious vows:

  • Roman Catholic: “I, Olivia, take you, Craig, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
  • Muslim: “I pledge in honesty and with sincerity to be for you an obedient and faithful wife.” “I pledge, in honesty and sincerity to be for you a faithful and helpful husband.”
  • Jewish: The groom says, “Behold thou art consecrated unto me by this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel.” The bride remains silent, as is customary, and they are married.
  • Carpatho Russian Orthodox: “I, Craig, take you, Olivia, as my wedded wife and I promise you love, honor, and respect: to be faithful to you and not to forsake you until death do us part, so help me God, one in the Holy Trinity and all the Saints.”
  • Traditional Hindu Mantra Baha’i Faith: “I am the word, and you are the melody. I am the melody, and you are the word.”
  • Protestant: “I, Olivia, choose you, Craig, to be my husband, my friend, my love, the father of our children. I will be yours in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, in failure and in triumph. I will cherish you and respect you, comfort and encourage you, and together we shall live freed and bound by our love.”
  • United Church: “Olivia, I take you to be my wife, to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to grow with you in love, serving mankind in peace and hope, as long as we both shall live.”

Personalizing Vows

Many couples choose to continue with tradition and repeat the vow just as others in love have done for thousands of years. However, a contemporary trend has been for couples to write their own vows.

Because the heart of the wedding ceremony is the exchange of vows, creating your own can be a wonderful opportunity to share aloud just why you have chosen your mate. This declaration of intent is specifically what the ritual is about anyway. To help you begin to formulate your ideas about what you will eventually write as your wedding vow, use the following tips. They will guide you to the most beautiful, loving words designed for your wedding day:

  • You don’t have to completely rewrite the traditional vows; you can simply replace certain words, phrases, or sentences to fit your thoughts.
  • Ask the officiator about ideas he may have, guidance he might offer, or what’s acceptablein a vow.
  • The library offers many books on how to write personalized wedding vows. Read as many as you can so that you get a good feeling about how to write yours.
  • Collect phrases that you like.
  • Attend weddings and make notes about the words you liked in others’ vows.
  • Sit down with your partner and write your vows together. Even if you don’t share what you are writing, the collaborative effort will be bonding.
  • Begin early before the crunch of the wedding consumes you and you no longer have time to write something meaningful.

Saying traditional vows is nerve-wracking enough, but the thought of reciting personal vows can be absolutely terrifying for some people. The fear of forgetting something causes some people to choose not to write personal vows at all.

  • You don’t have to let this fear come between you and what you want to say to your partner in a vow. It’s common to have the person performing the ceremony to read the vow and have you repeat it after him. Most wedding ceremonies are performed this way, so you won’t have to worry about fully memorizing your lines.

© 2007

Other Relationship Issues, Books

Nancy Fagan is the best-selling author of 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Romance' and 'Desirable Men: How to Find Them' has appeared on several hundred radio and television shows including Ricki Lake, Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, The Berman & Berman Show, FOX News. She has been featured in most major newspaper in the United States and worldwide as well as regularly mentioned in the nation's top magazines such as Ladies' Home Journal ('Can this Marriage be Saved?'), Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Men's Health, Bride's, Seventeen, Women's Day, Family Circle, Women's Own, BBW, Complete Women and dozens of others. To read more, visit This column is reprinted with permission from Send questions to E-Mail

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