You would probably survive intact if you passed on celebrating Valentine’s Day in its purely commercial form. Red balloons deflate, chocolate unfortunately goes to the hips, and choosing the right Valentine’s Day card can be a struggle. But there is certainly value on celebrating marital love every year. Why not use Valentine’s Day as a scheduled marriage booster?
I’m a wife and believe me I would like a box of chocolates and a nice dinner out as much as the next woman. But this year, I’m going to suggest something different. Something a little out of the gift box.
It all begins with reading some carefully chosen words. Do you remember the words you spoke, the vow you made on your wedding day? I’ll be honest. I don’t remember the exact words I said on my wedding day 14 years ago. I do know they were traditional vows, but I would have to dig up the VHS tape to really get it word for word.
On Valentine’s Day, why don’t you get alone with your spouse and promise each other once again to have and to hold until death do you part? These words could be exchanged over a candlelight dinner, standing face to face in the park, or cuddling on your sofa at home.
Tell each other:
I promise you (name of spouse) to have and to hold you from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, til death do us part, according to God’s holy law, and this is my solemn vow.
You can vary it by personalizing it with more:
I promise you (name of spouse) that I am totally committed to you and our marriage. I believe in you and am proud to be your spouse. In good times and bad times, I will always be here for you. I will honor your goals and dreams and support you in every way possible. I will be open and honest in our relationship. I am sorry for the times I have been selfish. I will seek in the future to consider your needs above my own. I will pray for you regularly and believe that God is working in our marriage.
You can use these words as a template and create your own unique declarations. Don’t underestimate the power of looking your spouse in the eyes and saying words of commitment. Then on the flip side, to hear your spouse say these kinds of words to you is beautiful music to the ears.
My husband James and I attended a marriage conference a few years ago. At the end of the weekend, a room packed full of men and women renewed their vows to each other. Each couple faced each other and repeated vows that the leader read. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I was surprised by how moving that experience was. James and I are natural born talkers so we exchange words all the time. But not like that. Facing my husband and saying those words was extremely special and sacred. It took less than five minutes but it transported us to that holy moment when we first committed ourselves in marriage before God and man.
We cannot afford to forget the power of commitment in marriage. But when sacred words of commitment are seldom spoken, it’s easier to drift apart. In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 we’re given a formula of success for the family. You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NLT).
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Marriage vows and commitments made to God and each other are not to be said once and then erased over time and neglect. Tell your spouse once more, again and again, that you are committed to him or her until death do you part. You can even repeat the conversation again and purposefully allow your children to eavesdrop, so they too hear the strength of your commitment.
You can’t wrap up your words and put them in a gift box on Valentine’s Day. Or on second thought, maybe you can. You could write down your vows and commitments on a sheet of paper. When your spouse opens the box, you can read your promises to him or her face to face.
Perhaps you can start a new tradition of repeating your vows every Valentine’s Day. Those would be the perfect words to express your love this holiday. Cue the romantic music; it’s going to be a Valentine’s Day to remember!
Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and 31 Days to a Younger You. She has been a guest on Family Life Today, The 700 Club, Turning Point with David Jeremiah, and The Hour of Power. Arlene and her husband James live in San Diego with their three children. Visit Arlene’s website at www.TheHappyHusband.com.
Publication date: February 11, 2013