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The Most Important Wedding Vows You Can Make

by Lauren Jacobson

For most couples, wedding vows aren’t something that they spend a lot of time on. Now, however, sociologists are finding that couples who spend longer designing their wedding vows are more likely to stay together, particularly if they talk about what those vows mean to each individual in the marriage. With that in mind, here are a few twists on traditional wedding vows that will, at very least, force you and your partner to think about what marriage really means.

1. “I promise to always be there for you.”

Its important that your wedding vows assert commitment and trust. A sense of shared, positive obligation (as opposed to the negative obligation implied by many more traditional wedding vows) can form the basis for a long,happy marriage that is fulfilling to both parties. Vows such as this one establish that by committing to fulfilling your partner’s critical need for a friend in circumstances fair and foul.

2. “I promise to show my appreciation for you every day.”

Relationship science has shown that many relationships fail due to a lack of reciprocal gratitude: one partner feels that the other simply does not appreciate the work that they do for them. By committing to a display of thanks, you remind your partner that the kind things that you do for them represent a bond of mutual gratification.

3. “I promise to always do the best thing for us, our relationship, and our family.”

While one would think that fairness would be an ideal virtue to display in a relationship, the reality is that a focus on fairness often leads to squabbling and fighting among established couples as both partners try to get what they fell the other partner owes them. A better vow is one that prioritizes the health of the relationship, and the other member, over one’s own sense of entitlement.

4. “I promise to support your choices and respect your judgement.”

It can be uncomfortably easy to shoot down good ideas and dreams on the part of your partner without meaning to. That’s why its critical to establish an equal relationship that respects the individuality of both members, both so that no one has their feelings hurt or hopes dashed, and so that each member can provide constructive criticism while respecting one another’s freedom.

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