I was asked, invited, to be my husband's wife-I made a choice and freely and willingly agreed...and in doing so, I gave my commitment and stand by it and for it. I haven't remained married for over 20 years by taking my word lightly!!
Love, commitment, marriage, family and vows--aren't about being perfect. Exactly opposite. It's about loving in spite of disappointment. Keeping your word is about being someone your family can trust and depend on in the really hard, deep dark, moments. It's about grace for others and for yourself when you know you've failed big time and made a mess of things. It's about asking for help and being willing to give it. It's about faith in something bigger than just yourself or your own point of view. It's about starting right where you are--to be the person you vowed to be--to and for others.
It's about second and third and fourth chances. It's about forgiving, freely. About making a choice to do better, be better, to not give up-even if you 'feel' like it. Believing in love that is real because you choose to love not only because you think you feel it or not. I also vowed to love, cherish, respect, honor and forsake all others. That was the first part of the vow I made. The first part, is independent of the second part. I did not make a vow of fidelity and commitment based only on whether I was cherished, protected or loved...I made a vow of commitment, independently of the way I was treated. Independent of anyone else's behavior. I made a vow that I desired (and still desire) to keep.
I can tell you---with 20 years behind me--LOVE IS what you MAKE, not what you FALL for!
Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. Galations 6:9
None of us will ever perfectly maintain the first part of our vows, which is why I believe the second part of the vow was created and necessary. If we're honest, we will fail miserably at times. It's not only in good times, but a vow for bad times, poor times, a vow for the worst times. Maybe that is really it: vows are for failures...just like grace. I thought I made a vow in confidence that I could maintain the first part...never expecting my own failures would be why my vow included the second part.
We need vows because we will fail.
So come, let's make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment. Genesis 31:44
Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence! Psalm 74:20