How to Write Same Sex Marriage Vows
Writing your own marriage vows for a same-sex marriage isn't really all that different than writing vows for an opposite-sex wedding. You're still promising to love each other, and showing what you love about each other. The important thing is that it is heartfelt and real.
Writing Your Own Vows
Decide whether you want to write together or apart.Some couples write their vows together, with the intention of keeping them similar. Other couples write vows separately, with each person deciding what they want to say to the other person. Sometimes, the second kind of vows are kept secret until the wedding, though sometimes, you may also want to write different vows together. That way, they are unique, but you can still have vows that go together.
Determine how formal you want your vows.Even if you're writing separately, you may decide together that you want to keep your vows more formal or informal. What that means will vary by couple, but making a joint decision about it is a good way to keep from catching someone off-guard.
Think about what you want to include.That is, you may want to make personal promises to each other, but you may also want to include some more classic lines. Take some time to look at opposite-sex vows, particularly ones related to your faith if you're religious. Decide what you'd like to use from those traditions. It's fine to mix and match, as long as you agree (and the officiant is okay with it).
- You should also consider including something about children, if you or your partner already has children. You also might want to include a promise about parenting and committing to parent your partner's child or children.
State what the person means to you.Begin with a declaration about what the person means to you. It's a great way to open because it establishes the other person's worth to you right from the outset, which is partially what you want to establish in your wedding vows.
- It could be something like "Karen, you are the light of my life," or "Joe, you mean everything to me."
- You could also try something like, "Rachel, I'm so thankful to have met you."
Say other things you like about the person.Spend some time expanding on what the person means to you. Make some heartfelt statements about the person's value. Don't forget to tell the person how much you love and cherish them.
- Think about why you wanted to marry the person in the first place. What makes you smile every time she does it? Does your heart burst when he walks into the room?
- What are your favorite little quirks?
Make it personal.Platitudes are great, especially if they come from your heart, but statements that are unique to the person will mean so much more. In other words, get as specific as possible when writing how much you love the person.
- "I love you to the end of the earth," is sweet, but "I love the way you smile when you first wake up, the sun creeping across your sleepy face" is much more personal.
Remember you are making a pact.The heart of the vow is what you promise to each other. You are making a pact to be together, and your vows should reflect that pact. In other words, before writing, think about what you bring to the relationship, and how you will uphold the other person.
- As a same-sex couple, it's still a perilous privilege to legally marry your spouse, and your vows could reflect that, too, such as "I promise to defend you when other people try to bring us down."
Think about what you honestly pledge to do.When making promises, you don't want to just repeat other people's words without thinking about them first. You want to make sure what you're saying is what you will do. For instance, maybe you want to talk about creating a home together or a family. Maybe you want to talk about growing old together. Maybe you want to make promises about the life you want to create together.
- For example, you could say, "I promise to join my life with yours in a world that sometimes tells us we shouldn't have a life together, so that we can create a happy, bright home together."
- You could also say, "I promise to always help you find the beauty in life and to always take you up on your offer to watch a sunset."
Make promises about acceptance and love.Part of the promises you make usually include a section about how you accept the other person, and how you plan to love them. You can define these promises by length of time (life) or the specific times you will love them through (i.e. sickness and health).
- For example, you could say something like, "I accept you just as you are, with all your best and worst qualities, and I promise that I will love you through all the good times and the bad times."
- Alternatively, you could say something like, "I cherish who you are as a person, and I promise to love that person all our lives."
Adapting Opposite-Sex Vows
Don't be afraid to go back to classic vows.If you're stressing about your vows, it's fine to take opposite-sex vows and adapt them to your needs. You can still modify them to fit the occasion, and you won't work yourself into a tizzy trying to write something beautiful and romantic.
Substitute in the appropriate gender.For same-sex wedding vows, all you need to do to adapt classic vows is to sub in "wife/woman and wife/woman" or "husband/man and husband/man" for "wife/woman and husband/man."
- Classic Presbyterian vows are as follows:
- "(Name), wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wife/husband, and wilt thou pledge thy faith to him/her, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her/him, and cherish her/him, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage?"
- "I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my wedded wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife, in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live."
- As you can see, these vows are already fairly gender-neutral, so you just need to sub in the correct words. Most contemporary religions have gender-neutral vows, so all you really need to do is sub in the appropriate genders and names.
Decide how much religion you want to include.If you're having a religious ceremony, you probably want to include "God" in your vows, as most classic vows do. However, if you're not having a religious ceremony, but you still want to use classic vows, you may have to adjust the wording.
- For example, if you want to use the classic Methodist vows, they are as follows:
- "Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?"
- "In the name of God, I, (Name), take you, (name), to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow."
- In this case, you may want to take out "holy" or replace "In the name of God" with "As witnessed by the universe."
Consider adding a line about your struggle.Because same-sex marriage is still gaining acceptance, despite being legal, it may be appropriate to include a line about supporting each other through the struggles of being a same-sex couple.
- For example, you could use the following Catholic vows, and add a line as you see fit:
- "I, (Name), take you, (Name), for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."
- "I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life."
- Before the last sentence in the second vow, you could add the line, "I promise to stand with you through all the struggles our relationship faces, from internal and external forces."
Being Creative Without Adding Stress
Don't be afraid to get a little silly.Of course, your wedding is an important day, and you're making an important promise. However, it's okay to make your vows personal, even a little silly, to help you let the other person know how much you care about them.
- For example, you can promise that "I'll always walk in the rain and splash in puddles with you."
- You could also say that "I promise I'll always ask you to dance when our favorite song comes on the radio, even in the middle of a restaurant."
Don't wait until the night before.Marriage vows take time. They come from the heart, and sometimes figuring out exactly what you want to say to the person you love on your wedding day is a daunting task. If you start the night before the wedding, you won't have time to really figure out what you want to say.
- Start writing your vows at least a month in advance and have a solid draft at least 2 weeks before the wedding. That way, you'll have time to make tweaks.
- Practice saying your vows to friends and family to ease the stress during the ceremony. You'll feel more confident and less nervous if you've practiced them beforehand.
Have a backup.You probably want to memorize your vows, but it's okay to have a backup in case you forget. Give a copy to one of your wedding attendants, so they can have it ready in case you stumble. It's a big day, and you're sure to be a big bundle of nerves. It's okay if you forget a little, as long as the sentiment is there.
- If you cannot think of what to write, look at old photos of you and your partner. Try to think about holidays you have taken together or the nights you spent at home watching movies. Even tiny things like the way they eat a chocolate bar or pick the pickles out from a burger can be included in your vows if you feel strongly about them.
- You can also draw inspiration from movies, books, and poems. It's fine to use someone else's words to express what you're feeling.
Video: This Bride's Poetic Vows Will Give You Chills | Real Weddings | BRIDES
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