The Sweet Christian Bride

How To Write Your Own Vows

by admin on August 12, 2011 in Vows with 5 Comments

Writing your own vows can be a beautiful gift to you and to your fiancé because they are penned specifically for you.  If this is something you want to do for each other, then here is a very simple formula:

1) Say what you love about your fiancé.

2) Promise how you will love him as his wife.

Keeping the vows short and sweet can alleviate a lot of the pressure to capture every single detail of why he is so amazing and why you want to be married to him.  You are offering highlights, so pick 2 or 3 aspects of him that are truly your favorite.  Another way to look it it would be, which qualities had to have been present in your relationship for you to have even considered marriage; what were your deal-breakers?  Clearly those are aspects that are imperative to you and that your fiancé fulfills.  Those are great qualities to start with.

Next, pick one or two qualities that your fiancé needs to hear.  Sometimes boasting about something they have shaky confidence in can incredibly encourage them.  Or perhaps he needs to hear a special nickname or phrasing that is significant between you two.  Giving name to that is a way of saying, “I remember what that phrase means to you, and I cherish the fact that it’s ours.”

An example of this was saying to Chris in my vows, “I think you are the most amazing man in the world, and I am the luckiest woman in the whole world to come alongside you as your wife.”  This is hardly the most eloquent of phrasing, and I don’t even believe in luck, but what I was saying spoke to Chris’ heart.  It was the same wording that he had used during our conversations when we were defining what marriage meant to us and identifying whether we wanted to set each other apart for the rest of our lives.  Using an echo of that conversation was significant to him in the sense that it told him, “I remember those conversations, and in light of them, you are the only person I desire to spend my life with.” 

By telling your fiancé what you love about him before making promises to him, you are assuring him that you know him and are choosing to love him because of who he is, not because of who you want him to be in the future.

When you make your promises, you are once again choosing highlights.  What does marriage mean to you and your fiancé?  Speak to his understanding of marriage so that he knows that you are both on the same page with what it means to make this life-long commitment. 

Start in Scripture and speak to God’s design for marriage.  Those are promises worth vowing and keeping, no matter the cost.  Next, think back to your pre-marital counseling sessions where you heard your fiancé’s dreams and fears for marriage.  Speak to those in a way that respects his private thoughts as you publicly vow, but that shows him you have deeply considered all those aspects of marriage that are vital to him.

Avoid promising things like, “I promise to let you watch Braves games,” or “I promise to walk the dog.”  Marriage vows are not a delineation of your division of labor or of small picture details that won’t be fulfilled on a daily basis.  They are the overarching principles that you are willing to fight for on a daily basis because those principles lived out allow you to be one with your fiancé.

Even though your vows are for you two, and using phrases that are meaningful to you two alone is appropriate, your vows are also a public declaration of your commitment to marriage.  Because of this, it is good to avoid saying anything too private or too cryptic.  For many of your guests, this will be the only real insight into Christian marriage that they will ever see.  Your vows are an opportunity to demonstrate how a covenant marriage is different from a contractual marriage, as well as why a covenant marriage is worth the life-long commitment. 

After you have written your vows, it’s a good idea to give them to trusted friends who can compare them unbiasedly and can offer feedback where appropriate.  Unless you and your fiancé are going to share your vows with each other ahead of time, you will want to make sure that you aren’t gushing for three pages while he succinctly speaks in 3 sentences.  It’s a very uncomfortable position to have unmet expectations while you are standing publicly at the altar.

Chris and I gave our vows to my dearest married friend and to his closest married friend.  That way we received a male’s and a female’s perspective from people who knew us thoroughly, who supported our marriage, who loved Jesus, and who had experienced themselves what it meant to vow before God and witnesses.  It was really good that we did that because my vows were long-winded and Chris’ were concise.  Mine were sweeping generalizations and his were specific details.  Both of those differences were true to our personality differences, but we wanted to make sure that we weren’t speaking in our own language but rather in each other’s language for our vows.

We edited them and had them reviewed again to make sure we were on the right track.  Though mine were still a bit longer than his at the end of the day, they felt equal, which made it comfortable for everyone who heard them (including ourselves).

I recommend writing your vows (or choosing them) in advance.  Vows often seem to get left to the last few weeks of wedding planning, but vows really mean something.  They actually matter, and they are the heart of your wedding.  Leaving time to really pray over them and revise them with care is an important way of showing thoughtful love to your fiancé.

By Lindsay
  • There are currently 5 Comments.

  • The Sweet Christian Bride
    • Delilah says:

      Very helpful! Thank you! As a Christian only in the faith for a year and a half, and having no Christian marriages as precedent, this was great to reference. Thank you and God bless!

    • Caitesby says:

      Thank you so much for writing this, it truly blessed my soul and challenged me to really think about how beautiful and important the marriage vows are. God is good 🙂

    • Kaitie says:

      This was so incredibly helpful. Thank you so so much!

    • Ally says:

      I can’t thank you enough for this! Our wedding is in 10 days and this was incredibly helpful. God Bless you and your marriage! <3

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