The Sweet Christian Bride

Receiving the Vows

by admin on June 13, 2013 in Relationship, Rings, Vows with No Comments

During a jog on a rather down day, I listened to a sermon about joy. I was moved and convicted by the speaker’s instructions to receive the joy that is already given to us in the Holy Spirit.

Just like with forgiveness, she said, we ask God for so much of it and then forget to receive it. It’s already been given to us, but we let it sit there untouched while we beg Him for more.

At a friend’s wedding, I saw a couple—for the first time ever in my history of attending weddings—receive the ring vow. The pastor guided the groom through the promise: “I give you this ring as a promise to ….” Then, the pastor turned to the bride and guided her through the receiving of the vow: “I receive this ring as your promise….” And vice-versa.


What we truly want in a partnership is not just unconditional love but also unconditional receipt of that love.

Receiving the love given to us is the only way we are able to fully love in return. Of course this is ultimately true with Jesus’ love: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

In marriage it is surprisingly easy to let our fears and shame convince us to reject our spouse’s love for us. At times we don’t feel worthy of it, or in our worst moments, we don’t want them to feel validated for the love they give, so we reject it as punishment.

Receiving love from someone, especially in moments when you don’t want to, is a strong statement of trust, humility, and gratitude. Receiving your spouse’s promise to love you faithfully, especially in moments where you might not clearly see it acted on, is an even stronger statement of faith in God to uphold the promise in all circumstances.

With both the wedding vows and the ring vows, consider taking the time in your ceremony to acknowledge and receive the commitment your spouse is making to you. You can add a spoken acknowledgment that your guests can hear or you can make it a private look in each other’s eyes or a squeeze of your hands that is just between the two of you in order to say, “Yes, I receive your promise for our marriage.”

Photo © John Yao, SimplyTwo Photography, featuring Dorinda and Peseng’s wedding

Article originally published on April 15, 2011.

By Lindsay

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