The day you get married you make promises to your spouse with your wedding vows. You promise that through a myriad of circumstances you will love him or her through it all and ultimately never leave him or her.
I’m certain we all have good intentions. We want to honor those promises. You want to love your spouse like the days you were dating and courting. But somewhere along the lines those promises are forgotten—or at least aren’t at the top of your mind.
It’s kind of like the New Year’s resolutions and goals many of us set. You were planning to run that mini-marathon. You wanted to pay off that debt or start that new business.
However, the further January 1 looks in our rearview mirror, the less we think about it. And the less we think about it, the less action we take. Until for some of us, no action is taken at all, and we give up.
I’ve learned that one of the biggest struggles for me in achieving my goals, or keeping my promises to my wife, is keeping them in focus by regularly visiting them. If I write goals on January 1 and don’t look at them again, it’s unlikely I’ll take the action needed to complete them.
The same goes for my marriage. If I set goals, make promises, and say my wedding vows to my wife on our wedding day but never say or read them again, then I can only hope I honor them. I’d much rather be intentional about it, especially something as important as my marriage.
I do have a confession to make: I don’t even know my own wedding vows. I’m assuming my wife and I said the traditional wedding vows, but because I have not looked at them or said them since our wedding day, I don’t even remember! I feel terrible about that. And that’s why I wrote new wedding vows I plan to read to myself and say to my wife over and over again.
These wedding vows aren’t just random thoughts, but they are things I’ve learned through conversation and observation of those who have lasting and fulfilling marriages. If you want a marriage that lasts and is fulfilling, then it makes sense to learn from those who are living that out.
Here are seven wedding vows you should make to your spouse every year:
1. “I will keep Christ as the center and foundation of our marriage.”
Marriage is supposed to be built to last. If you want to build something that lasts, you need to build it on the best foundation possible. In my experience, the best and most reliable foundation is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
2. “I will commit to loving, respecting, and serving you every day of our marriage.”
Marriage is about commitment. Without a commitment, you have no marriage. I’ve learned I must make my commitment over and over again.
3. “I will study you and our marriage continually, and l will love discovering new things about us.”
Becoming a lifelong learner of your spouse will keep your marriage from being stale and boring. It will also allow you to connect with your spouse in amazing ways.
4. “I will never give up on you or our marriage, and I will persevere through all we encounter.”
Marriage is hard. Marriage is work. Marriage is not always great! Yes, yes, and yes! But you committed, and if you quit when it gets tough, you’ll miss out on the amazing things you hoped for.
5. “I will not let problems fester. Instead, I will quickly restore any broken pieces of our marriage.”
Your feelings will get hurt. You will hurt your spouse’s feelings. You will have problems. But determine to push through those problems together, no matter what they are.
6. “I will choose joy and intentionally search for and find the good in you and our marriage.”
You will find what you are looking for. Your spouse will become who you say he or she is. If that is the case, then choose joy, look for the good, and set your mind on things that will make you smile.
7. “I will consistently connect with other couples and use our marriage as an example of a lasting and fulfilling marriage.”
Marriage is not a battle you want to go at alone. All of us need help and benefit from having relationships with other couples. Be sure to use what you learn from others, to share with those in similar seasons, and to pour into those who don’t know what they’re in for.
A successful marriage doesn’t just happen—you must be intentional. When you consistently make these vows to your spouse and put them into practice, your marriage will transform for the better. You can and will have a lasting and fulfilling life together.
Jackie Bledsoe is a professional blogger, author, and speaker, but first and foremost a husband and father. He’s the author of The Seven Rings of Marriage book and Bible study.