At times over the past nearly 24 years of married life I have asked mrangelmeg if he would be willing to renew our vows; on special anniversaries and when we were vacationing where they had those quaint wedding chapels in the mountains. Each time I asked he has always said "Why bother, they worked the first time." or "No need to fix what isn't broken." or some other quip equally dripping with romance.
We have actually participated in one renewal of vows ceremony at our church. I have the picture to prove it. It is one of my favorite pictures of us because it happened to be one of those winters when I had cajoled mrangelmeg into growing a beard and in the picture he has a beard and I don't look half bad myself. The picture was taken by a friend of ours who was playing "wedding photographer" for the evening's festivities that night at church. Each couple that participated in the Mass got a nice dinner and a photograph to commemorate the evening.
It has been many years since that time, and I had decided that it was easier not to ask anymore than to keep getting turned down. While mrangelmeg sees no reason to renew the vows we made all those years ago, I see nothing wrong with a refresher.
I suppose I look at it more as I do the renewal of promises that the Priests make at the Chrism Mass. Their Ordination made an indelible and irreversible mark on them, yet each year they stand before the altar of God and reaffirm the promises they made at that ordination. It isn't that the first promises didn't take, it is just that it doesn't hurt to make a public show of reminding ourselves about what is important.
I think it is really important that it be in a Mass as well. Marriage is a vocation. As one of my favorite Bishops says in his vocations prayer it is the source of all other vocations. When the Church begins to recognize and uphold the vocation of marriage and call for the strengthening of the vocation of marriage with the same vigor that it has been the vocation of the priesthood and religious life I think the vocations crisis in this country will vanish.
I will get off my soapbox now and get back to my point. Saturday evening mrangelmeg surprised me by registering us for a Marriage renewal service at our parish. He had mentioned it once before, but I thought he was joking because of his previous statements. I was pleasantly surprised that we attended, and we had a wonderful time.
The nicest thing of all though was looking into his eyes and telling him that I would still take him as my husband from this day forward, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, forsaking all others until death us do part. As I said those words I could see that 21 year old young man standing in the front of the church with me all those years ago. Little did we know then what those words would mean. If we can get through what we have been through to this point I think the safe money is on us.
But it was really nice hearing him say the words over again, because I know I don't much look like that young girl anymore. Heck I don't even feel like her anymore.
If you get a chance to renew your vows, take it. If you just get a chance to say to your spouse "I would marry you all over again today." do it. Don't miss an opportunity to say I love you in words and deeds.