January 6, 2012

Wedding Vows for the Long-Term Married Couple

Originally published at Open Salon.com

When you marry in your teens or twenties, there’s a magical quality to the ceremony. The white dress, the special music, the old brides dabbing their eyes with linen handkerchiefs only used for such a day. In front of each other, you recite your vows while your friends and relatives watch, tearfully or tragically. You break the glass or light the candle or drink the wine.
And then the real work begins.
The idea of getting remarried, or at least updating vows, might be of value to the long-term married.
We’re going on three decades, and like that old Honda in the garage, we need a tune-up and possibly a new fan belt. We’ve been faithful, obeyed each other in sickness and health, yada yada yada.
We need vows for a new time in our lives. And I wouldn’t mind going to Vegas and reciting them in front of an Elvis impersonator, but that’s just me.
For Him:
I, State Your Name, continue to take thee to be my wedded wife, despite reservations that defy common sense.
To have and to hold from this day forward, or until the Mayan calendar ends,
For better, for when you mate my socks, or make refried beans for dinner,
For worse, such as when your elderly parents and your brother with his bourbon bottle visit for days on end and eat hundreds of dollars worth of food,
For richer, for poorer, until Social Security and Medicare kick in,
In sickness with your constant hot flashes or in health on those days when your hormones aren’t raging and you actually behave somewhat human,
To love you even when you constantly ask me inane questions about football or when you mess up the remote on the big tv every time or forget to write down how much you spent for groceries in the checkbook
And to cherish you until death do us part and you cremate me and take my insurance money and go to Hawaii for a month.
Thereto I plight thee my troth for at least another thirty years
For Her
I, State Your Name, continue to take thee as my wedded husband, even though I really don’t like Sports Center or you running the channels constantly with the remote I can’t understand
To have and to hold from this day forward or until global warming sucks all the air and water from our universe
For better, on those nights when we can read side by side while listening to Riverwalk Jazz,
Or worse, when we have to drive somewhere we are obligated to go, but it is dark and neither of us can see well,
For richer, when we were able to travel to London and Paris and pretend like we are of Royal Blood even if we are on a tour bus with 30 other Baby Boomers.
For poorer, when we sit at the kitchen table and try to figure out how to pay all the bills because I lost a good job three years ago and now started my own business.
In sickness, when you are crabby because you have a minor cold, and in health, when you are so happy you’ll take all the recycling stuff to the dump by yourself on Saturday morning
Thereto I plight thee my troth for another three decades or so of bad puns and silliness and staying up too late
For Him
I will dig in my dresser drawer for that simple gold band we bought at Service Merchandise for around fifty dollars, and I’ll look at it once in awhile and remember that I am married.
For her
I’ll wear my wedding ring, also purchased at Service Merchandise for around thirty dollars, to business functions where I want people to know I’m still married.
Voice of deceased minister who married this couple, though he's been in the St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery for fifteen years.
By the power vested in me by the State of Indiana and the Lutheran Church, I pronounce that I’ll be damned you stayed married for almost thirty years, and you seem good to go.
I now pronounce you Old Married People.