You started down a new road with a person you were absolutely in love with. You smiled, looking radiant as you promised to have and to hold, to love and to honor, to cherish your love in both good times and bad ... a lot of beautiful promises that brought happy tears.
But then, after the dancing was over and the cake was eaten, you started your real life together — and now you've realized that those promises (though beautiful) don't exactly cover the reality of marriage.
Maybe it's time to update those marriage vows. Here are 10 things you can promise now that will be a lot more helpful on a day-to-day basis.
1. I will support you in your interests
Your spouse is going to like different things than you do. Try to be supportive. Allow him to pursue other interests.
2. I will hold my tongue when I'm angry
Before you say something you'll regret, really think about why you're angry (could hunger or exhaustion be fueling the fire?). Remember, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
3. I will say I'm sorry, and I will forgive you
Even if you keep your mouth shut when you're angry, you'll still make other mistakes. Ask for and extend forgiveness every time it is needed.
4. I will love you for who you are
Don't make the mistake of thinking you can change your spouse. Love her for the person she is and not for who you hope she will be.
5. I will love myself for who I am
It's also important that you love and take care of yourself. You and your spouse will both be better off if you do.
6. I will keep our marriage private
Don't complain about your spouse to others or in front of other people. Your marital issues should stay within your marriage (unless you're in counseling).
7. I will really listen when you're talking
You're spouse shouldn't have to repeat something to you multiple times before you get the message. Really listen. Don't just think about what you're going to say next.
8. I will not keep score
Marriage is not a competition or a sporting event. You don't win if you do more dishes or change more dirty diapers. You win when you help each other.
Children are needy, and it's important to meet their needs, but it's even more important to nurture your marriage. It's good for your children when you put your spouse first.
10. I will give you space when you need it
Just because you are supposed to "have and hold" your spouse doesn't mean you have to hold him all the time. Everyone needs some space sometimes. Be aware of and sensitive to how much time your spouse needs to himself.
Sure, these vows may not be as romantic and touching as the ones you made at the altar, but for better or worse, these promises (and others you'll come up with) will help your marriage make it all the way until death do you part.