How I Stopped Hating Vow Renewals

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I love you againFor years, I shared what I think was a majority view on vow renewals: They normally lead to divorce. I scoffed at couples who felt the need to recommit themselves year after year. I rolled my eyes when people talked about trips to the Caribbean to stand on a beach and relive their weddings all over again. Even though Heidi Klum and Seal‘s divorce was sad, I shook my head and said, “They were cursed by the vow renewals.”

Then, something really odd happened. While reading that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones would be the next celebrity couple to say “I Do” all over again, something about vow renewals clicked. Suddenly, I could completely understand why they might be nice, even beneficial for couples.

Maybe it’s because everything Catherina Zeta-Jones does seems wonderful. Let’s face it, the lady is freaking amazing. But when they mentioned that after the couples high-profile medical issues, Douglas’s struggle with cancer and Zeta-Jones going to a clinic for bipolar disorder, that the two just want to put the difficult years behind them and look forward, I could honestly relate to that feeling. I could see how a vow renewal would be more than bragging about how awesome your relationship is or trying to get back to the day when everything was about you. I could see how such a ceremony might be really helpful for a couple.

My husband and I didn’t have the easiest couple of years of marriage. Through family trauma, health issues, and personal loss, it hasn’t exactly been an easy road. We sometimes joke that if we can make it through these first five years, the rest of our lives will be a piece of cake. What could try a marriage more than losing a pregnancy, struggling to having children, multiple trips to the hospital? We should be golden from here.

But after all of that stress and grief, it might be nice to take a minute with my husband and refocus on our family, and our future. I wouldn’t want the event publicized. I wouldn’t want anyone other than my immediate family there. (We didn’t invite more than immediate family to our actual wedding, so you couldn’t expect any different.) And I wouldn’t want to spend a ton of money or buy a new white dress. None of that  would be necessary.

A vow renewal, for all that I’ve joked about them in the past, might be about more than an ostentatious display of your own good fortune. I think it might help my husband and I, especially after a rough couple of years, find appreciation for the blessings we have and get excited about what’s still waiting in our future. Taking time to acknowledge that it’s our dedication and love for each other that’s gotten us through the rough patches and that will bring us joy in the future doesn’t seem nearly as corny as it once did.

I will make one promise though. If we decide to renew our vows, I won’t post any pictures of it. I won’t plaster it all over my Facebook. Not a single Tweet about the ceremony will make it out. Because I’ve realized that this is what I really hate about vow renewals. It’s not the ceremony itself, it’s the advertising of it. I might convince my husband to head back to the mountain we got married on and say a few words with me, but it won’t be to let everyone else know how great our marriage is. It’ll be to remind ourselves how lucky we are.

(Photo: Movie Title Stills)