To Vow or Not to Vow


When visions clash, titans fall.  I’ve shared just how tense things were around our house the year before our cruise.  When the time came to plan the actual words of the renewal ceremony, visions clashed.  It was almost as if my husband of 25 years and I no longer shared a common language.

My Vision

As I’ve said, my first vision of our vow renewal was a simple ceremony on the shore of our pond, officiated by my pastor and attended by all my friends and family.  That obviously didn’t happen.  As we planned the new and improved version of our ceremony, I hoped very much to include my husband’s preferences in the event.

“Do you want to use the standard vows or write your own?”  I asked out of courtesy, because he didn’t seem all that excited about the ceremony anyway.  When he wanted to write his own vows you could have blown me over with a feather.  “So what about the rest of the ceremony?”  A conversation ensued, wherein I suggested we use the script of the ceremony from our actual wedding with our newly minted vows plugged into the appropriate places.  He agreed in theory, but was concerned about the length of the ceremony.  I agreed that we didn’t want all the folderol of a high church Episcopal service, but told him I would put something together with blanks for his vows.

Doing My Homework

The next task was a difficult one.  On their website, Celebrity has the outline of the service, some of the specific words they normally used and blanks for you to change them to what you want.  However, this is one of those forms that you can’t just cut and paste and when you print it doesn’t actually look like the online form.  I couldn’t figure out how to edit the resulting document, either.  It was a PDF – look but don’t change.

I also found the Episcopal order of service like we had at our wedding.  It had it’s own challenges.  They have about three forms of the service on the same page, all mixed together.  You can print it out, but you have to skip around all over the place to figure it out.

I spent considerable time trying to figure out how to make the Celebrity online form mesh with the Episcopal service document.  In time, I decided to just cut and paste pieces and parts off the Episcopal service and fill them into the blanks of the Celebrity document.

All this didn’t happen over a couple of hours.  I worked on it on and off for weeks, then finally spent most of a couple of days putting it all together and writing my vows.  Then I still had to sit down with scissors and pieces of paper to put together a document that reflected what the actual service would be.

Not His Vision

Mr. Bill was not happy when I presented him with the document on which I had worked so hard.  He wanted two things right away.  Number one, an online editable version of the document.  I tried to explain just what that entailed, but he just didn’t grasp the complexity of what I’d been dealing with.  Number two, he wanted to see my vows.  I’d left them off, because I wanted his vows to come from his heart, not from mine or as a reflection of mine.


I’m not saying we were actively arguing for weeks about it.  I’m just saying we came to an impasse and it hung like a rain cloud over us for what seemed like weeks and weeks and weeks.  All the while, I was looking anxiously at the deadlines on the Celebrity wedding website and dreading ever mentioning the vows to him again in my life.

Most wives will not be surprised that, in the end, I laboriously re-typed the entire service onto a completely new document which included my vows and emailed it to him.  Was he happy then?  No!  He didn’t like the formal language of the service and out of two pages of ceremony, he pointed to one sentence I absolutely had to cut out and it just happened to be the one thing I wanted to say, even if I said nothing else.

I was flabbergasted.  Had we not agreed to use our original ceremony as the basis of the renewal ceremony?  And what on Earth could be wrong with me saying, “Yes, willingly and with joy I renew this commitment to my beloved..”


In the end, I got my ceremony, but he gave it to me begrudgingly, which sort of negated my desire to say I was doing anything “willingly and with joy.”  I suddenly envied a friend of mine down the street.  Her husband had planned a tropical vacation with vow renewal all by himself as a surprise.  I was sort of beginning to wonder whether Bill and I both would actually go on the cruise together, much less have a vow renewal ceremony.

But it’s always darkest before the dawn, right?  The cruise was merely weeks away now.  What would happen next?

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