Renewing Your Vows: Is Saying “I Do” Again Good for Marriage?
You’ve already said I do, worried about color schemes, tiptoed around family politics, and sprung for a party, so why after years of happily wedded bliss, do it again?
“Renewing your vows is a lovely gesture of enduring love,” says Sophie Day of the wedding planning company Quintessentially Weddings. Over the past few years, vow renewal ceremonies have become very popular, especially with the celebrity elite like Jay Z and Beyoncé, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, the Beckham’s. More than just an excuse for a party, it shows your partner and the rest of the world your ongoing commitment to the marriage, years after tying the knot.
Relationships grow, change, and deepen with the passing of the time and a strong, enduring partnership is no small accomplishment. So why not celebrate in style?
Here’s why you too should say “I do,” again.
For the love of love.
Finding Mr. or Ms. Right isn’t easy. That person doesn’t just come along everyday so celebrate the specialness that is your love. Show the world how in love you are after all these years and take the time to publicly acknowledge your strong, happy union.
Mark your milestones.
After spending 10, 20, or 50 years together, mark your journey and celebrate the distance and time crossed together by renewing your vows on a special occasion. Make a major milestone in your relationship even more special by reaffirming the vows you took when you first got married and kicking off the next decade with a bang.
Silver line your rain clouds.
Every marriage will be tested somewhere along the line, but some of life’s trials and tribulations are more difficult to overcome than others. If you or your spouse has battled an illness, experienced a loss, or faced any of life’s other obstacles, use a vow renewal ceremony to make a new start and acknowledge the endurance of your relationship. “Maybe your marriage has been through a crisis…or maybe you’re about to approach a potential crisis (empty nest, retirement) and so you want to solidify what you have,” says Life Coach Nina Grunfield. Vow renewal can be symbolic of moving forward together as a stronger unit, ready to embrace whatever other challenges life may have in store.
Many couples tie the knot at a young age when finances are tight. If you were unable to afford the wedding of your dreams the first time, use your grown up financial stability to have it your way the second time around—still in love, but with a little more cash.
Those who eloped or got married at a court house are no less closely bound than couples whose “I dos” were witnessed by hundreds of guests. But, for couples who regret flying solo, a vow renewal ceremony gives the opportunity to invite friends and family who weren’t at the wedding and celebrate with the people who have supported and enriched their union.
All about the vows.
The importance of a vow renewal ceremony is in the name. “It puts the vows at the heart of the day,” says Andrew Shanahan of I Am Staggered, a men’s wedding website. “It’s a chance to go back and say the important things that you want your [partner] to hear and accept, without the distraction of the rest of the ceremony.”
During a renewal ceremony, not only can you reaffirm your original vows, but you can add in a few things you missed the first time around. “Pledging to ‘love, honour [sic] and (does anyone really say this anymore?) obey’ is a breeze when you’re in the hormone-fueled crazy infatuation period because you’re blissfully unaware of what circumstances you’re doing any of this in,” writes relationship expert Tracey Cox.
“That’s puppy love. Loving someone ten years in is real love.” As a relationship matures, the vows made in your youth may no longer represent your ‘marriage reality.’”
Rachel Sussman, LCSW, a licensed New York City therapist and marriage counselor, recommends couples read over their original vows and consider, “What did you learn from this experience? Have you lived up to your vows?” Then, with that in mind, spouses can write a new set of vows for who they are today and strive to be in the future.
Reaffirm your commitment.
“Just like anything else in life, [marriage] needs to be cultivated and cherished in order to last,” says Sussman. Life is hectic and sometimes we take our spouses for granted, so renewing their vows gives couples a moment to pause and reflect on their relationship, before diving into the joys and challenges still to be shared.
“[It] can be an assessment of where you’ve got to in your relationship, a reminder of what you committed to and a spur to thinking about what you want for your future together,” says Grunfield.