The ultimate commitment

In theory, writing my own wedding vows should have been easy. I’m a writer, aren’t I? But wow, was it a daunting task.

Wedding in Israel_311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Wedding in Israel_311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In this day and age, many couples live together prior to their nuptials and have already faced many of the challenges referred to in the traditional marriage vows one hears the bride and groom declare during non-Jewish or fictional weddings in the movies and on TV.
My husband and I had already been through so much together we were able to cross off a lot of items: to have and to hold (an easy check); for better or for worse (an important check); for richer (soon, hopefully I can check it); for poorer (hopefully I never have to check this); in sickness and in health (a serious check); to love and to cherish (a good check); until death do us part (one of us won’t be around to check it). So, instead of using those vows we decided to write our own.
In theory, writing my own vows should have been easy. I’m a writer, aren’t I? I should have been able to put pen to paper and talk about my feelings for my intended and about my commitment to him. But wow, is that a daunting task! The long journey that brought me to my husband is what makes me who I am as an individual and as half of a couple – his future wife. Without that journey I don’t know if I would have recognized my beshert (soul mate) when we met. But I don’t need (or want) to regale the congregation with my dating stories. I think most of them either know me well enough or remember the single life well enough to know that the both of us were ready.
In fact, my hubby had moved back to Israel (he was born here but moved with his family to the US in his teens) about six months before we met in the hopes of upping his chances of meeting a nice Jewish girl. That’s right, he had to move to the Jewish State of Israel to increase his odds of marrying a Jew because New York City, Miami and other cities he lived in just weren’t doing it for him.
But just as I don’t need to recount the many jerks I gave a chance to while we’re under the huppa, my hubby doesn’t need to explain his reasoning as to why he was in the right mind-set, in the right place, at the right time.
But without going over the years and years I spent searching for my beshert, how will people understand just how big a deal this is? How will they understand why I am able to appreciate his patience, his humor, his sociability, his sarcasm, and so on? And also, more importantly, how will they understand why I can accept his impatience, his quirks, his peeves and, well, his sarcasm? Then I realized I’m not giving my vows to the audience of family and friends but to my beshert, and he already knows how many toads I had to kiss to find him, my prince. And he definitely doesn’t want to hear one word that will remind him about those toads, especially on our wedding day.
Back to the drawing board.
I started and stopped writing so many times that I was grateful I was using my computer instead of paper and not killing any innocent trees. I had an idea of what I was going to say, but I decided to go impromptu and just speak from the heart, in the moment. I was ready to tell him why I love him and how much I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together and start a family together. I wouldn’t be able to edit, but at least it was going to be authentic.
I ended up breaking my wrist at my bachelorette party a week before the wedding and didn’t even have time to write down notes in case I had a brain freeze. In fact, I totally, completely forgot about saying our own vows until my betrothed began speaking. As I was listening to him tell me – with tears in his eyes – that he couldn’t wait for me to be his wife and the mother of his children, I was freaking out inside because I had no idea what I was going to say.
When it was my turn, this is what I said: “I was waiting for you my entire life and I knew I hadn’t met you so I kept looking, and when we met I knew you were it. You are everything I always looked for, I always dreamed of, I’ve always wanted.
You are just so kind and loving and wonderful and you make me laugh every day. You’re everything to me. And I can’t imagine my life without you.”
Sure, I stuttered and my voice cracked, but it was genuine. I managed to speak off the cuff, avoiding the mention of ex-boyfriends, and although I may have been a little clichéd, watching it back on video I was happy with what I said, because it’s all true. I may have been able to deliver it better, but I couldn’t have written it any better.