7 Easy Ways for Parents to Renew Their Wedding Vows

7 Easy Ways for Parents to Renew Their Wedding Vows

Recommit to your marriage and family life and enhance your relationship for years to come.

By: Laurie Sue Brockway

When we get married, we say our vows with the understanding that times will change, but our promises are meant to stay the same. However, once we settle in and start a family, things do change. Priorities shift, and couples, especially those with children, go through periods of feeling disconnected from each other.

A great way to enhance your relationship is to update your wedding vows and recommit to marriage and family life. You don’t even have to spend time and money on planning a formal renewal ceremony.

Whether you do it privately or with your children present, renewing your wedding vows can give your relationship a lift at any stage. Here are seven ideas for making your vow renewal special:

1. Update your original vows. Revise or tweak them to reflect things you want to share today. “We need to bring our vows into present time,” says marriage and family therapist David Klow, LMFT. “Our vows should evolve just as we do. It is a good practice for couples to connect back to who they were when they originally made their vows, and work together to connect them to who they are today.”

2. Write and speak new ones. If you didn’t have personal vows in your ceremony, start fresh. “Taking the time to think about -- and then verbalize to one another -- what is important to you at various stages in your lives [and] relationship and what you're willing and committed to do for the other can be a great way to stay in sync and correct any minor misunderstandings or differences before they get bigger,” says Simon Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

3. Be creative. Whether you revise original vows or write new ones, make them personal and meaningful. Some couples include many details of their life together and humor, and others prefer simple, universal sentiments. For example:

On this day, I choose you, again, as my husband/wife
You are my best friend, my true love, and my partner in life.
I pledge my continued devotion to you and our children,
I promise to care for you through all seasons of life.
I will stay by your side through sickness and health.
As years pass, my devotion to you and our kids will grow stronger.
Our marriage, and our beautiful family, will always be my home.

4. Share them privately. You can ask a clergy person or friend to officiate, or it can be just you two. “A vow is really an agreement, a promise, and that can be held dear between two people by speaking them to one another with clear intent,” says Klow. “A ceremony is just the outer representation of an agreement.” Though a ceremony witnessed by loved ones may make vows feel more “official,” it can also be intimate and loving to just share them with one another, he says.


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5. Invite kids to witness. It is a positive thing for them to see. “The children get to see their parents’ love in action,” says Klow. “They get to more deeply understand what a promise of love is to another person.”

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6. Include your family in new vows. Vows can be written specifically with your children in mind. “With kids, the vows can be extended to them, or new ones created especially for them, which can enhance the sense of connectedness and cohesiveness in the family system,” says Rego.

7. Regularly recommit. You can celebrate and recommit to your marriage at any time. Consider revising your vows every few years to keep things fresh. And feel free to speak your revised vows more than once. Just take some time to look into each other’s eyes and repeat them to each other -- once a month, once a year, or any time you need a reminder of your love.

“I think the emotional value -- with or without kids -- is to rekindle those memories and loving feelings that were around at the start,” says Rego. “Acknowledgement is a powerful thing. When we honor what we have shared with the other person, it opens up new possibilities for what might be created in the future.”

If a couple is struggling and unhappy, refreshed vows may not be the best approach.

“Couples with habits of neglect or negativity are not so moved by romantic gestures,” says Shannon Batts, LPC, LMFT, a specialist in marriage repair. For more serious issues a couple should seek professional support from a marriage-friendly therapist, she says.

What is one new vow you would like to share with your mate today?

Laurie Sue Brockway is a journalist and author who has written extensively on love, marriage, parenting, wellbeing, and emotional health. Her work has appeared in hundreds of print and online publications, including Everyday Health and The Huffington Post.

Image ©iStock.com/MilosStankovic

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