At my wedding, I told my husband that it was first day of my life. Because it is like starting a new one. I wanted Don’s vows to be piercing, elated, thoughtful. Here they are:
Dear Honey, Blue, Cottonpicker, Darlin’,
First love is half infatuation with the idea of the person and half infatuation with clichéd love itself: beautiful and amiable adoration that seeks to cover anything in its path. Over time, that love may become like the trees in the forest: strong enough to outlive tempest and battle, but changing with seasons, beaten to death, fading with time, decaying, vanishing: leaving nothing behind.
But real love, that coveted ideal of what everyone wants, is like the rocks beneath those trees. Changing in its details but not in its permanence, withstanding flood and fire, consuming all that cannot hold itself up alone.
And God is like the earth, the soil under the forest, feeding the trees, supporting the stones. And though we may doubt, even if we are not always aware of its necessity or articulate its beauty, it gives life, outlives all, and is the foundation of everything.
Today is the first day of my life: the day I marry you, my best friend. But Honey, this is a bit serious for me, so forgive me if I choke myself up.
I promise to love you, whether or not you look like a piggy or a movie star when you first wake up.
I promise to be there for you, when you are sick and disgusting or covered in sweat from this heat.
I promise to make dinner for you when you’re too tired or too irritated by my teasing to do so.
I promise that I will take you to girly movies that I don’t like and carry your purse when we go shopping.
I promise not to judge you when you’re eating too much dessert.
I promise to bring you roses ‘just because’ and not when I screw up.
I promise to show you how much I appreciate you, even when you have a tendency to make me forget.
With God’s help I promise to you: real love. I will love you in sickness and health, prosperity and adversity. You will be my wife and I will cherish all my moments with you. And I will be the man worthy of being called your husband.
I love you Camille.