I think it’s time to renew my vows, and you’re invited. After 15 years of marriage, 2 kids, and a big fat mortgage, I would like to freshen up my wedding vows. I have been fortunate to be married to a handsome, kind, patient man who is, without a doubt, my best friend. Here are my shiny new vows.
To my wonderful husband:
I promise to always discuss our family planning decisions with you. I will continue taking my birth control pills for as long as we can afford them (that is to say, as long as they are covered by our insurance). We have had so many discussions over the years about family and children, and I’m glad that we have made the choice to not have any more kids, even though sometimes I still think three would have been nice. I’m also glad that you understand, even though my taking them makes you nervous, that my pills do several things for me; things I do not want to give up just yet, like regulating my cycle so it’s predictable, and minimizing debilitating cramps. You know this because you asked, and we talked, and that’s good.
Also on the family planning note, I promise to always make the safest and healthiest decisions for myself and our family. Right now, I can say that I’ve never had an abortion, and I never will. But I remember when we were in college, before we got married, and I thought, for just a day, that I might be pregnant. That was almost 20 years ago now, but the fear and indecision I felt is still clear in my mind. I decided in that moment, as a 19 year old unmarried kid, that I would not have an abortion if I had to choose. But, rather than solidify my pro-life stance at the time, it shone a light on my ability to choose. All in that moment, so long ago, I realized what choice I would make, and how wonderful it was that I could make that choice – I would never take that choice away from someone else.
I promise to take care of you, in sickness and in health (and in retirement, if we can ever actually afford to retire). Now, if I were an insurance company that you had married (after all, corporations are people, too, so you very well could have married one of them), I would be saying that I’ll take care of you as long as you can take care of yourself, but as soon as you need me to care for you, I’ll shut down and ignore you. Rather than denying you help, I will spend our money, and my time, to do everything I can to make you healthy again, or comfortable in your illness.
I promise not to suddenly become gay. I know, my best friend is gay, and I’ll be in her Big Gay Wedding in the fall, but even after they get married, I promise not to let it change our marriage. I promise not to let the fact that they both have vaginas stop me from having sex with you (the kids did that to us just fine on their own). I promise that I will not suddenly start looking at other men, or other women, after my friend finally gets married to her partner in a legal ceremony after being together for 17 years. I also promise to make sure that our daughter, who is also in the wedding, continues to love and respect her gay Godmothers, and that our son continues to love and respect his straight Godmother and Godfather just as much.
I promise to be true to my beliefs, even though they are different from yours. As an Atheist, I can be very vocal. I appreciate all the patient conversations you have had with me about my thoughts on religion, and your experience of Buddhism. We are the same, in that our core beliefs are in agreement, even if the fine details may not be.
All this I promise. I love you.