Wedding vows today are so much more than the patriarchal declaration of days (not so) long ago. When getting married, your officiant only needs an affirmation of your intention for you to marry one another. Finding the right words and tone for your wedding vows is a personal journey.
Yo, Adrian! Marry me? Yes, Rocky. Done.
To Have and to Hold
On a technical level, to have and to hold means to possess legally, or to have permanent possession of something. The expression also suggests offering oneself to the other physically and intimately. Depending on how the rest of the vows are expressed, this traditional expression may be worthy of further consideration. Alternatively, to have and to hold can be a promise of giving one self, or unconditional acceptance.
To Love and… Obey?
Obey? Eh. Not so much. Lady Di caused a stir when she dropped “obey” from her vows to then Prince Charles in 1981. Less controversy ensued when Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle avoided the term – but, it was newsworthy, nonetheless. Whatever you choose, make sure it is your decision, and the words you select reflect who you are and how you envision your marriage.
Man and Wife
Man and wife has similar connotations to the controlling implications of obey. Affording one person in the marriage to relationship status to another, while that other is a “man” lacks balance. Not quite the egalitarian balance that most 21st century couples are looking for. Our article about gender inclusive wedding terms has a selection of alternative lingo that can be used.
Work with your professional JP (or notary in Maine and Florida) for help finding the right words for your ceremony.
Many more articles about crafting a customized wedding ceremony and vows
- Writing a ceremony with meaning
- Your marriage vows – Real or fairytale?
- Writing your own vows, part 2: How-to tips
- Gender neutral & affirming wedding terms
- Perfect ceremony length
Loretta Jay is the Managing Member of the Justice of the Peace Association. This is the membership organization for professional marriage officiants. All officiants’ profiles are searchable at findaJP.com, the place where Couples who Click can find their perfect JP.