The Vows They Don’t Teach You in Love 101

I take you, O Starry-eyed Beloved, to be my naรฏve wedded husband.

I promise to disappoint,
to put my desires above your needs,
Vowssee you through my tired eyes and not yours.

I pledge to love you conditionally, expect more of you than I’ll want to give,
wish you’d take care of yourself when you’re sick, as I do for myself.
I will ask the moon of you and wonder why
you can’t heal the wounds my parents left.

O clueless beau, this affair is really a commitment to my own happiness;
you do not see this is the most attractive I will ever be.

Be assured I am yet deaf in all this gaiety to the exacting claims of Love
I do not realize just how much It will cost:
my greatest fears, my sacred pride.

Love will become duty and duty complacency.
I will dust off my graying hair, feel no more your trophy bride.
We will be ungrateful for each other.

We will see the dark side of this glorious sun that beams today
but no matter how deep our night it will not withstand the dawn.

119 thoughts on “The Vows They Don’t Teach You in Love 101

  1. This is perfect. We can be very selfish yet call it love. I love the line, “you do not see that this is the most attractive I ever will be.” They will soon be either unhappily married or looking for a divorce. Funny but tragic all at once. I really enjoyed reading this. It made me reflect on my own failed marriage.

    • I imagine a lot of people will look at their own relationship, Sharon. I love how you say this is perfect because that was the point, to bring up the imperfections. Thank you for sharing and reflecting back.


  2. What a powerful evocation of our journey from darkness to light, and the realization that relationship can be the cauldron of transformation. Your last line opens to Love, since darkness cannot withstand the dawn. Just beautiful. Thank you.

    • Yes, this rang clear with reality. But your “relationship can be the cauldron of transformation” sums up the purpose of the journey of life. It takes a lifetime relationship to wear the rough edges off our fledgling capacity for love.

  3. Naรฏve wedded husband?” Haha, that’s an accurate assessment! Goes along with that YouTube of the wedding where the groom got tongue tied and in taking his vows said “waffle wedded wife.” The whole place went into an uproar and it took a while for everyone to gain composure and continue.

  4. Beautifully written. Marrying for the wrong reasons a mistake far too many make, but a few grow together… The sentiment reminded me of a recent Morrissey song ‘Kick the bride down the aisle.’ Only he is less gracious about the motives.

    • Oh my, can’t believe the lyrics! Yes, there is nothing like it when two people full of baggage and misplaced ideals find their way together. I love the simple way CS Lewis captured the profound transformation marriage is supposed to nurture. We first fall in love and then we learn to love.

    • *chuckle* I would think you could offer some metaphysical or philosophical reasons but “genes” is pretty fatalistic. I love the simple way CS Lewis captured the profound transformation marriage is supposed to nurture. “We first fall in love and then learn to love.”

      Thought you might appreciate RevJerry’s thoughts lower down in the thread, though there is no obligation to look in your busyness.

      • It’s certainly true that we start off in the enchanted garden and then transition to a more ‘oatmeal’ type of love which involves wiping your partner’s toothpaste from the bathroom sink. However, according to evolutionary biologists this is all determined by our genes which have one goal only, to replicate themselves.

  5. You really have hit the nail on the head with this.
    This bit especially:
    “I will ask the moon of you and wonder why
    you canโ€™t heal the wounds left by my parents.”

    • Yes, dear Debbie, that was what I was getting at in closing with the dawn. I told two bloggers here I love the simple way CS Lewis captured the profound transformation marriage is supposed to nurture. We first fall in love and then we learn to love. I know this beautiful truth has borne out in the trials you made it through with your hubby. =)


  6. Think I’ll send this to my starry-eyed granddaughter … but she’ll just think it’s cynical old me! Shouldn’t there be some sort of law against marriage? So many brides get married just for the wedding day …

      • I remember being in a restaurant with my four children all under five years of age. An older woman stopped to ooh and ahhh and said, “These are the best years of your life.” If I had believed her, I would have slashed my wrists! Grace is given for the day……years ahead of time…….it isn’t up to us to disillusion….it’s up to us to show that disillusionment is a normal part of the process of learning to truly love. It can’t be skipped. It’s part of a dying to self that is necessary in our journey……bitter cynicism isn’t accepting the sorrow of disillusionment, it’s an escape from the pain of growing. And no one can grow for us and by scaring us from the risk of loving denies us the joy.

      • I reread your reflection several times, Eileen. I appreciate the reminder that cynicism is

        “an escape from the pain of growing” and love is an unceasing choice, each new moment.

        Your closing sentiment brings to mind CS Lewis:

        โ€œTo love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.โ€

        I’m going to delete the duplicate comment.
        Thank you dearly for keeping up, my friend. I so appreciate your time and vested reading.

        Merry Christmas,

  7. Off to send this to my daughter who has idealistic expectations of marriage. Somewhere between the vows heard at a wedding to your vows here, there are happy couples who find the balance and get it right. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I think part of marriage is realizing and accepting your own selfish agenda and appreciating that your partner will have their own. Marriage ain’t what we once thought it was, and this captures that beautifully.

  9. I really like this, very lovely. Love is a messy journey. I think marriage may be a bit like having children, we’re very grateful for them after the fact, but if we truly knew all that it would entail, we probably would have fled in terror.

  10. aaaaaaa! Love and marriage, what an inexplicable and tricky duo:). Your honesty was heartfelt. It really is a lot about one’s selfish desires, but at the same time appreciating and understanding that both have those desires. Giving that space is crucial. And also respecting the limits and boundaries we have as partners. You can’t expect to push each other’s buttons all the time and then dodge the consequences. There is really so much that can be said. But you know what, at the end of it all, it really is about love. As selfish, as adulterated, as imperfect as it is. And in marriage, I guess with years it gets comfortable or complacent like you said. Like a well-worn shoe. Or a favourite cuddly blanket that gives you the warmth you need to get on with everyday life that is essentially cold if you are alone.

  11. I think we al come to marriage with unhealed wounds from our first family, and so sure that marriage will make it all OK. The mad magic of courtship love is so deceiving. You think you will melt into each other and become whole. Then what is unhealed comes forth to be healed. But since it isn’t a conscious process, we all usually just react to the unhealedness we receive from the other and the expectations that are projected onto us. It takes a maturity and personal boundaries we don’t have when we are young to understand how to love from a deeper place, celebrating each other despite our baggage. And I celebrate the dawn in your piece because it is never too late to love.

    • Okay, you gave me chills the way you you ended. I appreciate the sweet encouragement. You do realize you just left us a rich, rich post? Why don’t you put it up on your board? I have been aware of everything you said but you articulated the round pegs-square holes quandary so beautifully, esp in regard to our reaction to the subtext of another’s drama being played out. It is difficult to celebrate differences when we are hurting and it is so easy to blame our spouse for the pain that really grew there decades ago.

      Thank you so very much for the conscientious feedback.


  12. I think one of the advantages that my wife and I have is that we were married we were both in our mid thirties. I think our relationship was built on foundation that favoured realism and friendship that has endured. I love the honesty of your vows. And who wants rainbows and singing birds every day anyway. Yuck!

  13. Hey, isn’t that what two marriages are all aboutโ€” getting it right the second time around. ๐Ÿ™‚ Practice, practice, practice. Can’t say I regret the first marriage or the other relationships. Each had something of value to offer. Just thankful that it is so good this time. Peggy and I celebrated our 22nd Anniversary last week. Each of us made up a list of 22 things we loved about the other. And it wasn’t hard. โ€“Curt

  14. Oh Diana,
    You are GOOD!
    I found so many favorite lines in here, but this one made me audibly gulp:

    “I will ask the moon of you and wonder why
    you canโ€™t heal the wounds left by my parents”

    My husband and I have often wondered how we were able to muddle through all of these things, remain married for 24 years and STILL light up when the other walks into the room. Some days I think we are blessed and others I think we just got stupidly lucky.

    Lots to think about here….

  15. It is so interesting the many shades of committed love…. I think there is a reason they don’t tell you what is coming next at the end of the fairy tale. Real love is hard work. I so appreciate your willingness to go to those honest places, Diana.. and tell it like it is.

  16. My 2 cents? eh, you’ll still get change.

    Appears WPress has gone wonky again; you and others have disappeared, but gotcha back.
    Maybe the Web fiends are trying to keep us a- part… lol

    ‘We will be ungrateful for the other……’ o boy, now you are really testing me. That’s a tough color there…..

    Not enough room for the rest of my thoughts on your post…. so I’ll just say

    ‘well done.’

    • Has happened with many of my readers…I am wiped off their slate. Seems to happen to blogs with a sizeable following. Thanks for making it a point to reconnect, Jack. I do appreciate that. And yes, tough color. Fortunately, the colors of the dawn are exquisitely beautiful.

  17. Loved this Diana, if we really could see our future as a married couple and all the tough stuff we endure…… would we still get married? Yep, as long as we understand that every one falls short at some point. We are imperfect in every way and thats what makes our journey interesting.

    • “are imperfect in every way and thats what makes our journey interesting.”

      makes it so….INTERESTING. A very diplomatic way of looking at it. Ha ha ha ha. Thanks for connecting with this, K.

  18. Fantastic writing yet again ~ your humor in dealing with this very delicate issue is perfect, puts it right in its place. A bit of truth (and perhaps a lot), and knowing that both sides will face disappointment in the other…but always have love to fall back on. Your husband must have had a great laugh at this, all while nodding his head ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers!

    • Grateful for your time today, Randall. People don’t think about the disappointments going into it. That’s why signing on the dotted line – and the pricey ring – help LOL. You’ve signed up for it. Gotta see it through. =)


  19. I tried in premarital counseling, but stars in the eyes blind most the realities I thank God I had all my parents examples through cancer my mom survived, the raising of 6 challenging children financial hardship numerous trials and tribulations their aging frailties and ever present love. When we had children there were two supportive extended families without whom we would never made it!

  20. Thanks for checking out my Blog. The few of yours that I’ve read were a real treat for me. I especially enjoyed this one on marriage. A veteran of 54 years of marital blues, blahs and bliss, I heartily agree with most of what you have said and have shared this one on FB.
    You’re right, marriage is a struggle, even though I naively believed at one time that if it’s “love ” it should love without wake or wave into our golden years. But only in our golden years has it calmed to a gentle rocking of our Selfish Boats. Only now do we enjoy a lack of storms. So, if you haven’t hit 50+ years together, you have something to look forward to.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you so much for your time and the facebooking. Selfish boats. I like that, and appreciate every word you leave me. I get the price you paid to learn and reach the calm.
      Best to you on your journey,


  21. Read somewhere that marriage isn’t designed for happiness, but instead for bringing about transformation. To me it’s the most efficient, though a painful, way of growing capable of true love. After 53 years of marriage someone asked me what had been the hardest year. I replied, “This last year!” After 56 years, I can honestly say once again, “This last year.” But it also was the most rewarding, filled with daily tenderness and more laughter than the first 50!

  22. Relationships of course, leave me baffled. It did, however, ring very true, and I wanted you to know I was still following. All my best wishes for another great year ahead of you.

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