This summer, I celebrated 5 years of marriage to a man who loves me (so well), exhausts me, excites me and hurts me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. In case you missed it, I wrote about our wedding day and the days since here.
Over the years, as we've struggled, I had in the back of my mind that I would like to renew our vows someday. You know, when we have an astoundingly glorious marriage, have achieved self-actualization and live in Shangri-la.
Or, when we reached The Other Side of struggle in marriage.
I had scheduled that to happen this summer, as we celebrated our 5-year anniversary. Obviously. The bonus? We happened to plan a vacation with my family in Hawai'i that very summer. Fate of fates. It was meant to be. The beach wedding I always wanted.
I started getting a little bit nervous in the spring, you guys, because we hadn't moved to Shangri-la yet. And I didn't feel a large surge of the actualization or glory for that matter. A vow renewal, in my mind, was supposed to happen under the same circumstances as a wedding - when you're drunk with blinding joy and love, which I now realize is the ignorant bliss that phrase is referring to. (Just kidding. Kind of.)
I just wasn't feeling like a shiny bride in the back of a limo with her hair just so. To be frank, I was feeling a bit more like a frumpy hitchhiker with dark circles.
It was from this place, though, that the meaning of this "vow renewal" changed for me. I began thinking about how arrogant and naive I was to think that I could force beauty into the broken by simply waiting for it to happen. This journey we're on won't end until we're dead. We will be forever fleshing this out. The beauty comes with the choosing to walk ahead with joy and hope.
This vow renewal would not be a celebration of arrival. It would be a celebration of choosing each other. How much more of a promise would it be to choose him (and him, me) when our wounds are still sore?
Part of the beauty of a wedding day is that it is fresh and new. Unmarred and clean.
But we would make promises through battered lips, and put rings on scarred hands. Choosing each other, knowing full well the joy and pain that could come. We believe that there is and will be beauty from ashes.
Hawai'i Vow Renewal from Michelle Devereaux on Vimeo.