This past week saw me at two different weddings, in two different states. I got enough bird seed, champagne and sappy love songs to last me until at least next spring, when wedding season starts again.
But seriously, it was great. I cried, I laughed, I cried some more and was reminded that wedding cake usually looks better than it tastes.
While the vows were different in each of the ceremonies, they were both essentially the same thing: a promise between two people to be there when shit hits the fan.
There was of course the promise to be there during health, wealth and the good times. But that’s not really asking much. Any stranger would probably be happy to hang out with you if you had lots of money and were living the good life.
It’s only when sickness hits, when you’re out of work, when the rent check seems a little bit bigger than the bank account, when one of you is being a jerk, you can’t stand each other, or you don’t look quite as young as you did that day you said “I do,” that you find out the strength of that promise.
Wedding vows are only poetic sounding words until they’re put to the test. They don’t mean anything unless they change the way that we live and love in that relationship.
They’re words about a future promise that we will one day have to live out.
Sadly, promise-keeping is becoming a lost art. We say we’ll do something and then come up with any number of excuses. Doing something because you said you would is such a novel idea these days that there’s even a non-profit to help people do just that. Because I Said I Would started as one man’s commitment to keep his word and has snowballed into thousands of people handing each other little cards with promises and the tag line “Because I said I Would.” (The things you learn reading the Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine)
Marriage is a big commitment. The BIGGEST commitment you will ever make. If you’re not in the habit of keeping your word, of following through on what you say, of sticking it out when the going gets tough, then you’re going to find it difficult to stick this one out.
Marriages aren’t usually won or lost on a big failure. It’s usually a series of small compromises, misteps and failure to keep your word that lead to that final blow that brings it all tumbling down.
Taking a page (or a card) from Because I Said I Would, here are three quick ways to improve the habit of promise-keeping:
- Make It Specific
- Write it Down
- Share it With Someone
Whether you’re married, engaged, single, or dying for a date, work today at keeping a promise. Don’t just speak the words.
Do the words.
Live out what you say because you said you would.
What is one promise you can make and live out today? Maybe it’s as simple as calling a friend back!