Vows Worth Keeping


"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”    (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

            A recent Internet article caught my eye. It was titled, “Revealed: The Hardest Marriage Vow to Keep.” CBS News had randomly polled 1,100 adults across the US with the question, “Which one of these marriage vows is the hardest to keep?” Most answers varied only slightly between men and women.

  • For better or for worse was the hardest for 32 percent of women, and 23 percent of men.
  • To be faithful was the hardest for 27 percent of men, and 25 percent of women—nearly equal.
  • In sickness and in health was the hardest for 17 percent of men, and 16 percent of women.
  • For richer or poorer was the hardest for 18 percent of men, and 12 percent of women.

            This Valentine’s Day, my parents will be celebrating their 66th wedding anniversary. So I decided to take my own poll, with only these two volunteers. I called and asked Dad and Mom, “How did you do it? How did you keep your vows for 66 years?” Their answers weren’t profound, and yet, in a way, they were. They were profound because they were so simple, and tools all couples can use to remain faithful to their vows. Here’s what my parents told me:

            Dad: “We always work everything out—we don’t allow ourselves to go to bed at the end of the day angry. We let each other be ourselves by respecting each other’s likes and dislikes. We are best friends, and after having spent so many years together, we’ve realized that most things couples argue about are actually very small matters. We have worship and pray together every morning and every evening. God is first in our marriage—we’re second.” 

            Mom: “I always make it a point to praise and thank your dad for things he does, whether it’s working outdoors in the yard or helping with housework. And he’s good at doing things to make me feel special, like bringing me a rose from the garden, making a simple trip into town fun, or telling me I look pretty. I respect the way that he’s a spiritual leader for our family, clear down to our great grandkids.”

            This Valentine’s Day would be a good day for all married couples to review their vows. To remember that feeling of intense commitment when they promised, “I do.” After all, that’s what a vow is—it’s a promise. A promise to be there, through whatever life throws your way. To be there, not only on that day when you were young and starry-eyed...but even 66 years later.


—Pastor Nancy