Why Renew Your Vows?

two handI just don’t get it. Why do married couples feel the need to renew their marriage vows on selected anniversaries? Didn’t they mean it the first time? Have they digressed and need to do it again? Have they finally figured out that there is no one else for them so they may as well? Is it just expected?

For our 25th wedding anniversary, we chose to cruise with our good friends Bill and Carolyn. No vow renewal for us, no silver platters or ice cream punch. But when we got back, Bill and Carolyn did the deed and renewed their vows. We went. We watched. We didn’t see any difference in their marriage afterwards.

For our 40th wedding anniversary, we chose to take our adult children and our grandchildren on a vacation to Yellowstone National Park. We had fun together and fun separately. They brought sparkling wine and a miniature of a TV – with the good news that they had a real big screen waiting for us at home. No rubies, no parties, just family and lots of love and fun.

The parents of one of our daughter-in-laws chose to renew their vows on their 40th wedding anniversary. The church they married in was packed with others who didn’t know them, as well as with their own descendents and siblings. They said the words for the priest, kissed and went off to hors d’oeuvres at a daughters home.

Why do folks decide to renew their marriage vows?

The marriage just survived a hard time.

Every marriage has its ups and downs. Successful ones work through them and move on. Sometimes when that happens on or the other person in the couple feels a need to reaffirm their commitment.

The couple want a religious ceremony they lacked to start their marriage.

OK, I kind of get this one. If you dashed off to Vegas and married in a drive through wedding chapel, maybe you feel a need years later to have some religious authority sanction your vows. If that is the case, why the heck didn’t you seal the deal when you got back from the chapel?

It is just part of a special anniversary celebration.

Perhaps you are celebrating one of those ‘special’ anniversaries and want just one more thing to make it complete. But wait, aren’t each and every one of your anniversaries special to you?

The family expects it.

Perhaps it isn’t either of you that wants to renew, but your sons and daughters (you know, that generation where half the marriages end in divorce) think you should renew.

You are hoping to get back the romance.

Some consider vow renewal to be romantic. Each cat has his own rat I guess. I don’t see it as romantic myself but am willing to concede that others might.

Someone is praying it will distract from an indiscretion.

Guilt is a powerful thing. Suggesting vow renewal may be an attempt on the party of the first part to distract and redirect the attention of the party of the second part. This no doubt will fail and may cause public embarrassment if the marriage breaks up soon after the vow renewal!

I say, unless you are just stuck on having a second wedding skip the vow renewal.

Vows don’t expire. You said til death do you part – are you dead?

Your family and friends really don’t want to sit in church and watch, they are just waiting for the after party!

It won’t erase your mistakes or refresh your marriage. 10 minutes of reciting words after a preacher are no substitute for working through your marriage issues.

It won’t make either of you more romantic, more beautiful or make the sex better.

It can cost a lot of money – for those trying to recreate the wedding and reception they had or didn’t have, you can spend a lot of money on the food, invitations, drinks, venue, clothing and etc. If it is a party you want, just do the party!

You may get a lot of gifts that you don’t want and don’t have room to store. Really, what are you going to do with a sterling silver service (besides polish it I mean).

There are many better ways to celebrate an anniversary!

Why did (or will) you renew your vows?


Why Renew Your Vows? — 18 Comments

  1. Thanks for the timely article. Like you….I don’t get it…with the whole vow “redo”. Been invited to a couple of these…and it seems like a “gift grab” to me. I’ve gotta get busy coming up with something cool to do on my anniversary…a semi milestone. May be a good topic to cover…

  2. I don’t like being the center of attention so would never consider this for myself. I’m very interested in human psychology though so would love to hear from others as to why they did or would like to do this. You gave some good reasons as to why this may be, so hopefully we’ll hear from some who did or plan to.

  3. We have talked about it many times- I think it is romantic! If we ever did do it, we would do it on the beach alone. I would never have a “redo wedding” and invite a lot of people- it would just be a private thing for us.

  4. I’m like debs. Having the first wedding was enough attention for my lifetime! My opinion is that I would only need to demonstrate to people publicly that we’re renewing our vows if there was a publicly known reason for people to think that those vows had been seriously broken.

  5. My wife and I fall into the second category. We eloped! lol. It has a lot of fun and I am glad we did, but we are going to do an all out wedding style vow renewal next year for our 10 year anniversary. I recently attended a vow renewal after a marriage suffered hardship. That was nice to see as well. As far as just doing it for no reason, I think your day to day life should express that you still love your spouse and want to stay with them.

  6. If you have to “renew” your vows in public, that something is up. It’s always good to renew and remind ourselves of our obligations, but this should be done every day.

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