What Do We Mean When We Say “I Do”?

by | Feb 15, 2017

The wedding vow is more than just words - it is a sacred promises between husband and wife. Between man and woman and God. From the wedding gift book, With This Ring by Joanna Weaver

“With this ring, I thee wed…”

The inspiration for my very first book came from an unexpected place.

Though that book, With This Ring: Promises to Keep, is now out of print, I’d like to share the story.

For marriage is not only precious, it is sacred.

Promises to Keep

As a friend and I browsed through a local interior-design shop one day, we entered a room that featured a lovely bedroom ensemble.

Dancing along the upper wall, an artist had hand-lettered the words of the traditional wedding vows in a lively mix of painted calligraphy and golden confetti:

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony…

I told my friend how much I would love to have the same thing in my bedroom when a man exiting the store interrupted me with a loud snort of disgust. “No one means those words anymore,” he said.

“Well, I do,” I told him when I recovered from my shock.

“Take it from me, sweetheart,” he said dismissively. “The men never do.”

I could only stare at his self-satisfied grin as I pulled back in disbelief. To have a complete stranger be so openly cynical about marriage was new to me.

“Well, take it from me,” I said when I finally found my voice. “My husband meant those words. And he proves it every day.”

A Precious Gift

I went home shaken and saddened by the exchange, not because I am unaware of the challenges and disappointments marriage sometimes brings, but because the world so easily dismisses what God so highly values.

Out of that encounter came a determination to look deeper into the words we say so sincerely, yet perhaps a bit naively, on our wedding day.

“I take thee to be my wedded husband,

to have and to hold, from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

till death do us part,

according to God’s holy ordinance.

And thereto I pledge my faith.”

These are profound words, not to be spoken lightly. They are deep, costly promises. Easy to say and harder to do.

But isn’t that true of everything that truly matters?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Costly Promises

Before I end with a few quotes from the wedding gift book, may I encourage you to recommit your heart to living out your marriage vows with a holy determination?

For the world desperately needs to see what true love looks like. Not the cheap imitation we see on TV. Not the here-today-gone-tomorrow romance we see in celebrity magazines. The world (and our children!) desperately need to know that there’s more to marriage than what they’ve previously seen or experienced.

They need to see the beautiful love that is built when two people make promises before God – then live out those promises each and every day as they build a life together around God.

For that is the way…perhaps the only way…forever love flourishes. As we look to God for His help, He fills our heart with His agape love. Enabling us to live out our promises.

From this day forward…Till death do us part.


An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband - Booth Tarkington Click To Tweet You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself - Jerry McCant Click To Tweet A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers - Ruth Bell Graham Click To Tweet


I’d love to hear from you…Which phrase of the wedding vow means the most to you, and why?



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