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When this article comes out, I will be ONE DAY away from making my wedding vows to JJ. Crazy.
To be honest, vows have always been one of the most intimidating parts of a wedding to me. I always LOVE listening to them as an attendee, but there is something about saying them myself that has always made me nervous. As I watched other brides and grooms declare their love, I would sit there thinking how hard that might be one day to compile all my own thoughts about my person into a few lines. Let alone, sharing them in front of all your family and friends. If you’ve followed along my journey at all, you know that speaking has carried its own insecurities in my life. As a fast talker, who has the tendency to get caught up on my words every once in a while, I have carried some fear around the delivery of my vows, nervous that I would mess up, mumble or stutter over them.
So now, here I am, days away from this moment being my reality and I have to face these fears. After many rounds of editing and tearing up as I recited my vows to the fridge in my kitchen, I have that part nailed down but the fear of delivery still gets to me a little. That being said, by the grace of God, that fear has minimized greatly from what it was originally and I have a new perspective on wedding vows. And I am SO eager to share that new understanding with you today!
At the beginning of 2021, I launched a class called “Becoming One,” which I created out of a desire to be in community with women in a similar season of life – engaged or recently married – and to learn alongside one another. I knew I was already going to ask all of my mentors for wedding and marriage advice and I thought why not bring others into that time of learning too! Soon enough, I had put together six weeks of content with my mentors speaking on different topics and it was SO rich! For the final Q+A week, we started the night by pairing up a newly married couple with two engaged couples so they could ask questions about married life and any wedding advice they wanted to pass down.
JJ and I got placed in a group with this gal named Abby and her husband Holden. I had developed a total girl crush on her over the past five weeks and wanted time to get to know her better, so the fact that we got put in the same group was such a God thing!
Towards the end of our short time of connecting, the question was asked, “What is your best advice for the wedding day?”
And what she said shifted something in my soul and my perspective that I have not been able to stop thinking about since.
She said, “try not to overlook the spiritual moment of the ceremony. So many people try to just get through the ceremony and to the reception but during that ceremony is when everything shifts in the heavenly realms.”
And friends, it was in that moment that my view of my entire wedding shifted. And I know, that might sound dramatic but it is true.
Right after she made that comment, my mind jumped to another conversation I had with a mentor about what wedding vows really are.
“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.'” – Matthew 19:5-6
Think about that question real quick. When the bride and groom are standing up there at the altar, who are they vowing to?
“I, _____, take thee, _____, to be my wedded wife/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 thee my faith.”
For me, I always thought it was the person you were marrying! That would make sense right? All of those promises are about the person standing across from you at the altar. But this conversation I had with a mentor changed that understanding for me.
She went on to talk about the difference between a covenant and a contract and how a contract can be broken and how a covenant cannot. She then went on to explain that when you say “I do” at the altar, “you are making a promise to God about a person. You aren’t making a promise to a person with God as your witness.”
And again, that shifted something inside of me. As someone who hungers to respect and understand the grandiose and ever-present nature of the Lord, the thought of promising something to Him has a lot of weight! I always thought making a promise to a person was a big deal but now making a promise to God about a person has a lot more weight!
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
Going back to Abby’s advice about not rushing through the ceremony and “getting to the reception,” that was me. I was the bride who believed I just needed to “get through” the ceremony and then it was time to celebrate and party. But over these past few months, my understanding of the entire ceremony has shifted and I am so grateful for it!
Before this shift in perspective, I was so excited about the dancing, seeing all my family and friends in one spot, the food and the mingling, which are all AMAZING things and part of the joys of getting married, but the thing I am most excited for has now shifted. I now wait with great expectation and excitement walking down the aisle in my wedding dress looking at JJ, my future husband, knowing that in a matter of moments I will be making a promise to God about loving him for the rest of my life (I am getting choked up just thinking about it). I picture heaven opening up a little bit. I picture things being set in motion that have been waiting dormant for us to get married. I think about the dreams and visions and prayers that will be released with JJ and me as a couple. I picture the Trinity doing a little happy dance as they see two of their children say YES to doing life together forever with God as their foundation.
Remember how I shared earlier on about my insecurity around actually sharing my vows at the beginning of this article? Well, as I write this I am reminded that those insecurities have no weight when we are talking about the Kingdom. That it doesn’t matter if I mess up a word or two, or need to start a line over again. What matters is the heart behind them and the promise and covenant I am making that day with the Lord about JJ. The enemy would want me to focus on the temporary things of the world when there are so many more weighty and heavenly things to focus on.
There is so much freedom that can be received when living life through a kingdom mindset and an eternal perspective.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17
JJ and I have decided to write our own vows, and some of the lines in mine low key freak me out! Making a promise is a big deal. But what I have found myself resting in recently is the fact that I won’t be fulfilling these vows on my own – it will be God who helps me walk out those promises about JJ.
I know I will fall short in upholding my vows, and I know JJ will too. And there will need to be lots of grace and forgiveness through our years of marriage, and knowing God will be there with us through it all is so comforting.
Vows are weighty and glorious and nerve wracking and life changing, and I look forward to making them with JJ tomorrow!
For any other brides or wives out there, what are some of your insights into the wedding ceremony or vows? We would love to hear! Put them in the comment section below!
Krista Hengesh is the founder and executive director of Live Salted. She started it back in 2016 and has been chasing after the Lord with this calling on her life since then. She is currently living in Seattle, Washington and loves to be outside and active whenever possible. She is deeply passionate about bringing people together and helping them recognize the potential and influence inside of them!
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It sounds simple, but be SO PRESENT! It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking about the next part of the ceremony, making sure your dress or hair isn’t messed up, glancing at the audience. But like you said, it’s ALL about the vows you’re making before God and the covenant you’re creating — nothing else is worth your attention in those moments! And it will all be a blur if you don’t 100% soak it in! I kind of wish that I’d asked the pastor to literally tell us to take a moment to pause, look around, look at each other, and quietly reflect on what was about to happen.