Choose Words That Resonate. “When you are writing your vows, choose words that resonate for you personally, and which also tell the story of your ‘faith paths.’ "
Commitments To Each Other, and To Life. As part of their commitment to each other, one couple said, “I will hold your song near to my heart” as they recited their vows.
Your Own Vows: Letters of Love & Commitment
“In creating your vows, consider what you really want to promise each other,” says Reverend Deborah Steen Ross, who with her husband Rabbi Roger Ross founded Loving Hearts Ceremonies.
“Your vows can be funny or serious. There can even be a little joke just between the two of you.”
To make it personal, both Reverend Ross and Rabbi Ross suggest writing a love letter to each other. “Don’t show it to the other person,” says Deborah. “Let me refer to it so I can create your vows from your letters, using some of the personal things you’ve said.
“In addition to how much you care for each other, this love letter should talk about what it is you are committing to, and what you are promising the other person.”
“I Will Hold Your Song Near To My Heart”
Your vows can be very specific, as illustrated by some of the different vows Reverend Ross has created with her bridal couples, such as this one.
“Jan, today I will join my life to yours, for you are my dearest love and my best friend. I believe in you. I will take pride in your successes and not fear your growth. I will listen to you with my heart, even when my head disagrees.
“I will strive to overcome whatever obstacles we encounter, for I know that whatever we face, we face together. I will be loyal to you all my days, open and honest with you always.”
The bride said, “Tom, you are my best friend, the one I want to share my life with. I love you for all you are, and encourage you to be all you can become. I vow to hold your song near to my heart, and to sing it back to you when you forget it. I pledge to love you without clutching, to criticize you without blaming, and to help you without insulting.”
They also both said, “From this day forward, I will walk beside you, bringing you happiness and laughter, as we explore all the wonders of life together.”
“When you are writing your vows,” says Rabbi Roger Ross, “choose words that resonate for you personally, and which also tell the story of your ‘faith paths.’ "
Your Own “Faith Path”
“Rather than trying to understand your faith by the name of your religion, I ask you to clarify your faith path within your born or chosen religion,” he explains.
“That allows me to understand what is spiritually important to you, and to incorporate it into your ceremony.”
Recently he performed a Hindu and Jewish ceremony where the couple chose to incorporate a Hindu ritual, pouring water over a coconut to symbolize the purity of their love. “They were not expressing something specifically Hindu or Jewish, but how they felt toward each other.”
Rabbi Ross also suggests talking to your family. “If you live within the parameters of a particular faith but don’t know it well, ask your parents and grandparents what traditions you might incorporate into your vows.”
To create your vows, they meet with the two of you while you are choosing your vendors, “to see if you like us and the kind of ceremonies we do. We’ll also show you different ceremonies we think might be appropriate for you. They suggest a variety of other sources, such as the books ‘Weddings From The Heart,’ by Daphne Rose Kingma, ‘Celebrating Interfaith Marriages,’ by Rabbi Devon A. Lerner, and ‘Alternative Weddings,’ by Jane Ross-MacDonald.
About a month or two before your wedding you meet again. “By then you may have some ideas, or may have chosen one of the vows from a wedding we had done before.”
One thing couples often find very powerful is the statement they make in the exchange of rings. “In Judaism, there are no real vows,” says Rabbi Ross. “It’s what you say when you exchange rings. The traditional words are: ‘Be thou consecrated to me by this ring, according to the laws of Moses and of Israel.’
“Many couples find great spiritual value in the concept of consecration, so for non-Jewish couples we’ll leave out the reference to Moses and Israel. But the concept of ‘Be thou consecrated to me’ by the exchange of rings has a very powerful focus for couples who are marrying.”