You may have known each other for a long time already, but the promises and declarations you make on your wedding day are some of the biggest promises you will ever make. Your vicar will provide the time and space to think about the vows and the difference they will make.
Ask your vicar about marriage discussion (sometimes called marriage preparation or marriage prep) and what they offer to help you consider the vows together.
You might also find Making the Most of your church wedding by Ally Barrett helpful to read.
When the vows are said, you turn to each other and repeat each line after the vicar:
I, (name), take you, (name),
to be my 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 us do part;
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.
There are other parts of the service where you are asked questions and make statements about how you will care for and respect each other, if you will remain faithful to each other throughout your whole marriage, and how you will share all that you have and all that you are with the other.
Here are some examples:
”Will you love, comfort, honour and protect (him/her)?”
“Forsaking all others, be faithful as long as you both shall live?”
“All that I have I share with you”
“With my body I honour you”
“All that I am I give to you”
These are statements that confirm your commitment to give yourself wholly to the other person, in love, in terms of your money and possessions, and sexually. The words of the marriage service speak of you becoming ‘one flesh’ and this reflects not just your sexual union, but your union as a completely new family unit. Understanding and preparing for the challenges of this commitment is what marriage preparation is all about.
If you’d like further relationship advice and support online as well as from your Vicar, try
Partners working with The Marriage Foundation or Relate
These links, offering marriage preparation resources and courses, may also be helpful:
As you grow in your marriage, your church can support you in reviewing the important issues of your marriage again. We can also offer a service to give you the opportunity to renew your marriage vows some time in the future.