My fiancé and I wrote our vows over the weekend. We didn’t write them separately, because I think that’s a huge amount of pressure and stress to put on someone on a day that is bound to be pressure and stress filled anyway. His sister is our officiant, so we sat down with the script that she typically uses and modified it according to what we wanted conveyed on the big day. It took a little finesse and tweaking, but after about an hour, we got it to where we were happy with the sentiments and emotions it was expressing.
Later, at a typical east coast kitchen party, we met up with his sister and the rest of the family clan. I mentioned that we’d finished our vows and had to rework some of the lines. When asked what lines in particular we changed, we told them. Then I (unthinkingly) said the following:
Me: “We also took out the part about loving each other unconditionally”
Me: “Because we don’t”
Well, that caused a bit of an uproar.
Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. First let me give you a little background on my fiancé and I. We first started dating when I was 14 and he was 16. We’re from the same small town. We experienced high school together, each other’s transitions into adult life, the death of family members, and two years of a long distance relationship. We were pretty much madly in love from day one, but our relationship definitely wasn’t always smooth sailing. The good times were great, but there were also some really bad times. Somehow we made it through it all, and figured out how to make this relationship go.
So, when I said that we don’t love each other unconditionally, I meant it. We don’t.
You Have to Bring it, Every Day
To me, loving someone unconditionally means that no matter what they do, you’ll still love them. Loving someone without conditions places no onus on the other person to hold up their end of the relationship bargain. That’s just not how we roll.
In our relationship, we both bring it. Everyday, we’re both there, working on the relationship, working on ourselves, making ourselves better in order to make our relationship better. It can get tough, especially at the end of the day when we’re both tired and feeling bearish, but it’s worth it, in order to make each other happy.
It’s a lot like managing your finances, in fact. It takes a steady, sustained effort to achieve the big picture goals, and you’re never, really done. Sometimes it means ignoring your instincts, your sense of self importance, or entitlement. In the end, though, the result is a happier life, a happier spouse, and a better you.
Sometimes, like in personal finance, one partner carries more of the load. For example, when my fiancé was finished University, and working full time, he carried more of the financial and relationship responsibilities, while I spent hours in the library finishing up my degree. The occasional shift in the relationship responsibilities is ok, but for our relationship to be as awesome as it has been for the last six years (it took us about four years to get the hang of harmony), we both have to bring our best selves to the table. If, one day, that stops happening, we’re going to have problems.
So, I don’t love him unconditionally, and he doesn’t love me that way either. We both actively chose to be together, and to be awesome, every day.
How do you make your relationship go round? Do you completely disagree with me? I want to know!