How to Say "I Love You" in a permanent way
Updated: Jan 26
It can be hard to draw the line between personal and professional when you work as an artist and your artwork reflects your emotions and your experiences. In many ways, I am my art and if I'm going to talk about my art, I am going to have to talk about my personal life.
As spring approaches, our fancy turns to love and thoughts of romance. February brings Valentine's Day, and, for me, it brings commitment and marriage. In fact, on February 21st, I am making a lifetime commitment to the man I've been in a five year relationship with; a second marriage for both of us.
We've promised to write our own vows so I've been thinking and thinking. What should I say? How should I express what I feel and how I intend to truly commit myself to the future of this relationship? I did a little online browsing and research and found some rough guidelines to help me in writing my vows.
1) Say I Love You
This seems as if it would be a little obvious, but It's definitely a good starting point. I'm committing to a life time with this person so I feel like it's implied or evident but it never hurts to say it.
"You make me want to be vulnerable. You make me want to tear down the walls I've built up over a lifetime. You've made me believe in the potential of love."
2) Say You'll be There Through Thick and Thin
Our relationship has had it's ups and downs. We've been through some really dark moments when I really didn't think that we would still be together by the end. We may even have broken up a few dozen times over the course of one very rough patch, but in the end, we worked things out through honest and direct communication. When I really needed him, he was there for me.
"Not so long ago, I found myself in a very difficult situation. People I thought I could rely upon proved themselves unworthy of my trust. In that dark moment, you offered me and my children safe harbor. You didn't just tell me that I could rely on you, you showed me that I could rely you even in my darkest moments."
3) Share a personal story
The idea here is to share a personal story about your relationship that gave you insight into the other person and demonstrated the sort of relationship that you had or might have if you committed. I needed a story that illustrates why I want to be with this person; why I think they are worth a lifetime commitment.
"A few years ago, I would take my children every week to meet up with the Doctor Who Viewing Group. I knew you were starting to commit when you showed up almost every week to eat the truly awful Mexican food and watch a show that can be confusing in its best moments. One week in particular, I was watching baby Annabelle. You prepared a bottle of formula for her, but in the process of shaking the bottle, the lid flew off and formula went everywhere. Most people would flag down the wait staff and let them handle it, but you immediately began to clean up the mess. You assumed responsibility and more importantly, you did something about it. I began to understand the kind of person you were in that moment."
4) Make a promise
State clearly the commitment that you are willing to make to this relationship. Convey how important they are to you and how you intend to commit to your joint future. It may even be a good moment to make a small joke or share a moment of humor.
"As we move into the future together, I promise to accept you as you are. We are both flawed beings but I know that you are always trying to evolve into a better version of yourself. If you make a mistake, you acknowledge and try to do better the next time. I promise to try to do the same.
I love you, all of you; your flaws as well as your passions, even the ones that I don't understand, like video games and Paintball. I love that you care deeply about things and get excited about something as mysterious as a pack of Magick cards. I like that. I appreciate that your feelings run deep and that you are complex and complicated; that you are constantly changing and evolving."
5) Acknowledge that you'll need the support of your community
A relationship doesn't exist in some special remote place. A relationship involves more than just two people, it touches and involves everyone in their lives. A relationship requires the support and involvement of the people that love them.
"We make these promises before the people that we love; the people that have helped us get to this moment. Without your support, we would never have gotten this far, and as we move forward, we will need you even more. We're not an island. We're a part of a complex and supportive network. We need all of you to support us as our relationship continues and as we both continue to evolve, hopefully, into better versions of ourselves.
Thank you all for being here, for witnessing our relationship and for sharing the important moments of our past, and those moments yet to come.
I love you, and I promise to be here for you during our remaining time: the good moments and the hard ones. Love isn't easy, but it's a path that I look forward to sharing with you."
That's what I have so far, and I know that it's running a little long. I'll run it by our officiant and trim what I can.
I want to say I love you in a permanent way, in a way that is clear and expresses the depth and breadth of my love. I want to commit to this love for all the days that remain to us.