I’m still on Cloud 9 as I write this column, having just renewed my vow to my husband Marvin for the nth time in a beautiful wedding ceremony officiated by Fr. Bert Ampil, S.J.
For a girl who didn’t say yes right away to her boyfriend’s proposal 25 years ago, I must have fallen in love with weddings that I just declared my wedding vow for the fourth time last weekend! Back in 1989 after everything had been prepared I kept on looking at bridal magazines and said to myself, “It must be fun to have a job helping couples prepare for their wedding.” But I thought wedding coordinators wouldn’t flourish because what kind of bride would pay someone to do something that’s totally enjoyable?” Well, I was wrong, because in 1991 when the movie Father of the Bride with Martin Short playing the role of Franck, a lovable gay wedding coordinator came out, this profession started to grow. And of course, with the way weddings have reached an epic level of full production, a big wedding would really need coordinators.
Our first renewal was on our 10th or Tin anniversary. It was a much smaller wedding with our three sons acting as ring, coin and bible bearers in their cute tiny barongs. We had a relatively small number of guests for a wedding, around 70 but I still wore a gown. My sister Dada who hosted the program even jokingly said that the main reason for the event was for me to be able to wear a gown once again! Well, she might have been partially right, for I remember saying to Marvin, “Let’s do it na, if we wait for our 25th I might be a lola-looking bride already, hindi na puedeng mag-sleeveless!”
When we reached our 20th anniversary, we decided to travel, just the two if us. But a lot of people said we should move our trip to September because August is a really hot month in our destination countries. And so we did then a few weeks before our real anniversary, I wondered what do we do on our anniversary? Then came an idea to celebrate a mini-renewal at home together with our respective birthdays (our birthdays are just days before and weeks after our anniversary) using our regular budget for these parties. No gown this time, just a simple dress off the rack that went well with our garden and the color schemes of 20th wedding anniversary, according to google – green and white. This was a fun party because we requested each group of guests to render a number. Our couple-friends Roddy & Isca hosted the show complete with games.
And finally, 2014 came, our Silver Wedding Anniversary, the first ever renewal milestone in a regular married couple’s life (if they choose to). Not all couples are willing to do the whole nine yards of having another wedding. To each his own. And usually, the husbands are the kill joys. They would say, “I already made that mistake once, why should I do it again?” It might be a joke but if said over and over nakakainis na ano? no matter how kind and Mother Teresa-like your wife is, so stop it.
There are so many things I want to share about this recent wedding and I think I will chronicle the different aspects in my website or probably a book in the future – the costs, the stress, the real meaning, why do we do all these and spend a fortune on a single day’s pageantry, etc.
Marriage is a very important public institution, the very foundation of families and society as a whole. It is of public good that we support and protect it. Human beings need to mark milestones in order to know and understand where they are at certain points in their lives and relationships. Celebrating marriage with family and friends help keep the bond stronger.
I wish to share my Silver Vow as my way of helping support and protect this endangered but very important public institution.
“Honey, it’s a good thing that 25 years ago, you were so sure that it was the right time for us to get married, even if I was pakipot then, thinking that it should still be two years down the road. Looking back and learning from our experience, I’m happy that we got married at an age that was not too young to be clueless about ourselves, yet not too old to be too sure about ourselves. Mamang was right, it’s harder to live with someone and adjust when you’re too set in your own ways.
It was also good that we started simply and helped each other build up what we have now. I thank you for being the great husband, friend & partner that you are to me. When you first said that your purpose in life is to make me happy, I was surprised and honestly, I found it OA. Totoo ba yon o disarming tactics lang? I even doubted if that purpose would be good for you. But I realize now how important your ‘purpose in life to make me happy’ has been in building our family. It was because you made me feel that I’m your priority, that I didn’t have to compete with the other aspects of your life – your career, friends, your own family, your other interests. That confidence and security in your love made it easier for me to decide and figure out what my greater contribution was to our family – i.e. primarily raising our sons with focused and undivided attention. It drove me to cheer you on and contribute, in whatever way I could, to further boost your career. Your success is my success.
I am proud of you Honey and you know what, you still are my favorite person in the world! I told you about this recently, that time I was feeling really sick one Friday afternoon on my way to a meeting that I almost cancelled it. But it was the thought of seeing you after the meeting for our Fridate that perked me up. I imagined your bedimpled face smiling, the two of us having a happy conversation over dinner, and then I felt better. The pain was still there but it became bearable. How weird is that? After being married to you for 25 years? But it’s true and that simple moment made me realize in a profound way how lucky I am to be married to the person who is no doubt my favorite in the world.
I realized how great our marriage is. There I said it, ‘We have a great marriage!’ I used to hesitate saying these words in public because of fear. Fear of ‘what ifs.’ What if magka-inisan din tayo later on and decide to give up? What if mapa-sama na tayo sa high 50% mortality rate of marriage? It happens to the best of couples. What will people say? ‘Our marriage is great daw o, hindi naman pala.’ More importantly, what will our boys say? For sure, magagalit silang lahat sa atin. Anton doesn’t want any of us to remarry remember? Marty, when he was younger, said he will not live with any of us, but will go live with Lolo & Lola and will not study well anymore so he won’t get honors. Si Enrique, I can’t remember what he said, mabait kasi e, but at this point while he is so enthralled with his Philosophy & Theology classes, I’m sure susumbatan nya tayo at magagalit din.
Can we really be sure of forever? I know we can’t. But I’m sure of my dedication and love for you today and I’m sure of your dedication and love for me today. And I guess that’s enough because forever is built one day at a time. So Hon, let’s just continue to do what we’ve been doing:
- Let’s always thank God for His abundance. Let’s articulate our blessings more than our problems.
- Let’s continue to be devoted parents.
- And even more devoted as lovers.
- Let’s continue to go on our Fridates until our Lolo & Lola days.
- Let’s continue to dance at least once a week.
- Let’s share what we know with others.
- Let’s always talk and share our highs and lows
- Let’s continue to dream big!
So here I am renewing my vow to you for the nth time. I, Rose, renew to you, Marvin, the promise that I made to you on August 12, 1989. I stand by you now, and I will love you all the days of my life. Oh and one more thing, I, Rose, promise to you Marvin, that I’ll do my very best to still fit in this 1989 almost vintage wedding gown when we celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary in the year 2039. I love you Honey.”
To answer the question in the title of this article, “How many times should a husband and wife renew their vow?” I guess the answer is every single day, not only during milestone anniversaries but each time your spouse is down, each time a child gets sick, each time a crisis comes, each time a triumph is celebrated, every morning even with stinking breath, at night even when you’re not in the mood and in all the aspects of your everyday life, because forever is built one day at a time.