The Book of Love

Honest wedding vows,

I am not here with you because of the big party, the fancy clothes, the good food, the cake, and the gifts. I would marry you again today in a flash flood, in a hurricane, in nuclear holocaust, in rain, in sleet, in blizzards, wearing a burlap sack with a half-crazed officiant who barely spoke broken English. I would marry you if all that awaited us was a cardboard box and roach roommates so that we could be together each day.

I know that I will disappoint you and that you will disappoint me because we are not perfect, but I promise to try to be better and do better for you and me each and every single day.

I promise that I am not marrying you secretly hoping that you will change, but because I wouldn’t change a thing about you. I utterly adore everything about you right now. And the only thing I want from you is for you to become a more brilliant you, like a black and white photo that suddenly becomes vividly colored. I want to hold your hand as you become Technicolored walking in to Oz.

I promise that I will let you tell me when I have betrayed myself, and thus you. I won’t hold it against you when you call me out, but I will be thankful, appreciative, and I will try my best to fight my way back to the core person that you married. In turn I will never let you lose sight of yourself. Even if you want to break it, I will hold a mirror up to your face so you never forget who you are.

I promise not to expect everything of you, because that will destroy our relationship. But you will always be my favorite and my preference, and my best friend. I promise to not keep secrets from you, because that would be our Achilles heel. If I wonder if I should tell you something, I will definitely tell you about it.

I may find other people physically attractive, funny, charming, sexy, or interesting, but the unique recipe that is you is the most divine combination of all those things and more. I would never give you up for some one-dimensional characteristic. You are absolutely the living end for me.

I will faithfully stand by you when life throws its most dastardly things at you or us. I would rather have my back against the wall with you than be alone or with anyone else.

I know that your body will change. The fat pads will come slowly or quickly, hair will grow or fall out, wrinkles and stretch marks will betray our efforts to stay chiseled and perfect, but all of that doesn’t matter to me. You are not your physical body, and yet I love your physical self so much- it does not define you. I love whatever package you are wrapped up in, and I know that you love mine.

I promise to stick by you during debilitating, terminal illnesses. If you cannot remember who I am or who we were together, I will not abandon you- though you wouldn’t know it if I did- it would still break my heart knowing you would never abandon me. I promise to tenderly change your diaper, knowing that it humiliates you, but it doesn’t bother me because you would lovingly clean me up if the tables were turned.

I promise to never betray you or myself for worldly things. Money, things, power, lust will never lure me away from you and the life that we build together. I won’t be your Benedict Arnold.

We will stick together if all of our plans fall apart. Even if we can never pay off our debt, our jobs continue to suck, layoffs come, unexpected pregnancy happens, the pregnancy we want eludes us, our parenthood wasn’t as grand as we had expected; we will never abandon each other. With each heartbreak that we face, I will wrap bandages around your wounds, and then you will clean mine up and we will use lots of gauze. But I will remain dedicated to you and I won’t allow my pain to blind the truth that our love is greater than all of that pain.

I will stand up for you and fight for you, even if you don’t ask. I won’t let the world trample you to smithereens.

These are my promises to you and I promise you nothing less.