RENEWAL OF VOWS
Couples decide to renew their vows for a wide variety of reasons. Life can throw all sorts of difficulties in our path, and through no fault of our own, it may be really difficult to sustain and nourish the marriage. During the many stages of our lives, we embrace renewal again and again and it can refresh and reinvigorate us to the core.
Here several couples share their stories.
Ted and Marion.
After being married for ten years, Marion finally had three children in fairly quick succession. They were delighted with their young family and although life was decidedly hectic, they felt that on balance they were coping well. Then out of the blue Marion's elderly mother fell and broke her leg in several places. She lived hundreds of miles away and over the ensuing months she had to have several rounds of surgery as the breaks were not healing properly. From being self-sufficient and independent, she gradually became more and more dependant and depressed.
Into this melting pot was added a further complication. Despite using contraception, Marion became pregant for a fourth time. The pregnancy was difficult and the child, a boy, was born premature and suffered from a rare genetic disorder which meant that it was over a year before he could leave hospital. Marion spent many nights at the hospital while Ted held the fort at home.
When they finally brought their new baby boy home, he was not expected to reach adulthood. He passed away just before his tenth birthday. and shortly after that Marion's mother passed away. Marion felt particularly guilt ridden and withdrew into herself and when Ted tried to reach out to her, she found herself pushing him away without quite knowing why. Their marriage had reached a very low point and they felt as if a tremendous gulf had grown between them. A friend suggested they seek counselling or therapy. They had a number of sessions of hypnotherapy with me where we explored the stresses, strains and bereavements they had suffered. Using the gentle power of hypnotherapy, they were able to release their guilt, stop blaming one another and finally reconnect with their love for one another. As Marion said, it had been there all the time, but they had just lost sight of it.
To celebrate they invited me to be the celebrant at their renewal of vows ceremony - and make sure you come to the party afterwards, they insisted!
Their renewal of vows was especially moving. They had been through so much together and their renewing their vows brought many tears of joy and also tears that acknowledged their sufferings. Several family members said to me afterwards that the renewal of vows ceremony had made them feel even closer to the couple.
Adrian and Joshua
Theirs was a love story that was a rollercoaster of heartbreak and happiness. They met at university and fell head over heels in love with each other. Adrian was out but Joshua had always kept his homosexuality a secret as he had a long and expensive training ahead of him, and he depended on his parents to finance it. He suspected his mother might be tolerant, but he knew that his father, a senior figure in a hard-line religious sect, would cut him off without a penny if he found out. And his mother was very much under his father's thumb.
After university Joshua moved back into the large family home and his parents paid for the rooms on the second floor to be turned into a spacious flat where he could pursue his studies. Joshua knew that he was very fortunate in this respect, as so many students were trying to study in noisy bedsits or chaotic shared rooms with filthy kitchens and bathrooms. However, it also meant his parents knew who all his visitors were and they made it plain that overnight guests were unacceptable.
The years passed and Joshua completed his studies. He and Adrian had tried to keep in touch but not being able to be together as a couple was just too painful and their frustration ended up in rows and reciminations. Adrian got a job in New Zealand and met someone else and they drifted apart.
But deep down they never forgot that delightful ecstatic and overwhelming first love. And many years later they met quite by chance and they knew that this time they wouldn't be separated by pressure from other people. As Adrian had to go back to New Zealand to work out his contract, they had a small registry office wedding. Then a few years later they contacted me so that they could plan and design a much bigger ceremony. It was a renewal of vows like no other and they were gloriously and deliriously happy. In fact everybody enjoyed the occasion so much that their friends are encouraging Adrian and Joshua to renew their vows again... and again.