Do you want a happy, healthy, fulfilling relationship or do you want Instagramable pictures?
Do you need to be seen smiling all the time or does your partner know that despite the look on your face, your heart is in the same place?
What is growth to you? Is it achieving more, reaching a milestone of age or talent? Is it evolving and finding flexibility in the standards and structures you’ve set? It could be the simple act of creating or respecting new boundaries.
Setting vows at the start of your marriage frames them as a promise that will then be formed into short, medium and long term goals. Once you feel fulfilled in some aspect of the relationship, you’ll tell yourself a vow has been met. But really, a commitment-vow is a determination you make and work to uphold. The proof that you are meeting your vow is how your partner feels, and the residual effects of reciprocity. Often “you’re not living up to…” stems from the framework set at the start of the commitment, not the marriage itself, but it seeps into the reasons why people cross the threshold. They are attempting to prove, through force and control, that the relationship will live up to the vows.
Expectations are implicit in relationships. Much of the work we have to do as individuals is to reduce or reframe the expectations we have of others. Are these expectations based on what we believe the other person is capable of doing or are they based on what we want to receive from them?
Vows should be personal. Even if someone (else) has said them before; they should mean something and align with your values and intentions. They are not just dreams and wishes. They are actionable. They are based in truth, not just the want of truth. If you’ve ever been told “I love you”—would you not believe it real and authentic if it was said again?
(Do you know you are lovable or are you asking, nay, expecting love from a source that is not for you?)