At our wedding in 2010, we had 250 guests. Yes, we know, that is A LOT of people but we were young, one of the first couples to get married and we had walked a journey of many relationships and friendships – we had family, family friends, school friends, university friends, work friends, sport friends, and partners. Being quite private people, we decided then that we would say traditional vows at the altar and rather exchange our personal, written vows in envelopes and share them together, intimately the next day or on honeymoon.
When discussing a vow renewal, we knew that with a small and intimate group of our nearest and dearest, we wanted to have a casual ceremony where our pastor (and amazing friends) blessed us, his beautiful wife (and besties) sang over us and we exchanged our personal vows with everyone as our witness. Dylan and Tes are our pastors but also some of our closest friends – they have only been a part of our lives over the past few years but Jesus knows us and our plan and He lead us down the most incredible path to join us in friendship and fellowship. We knew without a doubt, that we wanted them to be a part of our vow renewal celebration. Dylan blessed us, spoke life into us and prayed over us as a couple and family, and Tes sang “The Blessing” over us. When I asked Tes to sing at our celebration (she has the voice of an angel), I mentioned a few songs but asked her to make the final decision – I had a preference but left it in her (or God’s) hands. She started crying and confirmed that the song we both loved was one that had been on her heart since we had mentioned renewing our vows. And hearing her sing these words and this blessing over us and our girls on the day was extremely moving (cue ALL the tears).
Speaking of tears – ten years of marriage has brought out all the emotions, all the feels and all the words in our vows. One of our key takeaways from our vow renewal was how we spoke our vows and made promises to each other ten years, with all the love and good intentions but it doesn’t compare to the weight that our vows held this time, ten years later. Ten years lived and experienced. Ten years of working through the darkest of lows and celebrating the fun high moments together. Ten years of marriage gives our vows and promises so much more meaning – because we have lived these vows and lived our promises to each other. Every single day.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room and my beloved MC shed more tears than I’ve ever seen. That moment etched in my heart and mind forever – listening to the man of my dreams confess his love to me, again – through all my failures and flaws over the past ten years but still choosing me and promising to love me forever, again. There is so much power in hearing his words, in front of our closest friends and family and in front of our three precious girls – watching them listen so intently to us proclaim our love and vows again, a promise to keep for them and for them to witness such a beautiful covenant being made. They are the greatest part of our ten year story.
Marc – “You are easy to love Cals … you have the warmest smile and most comforting embrace. Your heart overflows with passion and your spirit is the purest I have ever encountered. When you’re younger you say these things more in hope that they are so but in you I have met a soul mate that lives out these qualities daily with humility and grace. Today I get to NOT REDO but enhance the vows I shared a decade ago. And I get to say them with greater understanding of them and in front of our daughters who I want to understand how important marriage, commitment and community is and how important it is as a woman to be loved and respected by a man, I hope all of this will make their meaning that much more treasured… My only regret is that I didn’t marry you sooner… my life has been fuller and more meaningful with you in it. You are the centre of our Family in more ways than one, leading us and guiding us all through moments of celebration and sorrow – for that I thank our Heavenly Father every day and pray for his blessing over our lives, continually guiding us and protecting our future.”
Caley – “At our wedding, 10 years ago, our pastor told the story of the canoe – how in life and marriage we can choose to either be in two separate canoes side by side but risk them drifting apart when one gets fatigued or hits stormy water or shifts their focus, we can be in the same canoe but both steering in different directions which leads to either going nowhere or tipping over, or we can be in the same canoe, one leading and steering from the front but asking for directions whilst the other supports with water and snacks and funny stories, and then takes the lead when it’s their time to carry the load and embrace the tide. Over the years, I’ve seen even more similarities between marriage and the canoe:
- We’re both in this, together
- The ride is definitely made harder when one isn’t paying attention on what the other is doing, or both just going their own way
- One person has to lead but there is space for each person to have their leading time.
- Communication is essential
- It’s hard work
- Sometimes the trip is easy and the water is calm
- Other times, it’s tough and you notice potentially big problems just below the surface
- Other times, little issues make bigger problems than you expect or are prepared for
- You will face big boulders which may damage the canoe but you will face them together
- Reaching each destination is the greatest accomplishment and achievement
It’s been the greatest ride of my life with you, by my side, leading and steering our canoe but handing over the oars when I can carry you. And reaching any moment, destination or milestone is only sweeter, doing it with you.”
Ten years ago, we made our promise and started our fairytale love story and ten years later, we renewed our promise to each other – and we living our greatest fairy tale. What a blessing to celebrate this with our special friends and family in one of our favourite places in the world. So excited for the next decade and lifetime, together.