As I type this, husBenKoh and I have been married for exactly 8.5 years. Including our courtship days, we have been together for almost 12 years.
I’m not gonna lie. Keeping the romance going isn’t easy. This is especially true after we have kids.
On most days, husBenKoh is busy with work. It hasn’t been a smooth journey for his career (but by God’s grace, things are much much better now), so he’s had to dedicate many hours every week to work. The frustrations get to him and it manifests at home sometimes.
I have been a Stay-home-mum from the day our first child, Phoebie, was born. With the challenges of child rearing, and the occasional sense of inferiority from the lack of financial freedom, I have my own battles to fight and it sometimes manifests at home too.
Okay, “sometimes” is probably an understatement.
It isn’t intentional, but most of the time, husBenKoh and I don’t have the time or energy for romance. I mean, we both know that we will support each other through whatever life throws at us, but romance isn’t always on our mind.
We’ve always wanted to renew our wedding vows at our 10th wedding anniversary. To me, it would be extra significant because we would be celebrating 10 years of marriage.
When we signed up for our Church Camp, we were told that one of our Church Pastors would be officiating the renewal of marriage vows for married couples, and that interested couples could sign up for it. I was initially reluctant to do it because I figured we were already planning to do it next year.
After giving it some thought, husBenKoh and I decided to sign up for it.
Phoebie had always said that she wanted to be a part of our “wedding”, so we had both our kids come along to witness the event.
Before we renewed our vows, along with more than 20 other couples from our Chrch, our pastor, Pastor Joash shared a short message with us. He reminded us of how we should always remember to appreciate our spouse and to show our appreciation. He then got us to look at each other in the eyes.
I have to be honest. We were both giggling and trying not to laugh. But as we got into the momentum of things, I realised it has been a while since I looked this closely at my husband. “You have more freckles now,” I told him, “And you forgot to shave.”
Pastor Joash got us to tell our spouses how we felt about them, about the past few years of marriage and about what we appreciated about them.
Pastor Joash then led the husbands in the vows, followed by the wives. The whole thing was simple and it was over in less than one hour.
After we all renewed our marriage vows, each couple had a chance to take a photo with the beautiful beach as backdrop. This was to commemorate this special occasion. The Church camp committee thoughtfully prepared props that we could use in our photos.
Funnily, my dress went well with the headdress and veil and it really looked like our wedding day.
I always thought that an event like the renewal of vows had to be bigger, that we had to be more dressed up and that our kids should be able to understand its significance.
After renewing our vows at our church camp last week, I have found that the biggest significance has to be the person I am renewing my vows with.
Being in love isn’t always enough. When we are so busy with the every day things in life, we don’t always tell each other how much we love and appreciate each other. We don’t always have time for romance. Even if we do romance each other, we need to remember why we are doing it.
The renewal of vows brought me back to my wedding day, when I started to tear as I vowed to love husBenKoh, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health.
I started tearing again at the renewal of vows, when Pastor Joash led the husbands in saying the vows to the wives. Sure, there were more than 20 other husbands repeating the vows in the same room. But all that mattered to me was that husBenKoh was saying his vows to me.
I don’t think that the renewal of vows has to be a religious event, but for husBenKoh and I, it is important, and extra significant that we put the God whom we both believe in, in the centre of everything.
Next year, we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. HusBenKoh says that we can renew our vows again then, and I think we should.