Lois claimed that I promised always to answer the telephone so she wouldn’t have to. I was doubtful, but had no proof otherwise. I made up my own versions: She would write all the thank you notes. We’ve almost kept those two promises. She’s a more faithful writer than I am, and I do tend to pick up the phone. (If you call us and there’s no answer, she may be close by, just not answering.)
“Lois, I choose to take you as my wife and to share my life with you. I love you, and I will continue to love you for what you are in the hope that you will become all that God wants you to be. I give myself to you knowing that you, in turn, will help me to do the same. I promise to share our joys and burdens, making the joys greater and the burdens lighter. I promise to remain faithful to you and to support you through good times and bad. With God as my strength, all this I will do as long as we both shall live.”
And Lois? She said,
“Daryl, I choose to take you as my husband and to share my life with you. I love and will continue to love you for what you are in the hope that you will become all that you can be. I give myself to you now, knowing that you in turn will help me to become the person that God wants me to be. I promise to remain faithful to you and to support you through good times and bad, so long as we both shall live. With God as our strength, we will grow together.”
There are small differences in the wording. The way that they were written out differs—mine was double-spaced and the length of the page; hers was single-spaced with several phrases crossed out or re-worded. Mine was dated and signed. Small details that reflect the people we still are today.
The substance is the same in both: We committed ourselves to each other and to God, and we promised to seek our own and each other’s growth. Although I am deeply aware of my failings in various areas of my life, we have kept the essence of this promise made to each other so many years ago. We have grown, and continue to grow. We have grown at different rates and in different ways; we are so clearly not the same people we were then. But we have also come closer together in that commitment to each other as people who change and become more than we were.
Of his own marriage Scott Peck says, “I believe our most powerful shared passion has been for our own psychospiritual growth…. Indeed, the most common complaint of our staff is: ‘Oh, no, not the G word again!’” [In the preface to Abounding Love, a collection of sayings on love and friendship.] Peck sets a higher bar than I can reach; but it states the goal of our marriage vows from July 1977. We commit ourselves to grow in Christ, and to help each other grow in Christ. It’s a wonderful path, and I hope we can walk it for many years to come.