Oh how time flies. I can’t believe that a year ago, at this very moment (June 12, 2015 at 1:38am), Warren and I were in an AirBnB home, discussing the game plan for the morning—as we needed to transfer to a nearby hotel in a few hours, right before my makeup artist, our photographers and our families come. The host of the AirBnB we rented for the wedding preps didn’t tell us right away that his aircondition system is broken—he waited until we arrived at his doorstep at 9pm (after all the last minute errands and checking the set-up at the venue) before telling us that we might as well be inside an oven in his house. We were exhausted and just went through with it, but we both couldn’t sleep. It just won’t work for the big day we have been planning for months. It was the first hiccup of our wedding, and while Warren was so frustrated, the worrier in me frantically thought it will just be one of the many things that can go wrong the following day. Our wedding day. It took all my strength to be optimistic, and calm myself and my then husband-to-be down, so we can make a wise decision.
It wasn’t until I was listening to Warren’s vows at the church, and reading my own, that I realized how that incident was so much smaller than what we have gone through as individuals, and as a couple. It gave me a sense of calm and allowed me to enjoy the rest of the day.
So today, on our first anniversary, I am posting the vows we have exchanged in our ceremony…
My dearest Janina, our story has been quite a journey indeed. After finally seeing each other and had our amazing dates, we spent the following months saying goodbyes and hellos at the airport. Long hours of Skype and Viber, and other forms of digital communication were the norm for us. Strangely enough that just when we thought we can finally be together, distance entered into the picture again as I was relocated to a different country. In the midst of planning this day, we have encountered so much more issues… that it almost seemed that I won’t be able to make it here today. But I won’t let that happen!
What has kept me going are images of you, and how beautiful you are. Your beautiful face when we prayed together in the car before I caught my flight… and when you waved goodbye at the airport. Images of you laughing at my shallow jokes. Images of the two of us stuck in traffic, traveling together, and our outreach. Images of you taking care of me and our future kids—when I’m sick, and when we grow old together.
And now you are here, so beautiful. So you! As I am holding your hand now, I will forever be thankful to God for this moment. Every single day spent with you is a testament of how lucky I am—for I found my dream wife in you.
In front of God, our good priest, Fr. Gil, our families and friends here today, I promise to always be by your side. To take care of you when you’re sick. To always respect you. To support your dreams and your passion. I will always be your number 1 fan. To always understand you and let you bite my fingers. To be very patient when you go ‘hangry’. To protect you. To be the best dad to our future kids. I vow to continue our daily devotionals and prayers, and most importantly, to put God in the center of our marriage.
Wherever our paths may lead us, it doesn’t matter. To me, “HOME” is wherever I am, with you. I am incredibly excited to face our new chapter. I love you everyday and always.
Warren, you are my daily reminder of how much God loves me.
I can still remember how long and how hard I prayed for you. I prayed for a God-fearing, responsible, humble, smart, and handsome man… and He sent you! It took quite a while, but we already know that that’s how God works. His timing was so perfect that right from the start of our friendship, I already knew deep down that you are the one.
You love me in a way I have always wanted to be loved- and this is how it became clear to me how God truly answers our prayers with so so much more.
So today, with all our loved ones present, I promise you my eternal love. I promise you that from this day forward, you will never have to go through life alone. I will be with you every step of the way: Your teammate in life’s hardest trials and greatest adventures; Your partner in making all kinds of decisions; and Your loudest and proudest cheerleader as you pursue your dreams.
I promise to keep my grateful heart everyday: to always respect and honor you, to protect the sanctity of our marriage, and to always put God in the center of our lives. I promise to never stop dreaming, to pursue my passion, and to always support yours, so we will never run out of things to look forward to as we journey on in life. I promise to never stop finding everyday miracles, no matter how small, so we will never run out of things to be thankful for.
I promise to always strive to bring out the best in you, just as how you bring out the best in me, and I promise to always try to look for ways to make you happy, just as you always make me happy.
I promise that together, we will build a home, our comfort and safe haven. Together, we will raise our family with overflowing love and happiness. Together, we will reach for our biggest dream—one day, I know we will have that.
And when things get hard, I promise you that I will try to stop and take a moment to remember this day, this very moment that my heart is filled with this immeasurable happiness, and that will be enough for me to hold on, and find strength to face whatever challenges life throws at us, because we have each other. I love you, Warren. Today, everyday and always.
Reading those words again took me back to the moment when I first heard them, both from Warren and myself. It was a moment when I was filled with both strength and calmness, like I was ready to face anything, and no mishaps will ruin my happiness. I need this most days. I should remember to read our vows more often.
Grooms and brides-to-be, I urge you to write down your vows and keep them. Or at the very least write each other a letter on the day of your wedding. It’ll be a great help in the months and years to come. 🙂