For many couples, writing wedding vows can feel like a daunting task. What do you want to say to a crowd of loved ones about your future spouse? How do you capture it all? While there is certainly no “right” or “wrong” way to approach writing and reciting wedding vows, it might behoove brides and grooms to really reflect on the idea that these vows can be an opportunity to establish your values and intentions for your life together as partners.

With that in mind, here are a marriage therapist’s suggestions for what you may want to say in your wedding vows and why. They may not be as poetic as “’til death do us part,” but they do capture important aspects of what will likely make your marriage stand the test of time.

  1. I will always strive to respect who you are and who you want to become. Seeing the positive in your partner is a healthy foundation for a successful marriage. If you can strive to see the best in him or her, this can buffer the conflict that can come from the differences you may have.
  2. I will view you and support you as an independent person, connected to me in many ways, but also free to be and become who you really are. We know that good relationships are ones that provide enough space to foster each partner’s uniqueness, and including this sentiment in your vows is an important statement of respect for your spouse’s independence and freedom even within your marriage.
  3. I promise to always be in the process of getting to know you. It can be easy to assume that you know everything about your partner, but of course, that is just not true. Committing to constantly be curious and open to your partner’s changing needs, goals, and fears sets you both up for a more meaningful and successful relationship.
  4. I will work to keep our relationship passionate and refreshing, even when we have known each other for many, many years. Saying this indicates that you are willing to work against the stagnation that can come with long-term relationships.
  5. I promise to work hard for our relationship and attempt to always be your teammate when facing issues. Your wedding day might not seem like the time to talk about dealing with problems, but you will definitely face issues in your relationship. Why not make a promise to always join forces with your partner to work for the health and success of your relationship? It just might be the most important promise you make.