Vows for Old Married People

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Break the glass, light the candle, jump the broom, drink the wine. There’s a magical quality to the marriage ceremony of young people. The white dress, the sacred music, the brides of another era dabbing eyes with vintage linen handkerchiefs only used for such an occasion. The couple recites vows while friends and relatives watch. Then, the real work begins.

Any long-term married couple knows a marriage involves hard work and commitment to fulfill vows spoken long ago.

Like the rusty sedan in the garage, old married couples may need a tune-up and possibly a new fan belt. My husband and I have been married nearly 68 years (that’s 34 for each of us). Like our 12-year old Honda, we still have some mileage left in us. The paint is faded and chipped, the fender bent, but the engine runs well.

We’ve been faithful, obeyed each other in sickness and health—yadda yadda yadda as Elaine says on “Seinfeld.”

Why not recite vows for the second act?

For Him:
I, State Your Name, continue to take thee to be my wedded wife, despite reservations that defy common sense because you are a nut job. (Disclaimer: this is widely known.  Not stating anything that’s news.)
To have and to hold from this day forward, or until POTUS blows up the world.
For better, for when you mate my socks or make refried beans you despise for dinner.
For worse, when your relatives visit for days and control my TV remote and drink all my liquor.
For richer, for poorer, until Social Security and Medicare kick in, in sickness with your constant hot flashes and bathroom breaks every hour on vacation.
To love you even when you constantly ask me inane questions about football or when you mess up my special remote on the big TV in the basement or forget to note your purchases from our debit card in the checkbook.
To cherish you until death do us part and you cremate me and take my insurance money and go to Bermuda for a month with a man who looks like a younger version of George Clooney.

Thereto I plight thee my troth for at least another thirty years of you still learning to cook and making about one miserable failure a month.

For Her:
I, State Your Name, continue to take thee as my wedded husband, even though I really don’t like watching the Pacers or any NBA games, or you zipping through the channels  with the special $89 LED remote I can’t understand. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want me to understand it.
To have and to hold from this day forward or until climate change sucks all the air and water from our universe.
For better, on those nights when we can read side by side while listening to Sixties on Six.
Or worse, when we drive somewhere we are obligated to go, but it is dark, and we’re both semi-blind and we nearly end up in a ditch. And we argue over the differences between the car GPS and the phone GPS, and we still cannot find where we are going.
For richer, when we were able to travel to Europe and pretend like we are of Royal Blood even if we are on a tour bus with thirty other Baby Boomers.

For poorer, when we sit at the kitchen table and try to figure out how to pay all the bills because I retired early for health reasons, and COBRA constantly surprises us, like news that anesthesia for my colonoscopy is optional so insurance won’t pay.
In sickness, when you are crabby because you have a minor cold, and in health when you are so happy you’ll take all the recycling stuff to the dump by yourself on Saturday morning,

Thereto I plight thee my troth for another three decades or so of bad puns and silliness and staying up too late to watch “Fraser” reruns.

For Him:
I will dig in my dresser drawer for that simple gold band we bought at Service Merchandise for around fifty dollars, and I’ll look at it occasionally and remember that I am married.

For Her:
I’ll wear my wedding ring, also purchased at Service Merchandise for around thirty dollars, to  functions where I want people to know I’m still married.

Voice of a deceased minister who married this couple, though he’s been in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery for fifteen years:
By the power vested in me by the State of Indiana and the Lutheran Church, you are now good to go. I now pronounce you Old Married People.

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