There were alot of divorces on my dad's side of the family. My (soon to be) husband had been divorced. All that history of divorce in our backgrounds scared me. So in an effort to break this chain of divorce we would bring into our marriage, we planned on renewing our vows every 5 years.
Year 5. I was working full time and putting myself through college. Our 5th anniversary fell on a Saturday. I had a morning class and an afternoon class. We met our pastor at church during lunch, just the three of us before God, as he lead us through vows of commitment and promise. I cried the whole time. Because, with some life behind us, the words we were promising to each other, the traditional marriage vows, took on a much weightier meaning than they had on our wedding day. It felt very sacred.
Year 10. Killing two birds with one stone, our vow renewal was also the cover for a surprise party for our pastor (or was it his wife? I can't remember which now.) Several couples gathered together at church and, once again, we recommited ourselves before God and friends "to love, honor and obey...as long as we both shall live." It was simple and beautiful and fun. It wouldn't be long after that we learned that God had plans for us that we had given up hoping for...we were going to become parents!
Year 15. My husband, my daughter and I gathered in Pastor Rob's office. Pastor Rob, like a brother to me and an uncle to my daughter, knew what was left unspoken. He knew the struggles. We repeated those vows while our little girl played at our feet, unaware that her parents were locked in battle, in turmoil. I silently prayed, "Oh My Lord. Help me get through this without breaking down. Help me to live out these vows."
Year 20. Me: "Our 20th anniversary is coming up. Do you want to renew our vows?" Him: "I don't care. It's up to you." We didn't. And divorced after 23 years, we never made it to Year 25.