Question: My husband and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in July. The marriage was never “easy”, but over the last two years our relationship deteriorated. We faced several major life stressors with our child and careers. The resulting depression made things even harder.
The fights were becoming more frequent. After a while, we both just gave up. We couldn’t face divorce, but we could barely stand each other. Finally, however, we resolved to work on our relationship. The love was still there, and we resolved to find it. Although we have not been married very long, we have been together for 10 years and have 3 beautiful children. Our relationship is well on its way to recovery, and though it seems soon, we have decided to renew our vows. Being so close to divorce, this is a very serious commitment. We want a ceremony in front of family and friends that says, “We fought hard to get here, and we want to stick through it for the long haul”. It is very important to us. We’re calling it a fresh start. My problem here is that I’m not sure how to approach this. Though we never legally divorced, we definitely weren’t living any form of a marriage. To everyone we know we weren’t together. We lived separate lives. So what do I do for this? I don’t want a white dress wedding, by any means, but I do want this to be a catalyst for a new life…a different one than we have had this year. What do I do?
It sounds like you had a tough first few years, but I’m glad to hear you’ve been able to overcome those issues. Marriage is hard work and relationships are always evolving so it’s good to be mindful that and try to communicate often. I pray that you come out even stronger. (Note I edited out some of your more personal details for privacy reasons).
Although it is not a milestone anniversary, if you’ve been separated, that is a change in the marriage that you’ll want to renew. I recommend a typical wedding vow renewal service that we lay out on the pages of this website. You can personalize your vows to include some of the issues you’ve overcome and what the marriage now means to you and your family. Since you have children, you might want to consider doing a unity candle ceremony (Or a family candle ceremony). As you suggest, this isn’t a wedding, so plan appropriately. Please view our page on wedding vow renewal etiquette.