Jeanette Winterson is a writer whose work I’ve long admired. She’s gay, and she was always against the idea of getting married because, as the sub-headline in her Guardian article says,” Why conform to patriarchal ideas of monogamy?”
She’s clearly changed her mind, because she has just got married, and I really liked her vows.
I promise to look at you and always see you.
I promise to listen to you,
even when you say things I don’t want to hear.
I promise to respect you: the you that is you;
the you that is not me; the you that is not us.
I promise to stand by you in the world.
I promise to delight in you.
I promise to treat you like a Jewish princess.
With my body, with my mind,
with my heart, with my imagination,
I promise to love you for as long as I live.
As she says, “These were my promises, not someone else’s idea of what I should promise, and so they have real meaning for us both.
Later I had the calligrapher Stephen Raw write them out. They hang on our bedroom wall. When I am in a good mood, or a bad mood, I read them out loud, and, for different reasons, depending on my mood, they steady me”.
I was very touched by this, not least because our vows hang on our bedroom wall too, and like Jeanette, I sometimes read them out loud, for the same reason.
What have you done with yours?