Do you sleep next to your promises?

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. 
When you get married, especially if you are speaking your own vows from cardsdon’t just shove them into a keepsake box – use them in some way. 
What have you done with yours?

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