Marriage Interview #17: They Renew Their Vows Every 5 Years | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Mountain View Online |

Local Blogs

Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

View all posts from Chandrama Anderson

Marriage Interview #17: They Renew Their Vows Every 5 Years

Uploaded: Jun 5, 2023
Summer didn’t believe in love. Her parents divorced when she was 16. Her dad yelled a lot. Mark believed in love. His parents were married for 49 years till his dad died.

For many years, Mark had dreams of the woman he would marry; yet he never saw her face. He knew he would recognize her when he met her. And he did. They met at a pool in 1987, in college at UCSB. She was interested in Mark at first sight because she saw that all the kids at the pool knew and loved Mark. His interactions with the kids gave her a warm, good feeling. Mark, being a guy, first noticed her body!

They ran into each other two days later and she asked him to walk with her and see the trail where she ran. He was happy to join her (and unless he has to, he still dislikes running to this day).

Mark had a potential big-league sports career in front of him. Instead, he chose Summer and a family. They got married four years after they met. However, they shared with me that they were secretly engaged after three months. He said the ring had a tiny, tiny stone, and he was pleased to get her a ring with a bigger stone for their official engagement.

The biggest problem they had in their marriage was where to live. He wanted to be in the Bay Area, and she wanted to live near her sister out of state. Summer agreed to live in the Bay Area for five years; she was a stay-at-home mom (which is a full time job). However, Mark’s job in finance was unusual in that he had a lot of flexibility to be with their kids; to participate in their activities and games. They recognized that if they moved and he got a different job in his field, the flexibility would evaporate. They agreed it was more important for Mark to be involved in their kids’ lives than live near Summer’s sister (which they eventually did for four years).

Their mode of decision-making then, and forever after is their top tip for couples: What’s more important to one of them becomes their joint decision because they want each other to have what they need and want. Other tips: Always think of the other person with your actions. Say “I love you” a lot. They are a strong Acts of Service couple: they always do things for one another (e.g., whoever gets up first puts toothpaste on both of their brushes). Foremost: celebrate love; in whatever way works for you.

I loved talking with them, and seeing how they look at each other after 32 years of marriage. Their eyes sparkled as they spoke of each other, their marriage, and their adult kids. They are clearly best friends.

The every five years renewing their vows grew out of this incident: In second grade, their daughter came home from school one day and asked when they would divorce. She had a school friend whose parents were divorcing. Their response at 10 years of marriage was to renew their vows with their children as their maid of honor and best man! They rented a limo, and Summer wore her original wedding gown.

Their next vow renewal was at 20 years in Vegas, just the two of them. At 25 years, they renewed their vows at Lake Tahoe, and their dog was their only guest. Their 30 year vow renewal was an Elvis ceremony in Vegas with friends and family, music and celebration.

I asked Summer and Mark the meaning to them of renewing their vows. “Simply just because we love each other.” It’s poignant and special to them. “Why celebrate only once?”

They sent me photos of their wedding and all the renewals, but I’m not sharing them with you, readers, to maintain their confidentiality. They look so happy to be with their beloved in every photo.

Mark says. “We see through rose-colored glasses.” He was sad when his favorite line became a marketed one: Life is good.

Summer paraphrases My Big Fat Greek Wedding by saying Mark is the head of the family, and she’s the neck. She illustrated that ‘the neck turns the head’ by reaching over with her finger and gently turning his head toward her. She turned Mark’s head 36 years ago, and he’s still looking every day. So is Summer.

(Note: If you're a couple that is interested in being interviewed for Couples Net, please get in touch with me.)
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Eric Kendricks, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jun 5, 2023 at 1:08 pm

Eric Kendricks is a registered user.

My husband and I renew our vows every year because we are eternally grateful for the opportunity to share our union as both a married couple and parents of two small children.

Mutual thoughtfulness is a key to a successful relationship. While I do not put toothpaste on my husband's toothbrush, I make sure that he continues to take his HIV meds each morning and in addition to preparing his favorite meals, I make sure that all of his cosmetic supplements are neatly arranged and placed on the bathroom counter.

He reciprocates by giving me gentle foot rubs and softly caressing my neck as only a thoughtful lover can do.

Good sex is also important and I do everything in my power to ensure that he is always satisfied.

Posted by Jarod Wong, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Jun 5, 2023 at 1:22 pm

Jarod Wong is a registered user.

We renew our vows via expensive gifts.
Last year I gave my boyfriend a new Mercedes AMG and he reciprocated by taking me to an exclusive all-gay resort in the Caribbean.

I agree that good sex is imperative even if it borders on the questionable.

Posted by Logan Wylie, a resident of Los Altos,
on Jun 6, 2023 at 10:40 am

Logan Wylie is a registered user.

Perhaps a few lessons can be learned from the previous posters as consideration, thoughtfulness, and caring are important elements of any relationship.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Jun 6, 2023 at 1:15 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Please, readers, post kindly about your own experience. Please, no comments about others.

Posted by Isabel Morales, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jun 6, 2023 at 2:56 pm

Isabel Morales is a registered user.

My husband and I renew our vows by granting each other a 'special wish' every year. Last year my wish was to visit Paris and he obliged. His wish was for a 'devil's threesome' and I reluctantly obliged.

Posted by Harrison Tamaki, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 7, 2023 at 9:51 am

Harrison Tamaki is a registered user.

When it was mutually decided that we could not renew our vows with sincerity, my wife and I got divorced.

It was a costly endeavor and very disruptive to our family environment at the time but things turned out best in the long run.

She is now happily involved with a man 12 years her junior and I am free to pursue my outside interests without having to answer to her harping about things not getting done around the house.

Our kids are now in their 20s and dealing with relationship issues of their own. If anything, they have learned that people can grow apart and earlier marital vows are meaningless as individual lives change or evolve/de-evolve in other directions.

Like eating liver, marital vows are not for everyone

Posted by Ariel Schwartz, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jun 7, 2023 at 2:23 pm

Ariel Schwartz is a registered user.

Best not to make promises that one cannot keep.

In lieu of any vow renewals, my husband and I keep score of our various shortcomings and indiscretions. For every mutually acknowledged misdeed, the other party gets to partake in one of their own to even or settle the score.

Certain vices and oversights (i.e. gambling, adultery, compulsive spending) are identified as such and remunerated by mutual endeavors and related activities.

It's far cheaper than paying a divorce lawyer because we get to spend the money on ourselves rather than attorney retainers and padded billable hours.

Posted by Marcus Lange, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jun 8, 2023 at 9:22 am

Marcus Lange is a registered user.

"Best not to make promises that one cannot keep."

Wedding vows are like New Year's resolutions, they sound good but are oftentimes difficult to fulfill over an extended period of time.

Many couples who have been married for an extended period of time can no longer afford to get a divorce and start life all over again. As a result, they are stuck with one another until the grim reaper eventually comes to the rescue.

Having been married in a civil ceremony, there were no vows or false promises for one to be held accountable for, just a mandatory blood test and filing fee.

Having a non-wedding (with zero vows) also saved a lot of money as no one had to shell-out any money for a costly wedding reception.

Unless a couple is planning to raise a family, there is absolutely no reason to ever get married or be held hostage to unrealistic vows and lofty Hallmark Card sentiments.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Jun 8, 2023 at 3:28 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Please, folks, use “I” statements and don’t speculate about others. The goal is to learn from others’ experiences or grow in your understanding based on what is shared of one’s own experience. Thank you.

Posted by Heloise Jensen, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 9, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Heloise Jensen is a registered user.

Reaffirming our core Christian values is how my husband and I reaffirm our vows.

Posted by Renata Mendez, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 9, 2023 at 6:31 pm

Renata Mendez is a registered user.

Kudos to Heloise Jensen for her reaffirmation of faith. It is getting far more difficult these days given various global events.

Back to topic...

Even though we are not legally married, my 'significant other' and I renewed our vows by inviting our remaining friends to a re-committment ceremony and an all-organic feast in the Humboldt Forest.

Along with some good 'shrooms', there was plenty of wine and pot to go around and we also had a live acoustic band playing Grateful Dead songs.

Sadly, many of our closest friends and acquaintances have passed on. When one is pushing 80, these gatherings of the elder generation tends to get smaller. On the other hand, the younger generations can often show the older generations a few things and we have been blessed to have surviving friends whose children and grandchildren turned us on to some of the best weed on Earth.

While my mate looks kind of stupid with his bald head and miniscule pony tail, I probably look like a graying witch to small children in the suburban neighborhoods.

Our re-enacted vows were a reaffirmation of not changing a thing and ironically, we don't recall the original vows that we shared back in 1967.

Posted by Amrit Singh, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jun 10, 2023 at 9:10 am

Amrit Singh is a registered user.

My wife would like to return to India to renew our vows and visit her parents but our children have minimal interest in accompanying us.

She envisions booking the Taj Majal for the ceremony, followed by a lavish feast, and a communal dip in the Ganges.

I told her to dream on.

Posted by Holly Raines, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jun 10, 2023 at 11:36 am

Holly Raines is a registered user.

"Reaffirming our core Christian values is how my husband and I reaffirm our vows."
^ We do the same except that we are Jewish. The key of course is not be a fanatic.

Posted by Marion Locke, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 10, 2023 at 1:27 pm

Marion Locke is a registered user.

We reaffirm our marital commitment by trying to be good providers for our children.

This involves offering constructive guidance and criticism, encouraging spiritual values, and providing high-end material goods as a reward for their obsequiousness.

Posted by Reese Caldwell, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 10, 2023 at 2:22 pm

Reese Caldwell is a registered user.

In our renewed wedding vows we changed the "Do you promise to love, honor and cherish..." to "Do you promise to love, [respect], and cherish..."

In retrospect and after 20 years of marriage, our fulfilling one out of these three promises ain't bad.

Like in baseball, batting .300 is considered successful.

Posted by Bonnie Tate, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 10, 2023 at 4:57 pm

Bonnie Tate is a registered user.

@Reese: I totally understand. You can love someone but not necessarily respect them as a person or cherish their presence.

Our vows are similar to those of the Massai in Africa. The husband vows to be a good provider and the wife vows to manage the household (including grocery shopping, cooking, house cleaning, laundry, and transporting the kids to school, the dentist, and soccer practice).

Oh I forgot..walking the dog and taking it to the vet or dog groomer.

Not every woman needs a professional career as many take the time off to raise small children.

Posted by James Willows, a resident of another community,
on Jun 11, 2023 at 11:03 am

James Willows is a registered user.

Lofty wedding vows and a sense of unrealistic romance are figments of Western culture. In most parts of the world, Hallmark sentiments are meaningless and/or non-existent.

That said, we renewed our vows by taking out individual life insurance policies and creating a revocable trust.

Now all of the bases are covered and we can go back to pursuing our separate (but still married) private lives and interests.

Posted by Kendra Johnson, a resident of another community,
on Jun 11, 2023 at 12:21 pm

Kendra Johnson is a registered user.

The Native Americans did not have a concept of romantic love either as marital roles were explicitly defined by personal duties and obligations.

I discussed renewing our marital vows to my husband and he replied "What for? Haven't I provided enough by putting food on the table and paying the mortgage for the past 22 years?"

All things considered, he is probably right because the concept of romantic love is highly overated.

Posted by Michael Young, a resident of another community,
on Jun 11, 2023 at 2:14 pm

Michael Young is a registered user.

False expectations often lead to further disappointment which is why we are reluctant to renew our marital vows.

Why be hypocritical and perfunctory?

Posted by Grant Meeker, a resident of another community,
on Jun 11, 2023 at 2:35 pm

Grant Meeker is a registered user.

After 25 years of marriage, my wife brought up the idea of renewing our wedding vows followed by a lavish reception at The Fairmont in San Francisco for about 40 guests.

When she learned that it would cost around $25K-$30K, I gave her the option of going through with this folly OR my giving her $30K in cash to spend as she pleased.

Guess what? She took the cash.

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 12 comments | 2,993 views

Banning the public from PA City Hall
By Diana Diamond | 26 comments | 2,149 views

Pacifica’s first brewery closes its doors
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 1,871 views

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,419 views

Holiday Fun in San Francisco- Take the Walking Tour for An Evening of Sparkle!
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,406 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Voice readers and foundations contributed a total of $84,000.