Vow Renewals: For Show or For Real?

May 8, 2012  |  

There’s been a rash of celebrities renewing their wedding vows as of late, and just last week Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon did so at the Eiffel Tower in luxurious fashion. Tori Spelling, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and LeAnn Rimes are other famous faces who have chosen to walk down the aisle multiple times with their spouses to renew their vows. Everyday couples also commemorate their anniversaries with commitment ceremonies with the passing of each year. On the surface, the gesture is romantic.

Couples shouldn’t be begrudged for taking the time to rejoice in another year of marital bliss. At the alarming rate of spiking divorces in this country, unions that are thriving should be celebrated. Marriage is a 24/7 commitment that offers the highs and lows of two people sharing their lives as one. Love, for all of its different meanings to people, is an action. It takes active work to make a marriage function. There are daily sacrifices and hurt feelings that are absorbed for the sake of the other person, and it’s no longer an “I,” but a “we,” which means give and take. If having a big party once a year to toast the effort helps, so be it.  If you have the money to spend or wish to go bankrupt in order to keep up, by all means, do so.

However, when you look at the celebrities walking down the aisle over and over, there’s an underlying issue of whether these couples are genuinely celebrating their love or attempting to prove a point about how happy they are. It all seems sincere, but there’s the lingering suspicion that it is all for show. To be in the public eye, the famous have to carry themselves a certain way and project a particular image. Those optics often include making people believe they’re in the perfect marriage. There are the cynics who raise the point that many of these celebrity vow renewals are just grabs for attention, when in reality, things aren’t so peachy keen. In Hollywood, if you can make it past the one year benchmark, that does deserve some recognition given the relationship turnover rate. However, there’s something about constantly having these ceremonies that doesn’t come off genuine. We get it. You’re happy. Do you really need to continuously prove it to everybody else?

On a smaller scale, John and Jane might also want to keep nosy neighbors out of their business by keeping up the pretenses. No one wants to be talked about behind their backs and neighborhood gossip can be just as vicious as public rebukes.

‘Doin’ the most’ isn’t just an expression that flows from the lips. It’s an observation that the eyes can see. It traces back to the first wedding itself. Many opt for grand affairs that resonate for a day at the expense of commitments that are meant to hold until death. For instance, Heidi Klum and Seal are such an example. For every year of their marriage, they renewed their vows and led the world to believe that it was only getting better. Now, they are in the midst of a divorce and many are asking if the vow renewals were just a Band-Aid to their fracturing dynamic; grasping at remnants of their original special day to rekindle a fading flame.

Ultimately, to each their own. Grown people will do what they want to do and there’s no set right or wrong way to honor an anniversary. But at the very least, it should be for the right reasons.  There’s no point in going all out for one day if that same effort isn’t being put in all year round.

Stephanie Guerilus is a journalist and author. Follow her at @qsteph.

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  • Allyce

    My husband of 22 years is not interested in renewing our vows. He told me that would mean he did not mean it the first time. Interesting. I see folks renewing vows and the next thing you know they’re in divorce court. Once is enough.

  • SunniQueen7

    I believe that it is healthy for the relationship to make an evaluation of the union/contract every year and renew if you like. Should it involve others? Not really. A big production isn’t necessary EVERY year. Maybe every 5 years. I would make it more personal but to each their own. Don’t EXPECT gifts at every ceremony either. Blessings and renewed love to the happy couple if it works….mine didn’t. I won’t knock it.

  • Dlady

    MN why are we hating? If these folks want to renew their marriage vows..so be it. Why would you write an article about it possibly being a farce? With that said, I am exercising my right to unsubscribe from this blog. I’m tired of the less than positive articles that are written on this blog. Let us continue to uplift ourselves as a people and not perpetuate the stereotypes that keep us down. Sadly its only in this country that we as a people continue to help ‘others’ laugh at us. I’ve lived and visited every single continent in the world and its only in the US that we continue to lambaste our own people.

  • (Joking) I think you should have to renew your marriage every 4 years like your driver’s license. If you don’t then the marriage would expire. This would cut down on divorce.

    • SunniQueen7

      I agree…not joking. Let bygones be bygones and you can gone get the hell on.

      • SunniQueen7

        You AND yo mama.

  • Tcleckley

    I just think people should have anniversary parties & stop with renewing the vows…Once should be enough.