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How To Survive Writing Your Own Sincere and Eloquent Vows

01/03/2012 12:10 pm ET | Updated Mar 04, 2012

Your wedding is approaching and whether it is just the two of you on an island, a huge formal event, or something in between, the time to write your vows has come. Some of us can't wait to declare our love for our spouse-to-be but we just aren't sure how to go about it and sound great. It is a lot of pressure. First, writing your own vows means creative writing that has to have an emotional element. Then, throw in some public speaking and you have a potentially anxiety producing task. Let go of your anxiety and follow the steps below to make writing your own sincere and eloquent vows easy.

1) Talk with your spouse about length and format. Agree on some loose terms. For length, you could start with a word count. Anywhere between 150-300 words. You could define length by how long it takes you to read it out loud.

Format just means if your spouse wants to write a rhyming poem, you should know that and decide if you want to do the same or have different formats to your vows. Identical formats are much less important than relatively similar lengths. Remember, you can always change the length and format as you get writing.

2) Brainstorm. Get a pen, some paper, some colored markers and write down some words that come to mind when you think of your spouse. What are the quirks and qualities that you love about him or her?

Next, on a new sheet write some words that come to mind when you think of your relationship with your spouse so far. What are your strengths as a couple? How do you have fun? How do you feel when you are together?

Then, on a new sheet write some words that embody your vision for your marriage. How do you see your life together? What is the beautiful union you are creating symbolized by? Your rings of gold? Your words of love? The days of fun and joy and the nights of love and passion?

Write down anything without censoring yourself. Get creative. Let yourself be wordy, sometimes eloquence starts with lots of great adjectives that describe a feeling. Really take some time to brainstorm.

3) Ask yourself what marriage means to you. What are you promising? How do you feel about this and why are you doing it? Write that down too.

4) Take all your notes and use a marker to circle the best, most meaningful words and phrases. With a new color, circle the maybes: words and phrases that you might want to use but might not fully express your feelings.

5) Pick your top five to seven words or phrases for each brainstorm category: Your spouse's most wonderful qualities, your relationship, and your vision for your marriage. List those on a sheet of paper. Then write two to five words, phrases, or sentences from your 'what marriage means to you sheet'. These are the bones of your vows! Great job!

6) Now start writing your first draft. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. You can change it. Just start writing. Write an introductory sentence or two, something like: "I am so excited to marry you, _________. You have made my life so much sweeter and filled it with love." Write from your heart!

The next paragraph will be about your spouse's most wonderful qualities. Write it to include all of the top five to seven words. You can be simple like: "You are so amazing and loving. You bring a sense of humor to everything. I love that about you!" Or you can combine your brainstorm words: "You weave humor into our lives and create a loving atmosphere in our home that is so amazing." Either way is great! Try some different ways of expressing yourself.

When that is done move on to a paragraph about your relationship. Include all of the top brainstorm words. Let your love for your spouse be in the forefront of your mind and heart while you are writing. Use your guidelines as a structure to express how you feel in your heart.

Next, write a paragraph about your vision for your marriage. Talk about what you want to create together. Use your top words or phrases and work them into your paragraph.

Then, write your declaration of love using the phrases or sentences about what marriage means to you. Here is an example: "To me, marriage is a partnership built on love and trust, from which we can both grow in joy. I will love, trust, and treasure you as my husband for all of our days."

7) Now just revise and check for spelling. Make sure that your vows express what is in your heart. Add or change anything as needed. When you feel done, pat yourself on the back! You wrote beautiful, sincere, eloquent vows. Well done.