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Review, Renew, Re-Vow for Lifelong Happiness

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Has your marriage grown lack-luster? Do you recall the day of your wedding when your romance and passion were at their height? Has your partnership become a chore?

My sister, Diana, and Member of Parliament husband, Alan, married in a civil ceremony at their local Registry Office during the lunch hour when a space showed up at short notice. Our mother was told over the phone later in the day that they were married. Mum was deeply disappointed they did not have a traditional family wedding.

Their renewal of vows 20 years later at the Palace of Westminster's very beautiful Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft was a complete replica of a traditional wedding, with vows, hymns and readings, and grandchildren serving as bridesmaids. A champagne on the Thames-side terrace followed, then a magnificent lunch, wedding cake and speeches completed the celebration.

Your marriage can be seen as a vehicle that protects your partnership and enables you to grow, expand and deepen your love. The rough terrain you may travel over at times can be exactly what you need to find new strengths and qualities to appreciate and love in each other.

Rather as a car undergoes an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test in England, or a Controle Technique in France, your marriage too can be assessed for "road worthiness" and adjustments made before faults become damaging to the vehicle, and dangerous for its passengers.

In my article Fifty Percent of Marriages Work -- How?, I set out the findings of my research on what makes marriages last.

The renewal of vows celebration is a blessing. It is an occasion of gratitude for all of the gifts you have received so far in your marriage. It offers you time to celebrate the uniqueness of your love. As you do so, the love you have for each other is amplified.

Life turning points, such as starting a family, relocation, new career departures, retirement, making a fresh start after a challenging time, all make demands on a marriage. These changes invite a re-evaluation of your partnership. You can too easily lose sight of the value and importance of your marriage as daily life seems to take over.

As you re-affirm the care you have for each other, and appreciate the value of your union, old issues become blessings. You may better accept your differences, and be more tolerant.

As a wedding celebrant on the French Riviera since 2006, I have officiated renewal of vows celebrations for couples at a turning point in their relationship. One New York couple had been considering dissolving their partnership. The husband called me to request the service and it all seemed quite simple and straightforward. Until I spoke to his wife, who was very unsure that their marriage had a future.

After a few exchanges of emails and discussions on the value of forgiveness, the ceremony went ahead and was a very touching and moving occasion. Their renewal of vows was a profound reconciliation for them, and their closest family members.

Renewing your vows can take place one, five, seven or 10 years after your marriage. In the later years, you may wish to celebrate your 25th (Silver), 30th (Pearl), 40th (Ruby), 50th (Gold), 55th (Emerald), 60th (Diamond), 65th (Blue Sapphire) and 70th (Platinum).

As you mature, personal values evolve. Maturity may come more with challenges met and overcome, than from years lived. The vows you made initially may need to be brought up to date with your priorities now.

One couple from California renew their vows every 10 years. They came to the South of France for their 30th, Pearl, anniversary with another couple, close friends who shared their simple yet heartfelt celebration. The florist wove pearls into her bouquet, and within the magnificent flower arrangements on the ceremony terrace high up overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Reflecting on your years together, you may recall moments of joy, laughter and fun. Old misunderstandings, miscommunications or disappointment can be relegated to the past and replaced by greater wisdom, humor and understanding.

The romance and passion you knew when you first met can be re-kindled. The spark of your early love can grow brighter and into a more profound experience that is truly lifelong and rewarding.

This special celebration is an opportunity to set a new intention and vision for the next phase of your lives together, with the vows that will support it. The renewal of vows is a true celebration that honors your passing the tests of time, and sets a new foundation for your future happiness.

Do you renew your vows periodically? How has this been of benefit to you? I would love to know. Please drop me a line at weddingceremonies@me.com or leave a comment in the space below.

For more information about renewal of vows ceremonies and other wedding services, click here.