Why we won’t be renewing our Wedding Vows

Wedding Photo

Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster have renewed their wedding vows  in  a small private ceremony in England and they intend to do so again in a grand ceremony next year in Italy. The 45 year old model said that she and her 71 year knight had the ceremony so that their new house could be ‘blessed’.  They have been married ten years.


Today I am celebrating with Annabel our ‘pearl’ wedding.  30 years ago we were married in the Free North church, Inverness buy Rev Donald Lamont and Rev John AM Mackay.  I remember the day well!  It bucketed down rain – and it didn’t matter a jot.  We knew then, what we know much better now, that the wedding was not the end, but only the beginning.

And after 30 years we won’t be renewing our vows.  Why?  Would it not be a nice thing to do?  Would it not indicate our commitment to one another?  Would it not be a good witness to do so in the eyes of the world and of God?  Not at all.  I won’t be renewing my vows because I meant them when I said them on the 15th of August 1986, and I mean them now. Of course our marriage is not perfect, of course not everything in our life has been smooth running.  But our marriage is constantly being renewed, because, by the grace of God we are being renewed.  Although outwardly we are fading away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day!

We have seen many things – personal losses, death, sickness, joy,  such beauty and such ugliness in this fallen world.   So much pain and suffering.  And so many blessings!  Andrew, Becky and Emma Jane…and Caireen and Pete being added to our family – and of course our first grandchild, Isla, ….you shall your children’s children see, and peace on Israel!


Although I don’t believe in the somewhat ridiculous (and certainly unbiblical!) notion of both partners in a marriage being ministers/pastors- Annabel and I have shared ministry together, for the first six years in Brora, and the past 24 in St Peters, Dundee.  Again like marriage, it has not all been plain sailing, but like marriage we have known the blessing of the Lord, far more than we deserve and beyond our expectations.   Hospitality, preaching, evangelism, visitation have been the basis as we seek to serve the Lord and his people.   We are sinful and imperfect people, but we are ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, sinful and imperfect people.  Our family is not the Waltons, Little House on the Prairie or Pride and Prejudice, but it is a marriage made in heaven and lived on earth.  From my point of view I could not have been sent a better helpmeet!

So there will be no renewal of vows.  We will carry on for the next 30 years (if the Lord spares us!) as we have for the past. The testimony is to Gods goodness and mercy.  He has kept us together and he will keep us together until the time comes for an eternal joy, peace and rest, which even the best of this life can only be a foretaste of.  Meanwhile I just pray that I and my wife/mother of our children/granny/diaconal assistant/senior social worker, cook extraordinaire/knitter/lover and best friend, will find the latter years even more fruitful than the former!

Footnote: In response to this some people have asked is it wrong to renew vows?  I am not making laws for other people and I can see circumstances where it might be a good thing – for example if someone didn’t mean them, or had committed adultery and wanted to renew.  I was just saying that for me, I meant them.  I got married until death us do part – not for a ten year period, renewable on demand!   I am thankful that by Gods grace we have kept those vows and by his grace we will – until death do us part!


  1. Congratulations to you both we have just celebrated our silver wedding recently.We renewed our wedding vows as we felt as though we had gone through our wedding pleasing everyone and after all life had thrown at us we were now adult,Christian and understood much more the depth of our vows before the Lord.We had it done privately with our children as witnesses and it reaffirmed the depth of our devotion to each other and to the Lord,which is not necessary I agree for some but for us it was important that our children knew after what they suffered we were indicating to them the strength and values we uphold.

  2. Amen, Amen, and a thousand Amens! After 46 years (come Sept 4th) my wife is more precious to me, now, than she was on our wedding day. I, also, can thank Father God for the gift of a wife who has been a living example of Proverbs 31:10ff. I am not worthy of her love, but I thank God for it. Be blessed, brother David. I trust that each of us will be granted many more years with our respective wives. 🙂

  3. Yeah it does strike me a bit odd the renewing wedding vows business. After all if a groom has said he loves his brinde on their wedding day and nothing has changed, why the need for him to tell her he loves her again? 😉

  4. David – you’re just a great big romantic! Many congratulations to both of you! Anne and I celebrated our 45th on 7 August. Every blessing. Alistair

  5. If only all couples took this approach to marriage, the world would be a much better place. Thanks again for your wonderful and inspirational words. Eddie

  6. Congatulations, belatedly.

    37 years this week for us. My wife has, in times of great adversity, demonstated the grace of God in His everlasting covenant through the cross of Christ. Before a life saving operation, she was there, when I had nothing to give in return, wordless: faithful and enduring. Why, was she there when I had nothing to give, was empty? I could barely take it in. She has honoured me by sharing her life with me through thick and thin, with a Godly covenantal marriage stickability, reflecting a oneness of flesh, and the oneness of Christ and His bride. How I enjoy her presence, as Christ enjoys ours, and we His.

    An old Crosby Stills and Nash song contains these words:
    “We are one person,
    We are two alone,
    We are three together,
    We are For each other.”

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