I'm Single, 40 & Never Married: Here's Why I Wrote My Wedding Vows

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When the idea came into my head to write vows, I thought I was crazy. I am 40, single, I've never married, and my last relationship ended a year ago. And I've never been a girl who fantasizes about weddings, bridal parties, or planning the perfect reception. But, for whatever reason, I really wanted to do this. I sat with the idea for a few days, thinking perhaps I should call my therapist instead. But the voice inside wouldn't go away:

A few days later, I wrote my vows. Unlike my normal journaling, which I do in Evernote, I wrote these by hand, sitting by the ocean. My words came out with surprising ease. The writing process was cathartic and beautiful, and I felt oddly complete when I finished. Planning to type them up later that evening, I folded my vows, stuck them in my bag, and went on with my day. The folded paper stayed in my bag for days, untouched and unread. I was suddenly afraid to revisit my promise. And did I really want to digitize my heart? Calling my therapist, Lori, crossed my mind again. I refrained.

Love is crazy, beautiful, and abundant—if we allow it to be.

Later that week I was out to dinner with my aunt. We were talking about my new house, but my vows were sitting at the edge of my consciousness, and the internal dialogue was overwhelming.

We were mid-conversation when I abruptly paused. "Aunt Julie, I need to tell you something. You're going to think I'm crazy." [Deep breath.] "The other day, I wrote my vows—my wedding vows.” With that, the embarrassing secret was no longer a secret. I felt naked. Preparing myself for judgment, surprise, and concern, trying to minimize the embarrassment, as we do, I rambled on: "Not to my ex, exactly—there are pieces of him in there, and I do miss him—but that's not what it's about. It's about growing together, loving deeply, and vulnerability in relationship."

The next day, I read my vows for the first time since writing them. I typed them into an email, and sent them to my aunt and then my therapist Lori (in that email, I also asked to schedule an appointment). The support and affirmation in their replies humbled me. Both praised the exercise, and the depth, clarity, and candor of my writing. Who knew?

I still think the idea of a single woman writing her vows sounds crazy. It's something you'd see on The Bachelor (gag). But maybe it's not crazy. Putting what we want out into the world is the first step in manifestation—be it what we want in a partner, job, or something else. So, now I'm here. Sharing. This vulnerable part of me wants to be seen and heard and to let the world know love is crazy, beautiful, and abundant—if we allow it to be.

As I sit here and type these words, I am in awe of my courage and unsure of my motives. I have always wanted to be a writer but have never submitted my work. Moreover, I am an introvert, which means I favor anonymity, value my privacy, and dislike large groups. Knowing I am about to share this story, one of my most intimate pieces, is terrifying. Online content is eternal, and there's a legitimate chance this will will be read by hundreds (or thousands) of people. But I have never been so sure, nor wanted to be so bold and fearless. My mantra for this year is, "Show up different," so here goes. My vows, my heart on paper, are below. I hope something in here resonates with you.

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