My wedding vows to you

Renewing my promises on our 10th anniversary

Originally written on November 17, 2006 in Piha, New Zealand

I’ve learned a new word while we’ve been traveling around New Zealand: tapu.

I was told that it’s a Maori word meaning something akin to the Unknown and that the Maori use it when referring to anything new or unexplored; they consider the tapu to be sacred. The tapu evoke a sense of the greater universe and its inner workings; special, unique and mysterious, these attributes should be cherished and conserved, loved and honored.

Marja, I don’t know what the next hundred years will hold — they are tapu. But since we will be together, I have no fear. Just like the curves of Coromandel, they will lead us to new sunrises, new rivers that let out to the ocean, new forests that open up into clearings.

“Though round the corner there may wait
A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day has come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

The unknown is beautiful, Marja, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

So: like the Maori entering the tapu caves at Waitomo centuries after they first discovered them — hesitating for all those generations solely because of their awareness of and appreciation for the universe — do I Jonathon Daniel Colman, take you, Marja Sofia Huhta, to be my wife and partner.

And where those intrepid Maori explorers delved deep underground and found the peaceful blue light emanated by thousands of glow worms and felt comforted and safe in their presence, here is what I hope you will find in our marriage, our next one hundred years together.

Photo © Claudia Gaitzsch

I have as many vows to you as there are glow worms at Waitomo, but following are just a few:


I vow to make the coffee. For as we both are addicted, never should we have to be without. The coffee that I have will always be yours, yea, even if I must leave the warmth of our bed to push the button, the button that boils the water, the water that infuses and saturates the grinds, those grinds that please the senses, the senses that are yours.


I promise to listen to you and learn from you. In a world — our world — that changes so quickly that every single day is tapu, there is much to discover and explore. And since it is very well known that my memory (much like my driving) is not, as we say, “good,” I will always trust and place my belief in you and nothing but you.

Let there be no false idols — nor one-lane bridges — in our marriage; I believe in your memory, Marja, and have faith that there’s two-way traffic ahead.


I will be your warm thing. In the cold, the rain, the hail of winter; the deep frost, slush, and sleet of year’s end; the chill and ice and snowfall of year’s start; there will never be cause for you to take leave of your balmy 98.6°.

My heat is your heat and all that I have is yours.


I will be your fount, your spring of hope and optimism. I will bring it to you in buckets, in bundles, in bouillon cubes and buttersticks; in birds and biplanes and floating bubbles; in both bits and bytes as well as fashionable shades of blue and brown. You will taste it at breakfast, whether you order bacon and eggs or a bagel; you shall see it in every furry creature, from badgers to billy goats, from polar bears to brown kiwis, to a boy sporting back hair and a bouffant; and you will feel it in every breath, in your bones, in the billions of cells that bring their bounty of energy throughout your beautiful body.

Living is loving, the future is tapu, the rest is legend, and we all face the limits of mortality. So if true love is bound only by death, then as X approaches Infinity, nothing will stop me from being your light, your lantern, your engine of hope. I know that we each owe one death, but where there’s life, let there always be hope.

And that’s how you’ll always be: be awake, be aware, be alive, be living, be laughing, be loving, beloved. Be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be, be… Be.


I vow to walk with you and I promise that our walks will always be sustained by coffee (see vow #1) and by warmth (see vow #3).


I vow to uphold the virtues inherent in ACTUAL REALITY! ACT UP! FIGHT AIDS!


(seventh vow stretch)

When encountering unknowns, the infinite tapu, the Numinous, I vow not to go tharn, but to hold your hand, to squeeze it, and to let you know that I sense the strangeness, too.

I will be faithful and honest, I will honor and support you, I will guide you and be guided, celebrate you and be celebrated, cherish you and be cherished.

I will try new things for you, make mistakes, and try them again for you.

I will not walk anywhere you can’t follow. I will stay with you and sleep with you and wake up with you.

Photo © Claudia Gaitzsch

Marja, I will love you. I have always loved you.

You are good, you are good to love, and I promise to be good to love, too.