promises kept

I could never have imagined the power behind the vows I was uttering.

I could never have fathomed that each line would come to fruition in fewer than six years.

For better…

we were three people who were once two, alone in a hospital room.  a family.

me drowsing–belly sore, limbs bloated, womb empty.

Cort resting–eyes closed, feet up on the little couch, head back, a small bundle on his chest.

Eddie sleeping–warm and dry, breathing in the world.

…or for worse…

All eyes on us–the poor children–as we lead the procession into the sanctuary.

We sat alone in the second row–behind only the widow, the preacher, and the eulogists.

Cort, me, Cody, Liz, Kenzie…and mom squeezed in from back in her row up to be next to her daughter to hold her hand and catch her tears. to be there for her kids.

The rest?  Is a blur.

…for richer…

we have each other.

we have a sweet boy.

we have a house.

we have two vehicles.

we have love.

…or for poorer…

We thought it would be me losing my job.

Every year the cuts got closer.

So close I actually saw MY name on a cut list while Eddie kicked happily and obliviously inside.

But it never happened.

I continued to work.

But he did not.

…in sickness…

Cort has a three scars–none even an inch long.

He doesn’t have an appendix.  It left him the same day his dad left this world.

I have one visible scar–probably around close to seven inches long.

It was the best way to become a mother and still stay in this world.

Cort has scars you can’t see.

Battle wounds from a verbally abusive, mentally sick wife.

I have invisible scars too.

Etched on my heart from mastering the art of losing.

…and in health.

Cort lounges sleepily on the couch only slightly aware that a curly-haired toddler is barreling toward him.

Eddie throws himself at the couch and climbs clumsily and awkwardly grabbing at Cort.

Once on the couch he steamrolls his daddy and monsters his way into position next to him.

Not to be left out, I pounce across the room and join the snuggly, giggly pile.

I do.

When Cort leaned in to kiss me for the first time as his wife?  We didn’t feel what happened…but we would soon find out.

Our whole world shifted.

I was syndicated on

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. WOW. Just wow! I finished reading with goosebumps. Excellent. <3

  2. GOOSEBUMPS. Amazing. Simply amazing.

  3. Amazing! In tears. Thank you, Katie.

  4. It’s amazing how true those vows end up being. And how differently the truth manifests itself.

    This is beautiful, Katie. Wonderful.

  5. Oh my. So freaking good. I’m…God I don’t even have anything worthwhile to say. Keep doing this.

  6. Nicely done! Clever writing.

  7. That was beautiful.

  8. Beautiful! Great job. I love how you alternated the vows with the details.

  9. Gorgeous. That’s all I can say.

  10. Wow. I really love this. Makes me wish I did the prompt this week. But I would never have been able to do it justice like you did.

  11. Oh. That. Was. Magnificent.
    Your writing is amazing.

  12. Simply beautiful. I admire your strength and courage.

  13. This was very real and powerful. Excellent writing. I like your style…

  14. Love. You.

  15. Oh wow, Katie. That was incredible. Thanks for sharing. It was beautiful. Perfectly done.

  16. You have rendered me speechless with this post, Katie.
    I am sitting here, just trying to find words to tell you how beautifully crafted this piece is and how your honesty, love, and vulnerability leap from the screen.

    I am in awe of your amazing writing here and of your appreciation for what you have instead of what you don’t.
    Much love to you, my strong and amazing friend.

  17. Tears. Just Tears.

  18. so much honesty and such beautiful writing 🙂

  19. I love this. You captured the ups and downs and sideways-ness of marriage better than I’ve seen it done elsewhere. Well done, my dear.

  20. This is absolutely beautiful, Katie.

  21. Beautiful. You brought tears to my eyes.

  22. So beautiful. There’s one line in here that really jumped out at me and it’s prompted me to maybe think about writing the one story I’ve been holding back.

  23. Wow. That’s all I’ve got. Just Wow.

  24. Wow, excellent post! I think you’re right that we sometimes don’t realize the depth of our vows and how each moment in our lives can be defined by those words we spoke. It’s easy to say them but more difficult to live them. You did a beautiful job of demonstrating both the positive and negative parts of “and two become one”.

  25. Katie, I love what you did with the prompt…it’s perfect!

  26. This blew me away….blew

  27. Oh my goodness – BRILLIANCE. Seriously.

    I am so grateful they’ve started having a memoir prompt, because this post is that fantastic.

  28. You had me in tears! That is all so beautifully true.

  29. This just goes to show you what great writing is! A small passage with words so powerful it moved me.

  30. This is such a beautiful post! Marriage certainly is a lifetime of ups and downs, but that’s what makes it so perfect.

  31. Incredible, dear lovely you.

    Just incredible.


  32. This is awesome!!
    The interweaving of the wedding vows to paint a picture of this family is nothing short of brilliant!

  33. Those vows don’t really seem real when you say them do they? I mean – how could there be worse? Surely love makes you immune, no?

    This is gorgeous Katie. You always make me think about my marriage differently.

  34. This felt like a poem. Really well done. This makes me want to throw myself on the pile.

    Stopping by from trdc.

  35. You’re an amazing writer and I love coming back to see what you’re going to write next.

    This was beautifully written with the vows intermingled throughout the story of your lives together.

  36. This is my first go around with TRDC. I liked the imagery you painted here. It is easy to see and feel the things you describe.

  37. Very nicely done. It would have been easy to confuse the reader with the use of the vows intertwined with story but you dind’t do that. As folks have said, it is a powerful piece. Well done.

  38. Simply beautiful. I love the writing style. It’s absolutely brilliant! 🙂

  39. Wonderful post! I think it’s a good thing sometimes that we can’t peek into the future. Stopping by from TRDC.

  40. Poignant, breathtaking, moving.

    And Nichole said it best—about concentrating on what you have instead of what you don’t.

    Simply beautiful piece of writing.

  41. Reading your post made me think about how many weddings I’ve sat through, hearing those same vows repeated. It’s when you live it and test it that those words really hold the most meaning.

    Wonderful writing, and a beautiful piece.

  42. Such a beautiful post – a hint into so many parts of your life – a facet into what makes you who you are.

  43. This was beautiful. Honestly.

  44. I finished this post and just sighed. It was beautiful. I think back to our wedding day and wonder at how much has changed in the meantime. It’s amazing how those vows are tested through the years.

    As always, beautiful post.

  45. WOW! Amazing and beautiful post!

  46. This is amazing in its simplicity. What an interesting way to look at the vows and how they end up being played out in daily life.

  47. Absolutely fabulous! I love this! So, so good!

  48. You? Are amazing. I want to be you when I grow up. This is absolutely beautiful. I love the alternating between the vows and the description.

    Also? Is one of Cort’s scars under his belly button? I had that one under my belly button and we all called it a tear drop. (Totally random, I know)

  49. This was so…perfect. I loved your personal reflection on each line of the vows and your ability to accept the good with the bad. Lovely.

  50. I wonder if we knew, really knew what those vows would entail individually if anyone would ever get married? O thought this piece was so rich with emotional texture.

  51. Beautiful and beautiful.
    The giggly pile at the end? So worth it.

  52. So poignant and real. Beautiful post.

  53. Beautiful, Katie. Just beautiful. You let your vulnerability shine through. And shine it did.

  54. This is so truly beautiful. It really does justice to the meaning of the words of those vows. It paints the picture of your life together as a family and what life is- a mixture of things both good and bad, things that cause pain and things that heal. Loved it.

  55. I don’t know if this will make sense, but what I love most about this post (and it’s so beautiful, I love a lot about it):

    I didn’t realize it was the “I could never have believed/ and then the world shifted” prompt until the end.

    A lot of times, when writers address a prompt, it feels forced. It’s an inspiration, but obvious. Not in a bad way. Just in a way that announces itself as “prompted.”

    But yours? So authentic. Haunting. Rich. Subtle.

    I just loved it. Thanks for sharing…

  56. Piling on…just a lovely testimony to the power of those vows, and all that they mean, in ways we could never expect. Awesome.


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