Back in June, on my lady’s fortieth birthday, I proposed as the sun rose on a Miami beach. We’re now busy saving for our honeymoon in Hawaii, so our wedding is a few years away yet. But yesterday I read a blog by the wife of Neil Gaiman, and she mentioned she’d long ago forgotten their wedding vows.

It got me thinking about what I want to say on the day. We’re both authors and play with words daily. They’re important to us; they’re what brought us together; and we both have symbols of those words in tattoo and jewellery form. The vows I want to write have to be something unique and special. They have to describe the pure light and joy I feel when I’m with her. They have to tell her how I’ll never let go; that I cherish each waking second I spend with her; and how I’m finally at peace with my own sense of self because of her. These are words are I say daily. And on days of gentle surrender, when the tar of her depression deigns to recede just enough, she hears me.

I’m lucky enough not to suffer from depression, and I cannot begin to fathom the depth of the pits of despair into which it drags its victims. But I do know that words help. They may be the same words, the same phrasing, repeated over and over, but their value is infinite. Because eventually, and occasionally, they’re heard.

I haven’t written my vows yet, but when I do, I’ll write ones I hope she hears, feels, and remembers forever.