The Vow: A real love story of faith

How seriously do you take the vow, "till death do us part?"

If you look at the statistics - half of all first-time marriages end in divorce - it seems not too many people say "I do" forever.

The Vow, a movie based on Kim and Krickitt Carpenter's story, debuted in theaters in 2012 and was the top movie of the opening weekend, making $41.7 million. However, the romantic movie is not even close to telling the true story of faith and commitment that has kept the Carpenters devoted to each other for 20 years.

Their saga began 10 weeks after their wedding on Sept. 18, 1993. They were in a serious automobile accident that left Krickitt with no memories of her husband or their new marriage. She suffered a severe brain trauma that wiped out 18 months of her life - the entire time she and Kim met, dated and married.

While he was still madly in love with her, he was a stranger she wanted nothing to do with.

The glue that kept them together was their faith in Christ and the promise they had made before God.

The Carpenters attend First United Methodist Church in Farmington, N.M. "Both of us know unconditionally we would not have made it through this ordeal without the Lord being in the center of it all," Kim Carpenter told United Methodist News Service.

Krickitt spent months in a coma and then months more in physical therapy, but she has never regained those 18 months of memory. Her recovery was slow, her personality changed and at times she told Kim she hated him.

Krickitt and Kim Carpenter's first wedding was Sept. 18, 1993.
Krickitt and Kim Carpenter's first wedding was Sept. 18, 1993.

"At a low point in my life, I didn't think this marriage was going to work. I didn't have the faith that we were going to make it," Kim said. "At the same time, I wasn't going to leave her in the state she was in; I was vowing to stay with her."

Story gets out
The media first learned of their story when a reporter came to interview Kim about his work as a baseball coach. In the course of the conversation, the story came out.

When the Carpenters renewed their vows and had a second wedding in 1996, it was a media circus. People were amazed and encouraged by their story, so Krickitt asked God to use their story to show others his amazing love and power.

They wrote a book about their story in 2000 and updated the book to coincide with the opening of the movie on Feb. 10.

"We enjoyed the movie but we were a little frustrated by the artistic license they took," Kim said. "The dramatization in the movie was much greater, but it is hard to put 20 years of challenges into 103 minutes."

Enduring faith
Krickitt's faith never faltered, and she never considered divorce.

"A Scripture I really hold onto is Philippians 4:13: 'I can do all things through him who strengthens me.' I believed I was called according to God's purpose, and I followed with my whole heart," she said.

Kim said he has taken offense to some of the media reporting him as "heroic, courageous, manly."

They insist they are an ordinary couple with two children, Danny and LeeAnn.

"It is amazing we live in a world that there is such a big deal made about a man and woman who simply did what we said we were going to do," Kim said.

The book and the movie are providing a platform for them to talk about their faith.

"People all over the world are seeking something higher, some message," Kim said. "We have been very grateful for the prayers and well wishes we have received. We know the Lord is not going to give us more than we can handle."

This feature was originally published February 12, 2012. "The Vow" is still available for purchase or rent on Amazon Video and on other platforms.

*Gilbert is a multimedia reporter at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn. News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or [email protected].


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Mission and Ministry
Tim Tanton (center, in red), chief news and information officer for United Methodist Communications, shares updates with African communicators and other UMCom staff during the 2019 General Conference. World Press Freedom Day, observed May 3, commemorates journalists and highlights the difficulties they face while reporting truth. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UM News

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day

Tim Tanton with United Methodist News talks about giving voice to the voiceless and why freedom of information is essential not only for society but for the church.
Evangelism
The Rev. Tom Berlin (left) presents a copy of his book, “Courage,” to Massachusetts National Guard Chaplain Chad McCabe in the chapel at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. McCabe, whose unit was assigned to help provide security at the U.S. Capitol after the January riot, contacted Wesley Seminary asking for Bibles, novels and board games for troops stationed there. Photo by Lisa Helfert for Wesley Theological Seminary. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Church responds to chaplain's call to help soldiers

A National Guard chaplain got Bibles, games and 150 copies of a new book about courage when he turned to Wesley Theological Seminary for help keeping soldiers occupied in Washington in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection.
Violence
The Rev. William B. Lawrence.  Photo by H. Jackson/Southern Methodist University.

What would Jesus tell the US Capitol rioters?

The Rev. William B. Lawrence examines the claims of Scriptural authority by violent protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol.