By: K. Denise Richardson
We are all familiar with the traditional wedding vows spoken before everyone and God right before a couple is blessed as Husband and Wife. But are vows like commandments – are they a list of moral imperatives ? Do vows have a ranking system of importance – love and comfort vs cheating ? If your spouse breaks a vow is it ok for you to do the same – cause and effect?
Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between them. It is the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life. It is a commitment that requires and deserves daily attention. Marriage should be a life long consecration of the ideal of loving kindness – backed with the will to make it last.
I raise these questions because in recent culture, it seems that while everyone is getting married or having babies, everyone else is getting cheated on and divorced. It’s really leaving me with the emptiness of “What do I have to look forward to?” If men can’t stay faithful to their girlfriends, what makes them think they can turn off the switch just because they wife her up? It’s getting appalling, honestly. How serious are vows in this day and age? Anything I tell God I’m going to do, I do it. Maybe that’s just how I was raised. I believe that vows are like commandments. Just like we have these guidelines to live a moral and just life, vows are the commandments of marriage. No?
Every time I hear about someone getting married, the scene from Notorious plays in my mind when he hesitates before he vows to Faith that he give up sex with other women. She tells him “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” When a couple stands before God and says they will “love, comfort, honor and obey, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon [their] heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto [your betrothed] as long as you both shall live?” they’re not just lying to themselves or their spouse, they just flat out lied to God. In his face. In front of other people. How disrespectful!?
Once you have made this commitment, giving verbal confirmation as obeying these set guidelines, do any of them mean more than the other? If you’re not loved or comforted do you automatically go to a place of divorce or is that just when your spouse chooses to engage in infidelity? It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around staying in a marriage of where my husband has decided to dilly dally, as it should be for any person. You deserve to receive the best of the person you are marrying and you shouldn’t expect to have to share that with anyone else. However, if your husband breaks a vow is it ok for you to break another vow and divorce him? You vowed that you would be all in, regardless, until you both perish. Would you divorce your wife if she didn’t obey you anymore? I can’t lie, thinking about all this stuff overwhelms me. But at least I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking about what this means, what marriage means, and what I’m actually signing up. I’m reading the fine print so that when I’m ready to sign the lifetime contract I know every side guideline and parameter. A wife is not just a girlfriend with a ring who can take your money if you don’t sign a pre-nup.
A lot of people have never seen an example of a functional and healthy marriage to even begin to emulate. How can draw a bluejay if you’ve never seen one? I could describe it for you all day long: Beak, feathers, little feet, tiny mohawk. But your picture would never come close to the real thing. I seriously think our generation needs to seek out real life examples of healthy marriages before we dive into something we know NOTHING about. It may even do some couples good to revise their vows. If you know you’re going to cheat, DON’T GET MARRIED. Like how simple is that?! On the other hand if your wife is fine with you not abiding by that vow, then throw it out of the vows. Don’t sit in the church and lie to us. We don’t care. Your marriage has to be blessed in God’s eyes. Not ours.
I end this with questions to my readers. What are your thoughts on marriage? Who shouldn’t do it? Do vows have a ranking system of importance? If your spouse breaks a vow is it ok for you to do the same?
I’m trying to do this right ….the first time. No need for do-overs.