According to Susan Squire, author of books on marriage and relationships, states the notion of marrying for love is still relatively new, even in the Western world. She says in ancient times, marriage was primarily a means to ensure reproduction. Later it was a method to control lust. In fact, it was not until the 16th century, she says, that the ideas of love and marriage began to go hand-in-hand.
Just as reasons for marriage changed over time, so did the wedding vow.
When you take vows in a legal wedding ceremony, they are legally binding. It's called a legally verbal agreement. All you really need is one for it to be binding...that is where the witnesses in smaller, civil ceremonies come into play.
The oldest traditional wedding vows can be traced back to the manuals of the medieval church. In England, there were manuals of the dioceses of Salisbury (Sarum) and York. The compilers of the first Book of Common Prayer, published in 1549 based its marriage service mainly on the Sarum manual. Upon agreement to marry, the Church of England usually offered couples a choice. The couple could promise each other to "love and cherish" or alternatively, the groom promises to "love, cherish and worship", while the bride promises to "love, cherish and obey." Most marriage vows today are variations of the Catholic wedding vows that the pope(s) and the Diocese started. This is very important to remember.
It seems to me that the whole concept of the traditional wedding vow is asking for religious demons to infest the marriage....Why is it that only women are asked to promise to obey their husbands? Why not make the vows so that BOTH parties vow to submit to ONE ANOTHER IN THE FEAR OF GOD?? Is it any wonder that over HALF the marriages end in divorce? Are we not surprised to see the "I do's" quickly become "I don't"?
As I am writing this article, I heard of a couple who had a wedding that was large, beautiful and expensive. The couple had been together for over 4 years prior to their marriage. 2 years after they began dating and 2 years prior to their marriage, they young middle 20's bride gave birth to their special needs child. From all external appearances, the couple had a great relationship.
The young groom-to-be, stated he loved his partner, their child and wanted to get married. He even planned an extremely romantic gesture to prepare for his proposal. As he bent down on one knee, the young bride-to-be never hesitated and said "I will". The bride and groom spent over a year preparing for their special day to pronounce to the world of their happiness and love. Both the bride and groom wrote their own heartfelt and meaningful vows 1 month prior to their day. It was a beautiful and romantic day for both of them and their many friends and family...at least everyone thought so.
Less than 4 months after their exchange of "I do", and less than a month before their special needs child was to undergo a major, life-threatening surgery, the young groom texted his beautiful bride that he had not been happy for over 2 years prior to their wedding, that he was not physically attracted to her because she had gained a little weight, that he had an affair on her and that he wanted a divorce.
It seems to me that people get married, then divorced rather quickly. It seems to me that once the going gets tough, someone "hits" the road. Why doesn't anybody seem to try anymore?
My grandparents were married for over 50 years. They had many rough patches, but they worked through life's struggles...they didn't run from them. They faced fears and tribulations together...they didn't leave each other. Is that even possible for young couples getting married today? However, just to make it clear, I am not anti-divorce. Abusive marriages are not acceptable for anyone. What I am questioning is why, when a couple starts to argue or when life becomes less than perfect, why is "I don't" seem to be someone's first option instead of at least trying to save their marriage.
I agree that couples should write their marriage vows so they can express what is on their heart. I agree that the words they say on their wedding day should be meaningful instead of using old historical words that promises each other something that is not heartfelt. In addition, I believe that any words spoken on a wedding day, should be words that you stand by, believe in and promise to commit to. If you don't mean the words....you should not say them.
Think about how rare it is for a relationship to work out, let alone last a life-time alongside the ‘I do’ phrase. It’s hard. A lot of people want it to be easy, because WHO really wants to think that they have to come up with new strategies and surprises to keep your partner uplifted for the rest of your life? It’s a whole lot easier to just have casual relationships – and often, more appealing, for most of us! We all just want it to be ‘EASY’ and romantic, and to think it will just last. Because (I know, I know)…..it’s really not sexy to think of your intimate relationship and the feeling of being in love as something that has to be worked on. We think being in love should just come ‘naturally’ like it does in the first 3-9 months, where all the feel-good emotions are circulating. How wrong!
Relationships are no exception to anything else you have to work hard at. To think that you are going to love without pain, is a lie. Love and passion will be painful, sometimes it will hurt like hell. But just in case you think I’m the bearer of bad news – I’m not. Because all the effort and commitment on the part of each spouse (man or woman) is truly worth it. That is only if you are truly in it for the long run.
Relationships magnify emotion. This is what drives us in to them, or out of them, and even to ‘never have a relationship again’. That’s why it is so rare for a marriage or relationship to work out. It’s a rare human being that can - and will - commit to a daily "I do". Too many of us focus entirely on what we are missing. What we should be focusing on is working on our spiritual and emotional fitness.
So, if you think that the vows spoken on your wedding day will be your ultimate key to security or happiness, you are mistaken. However, if you commit to the daily "I do" and stay away from the "I don't", then just maybe....your wedding day really was a dream come true.
To Your Success