Have you ever listened to the wedding vows?
You may have said these words, but do you know what you were saying?
This is a typical wedding vow.
“I _____, take you ______,
To be my wedded wife/husband.
To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness or in health,
To love and to cherish
'Till death do us part?
And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.”
Ever try to break them down? What are you really saying?
To “have and to hold”? What does that mean? I think it has something to do with wedding night. I may be a reference to prom night but I don’t know.
For “better or for worse”? How bad can it get, we say at the special occasion not even thinking it could be bad. But we “vow” to stick with it no matter what.
How about “for richer or for poorer”? Really? Wait till the bills start piling up and see if there isn’t a nightly battle. If only one works and brings in the revenue but both want their usual “necessities” there will be struggles. Maybe that is why it is in the vow?
In “sickness and in health” comes to mind when we both had the flu. When we both are down and out and in such agony without enough energy to clean up after the other the idea of this vow is the distant thought of our minds. And it does take a special something to nurse your significant other for years.
Of course there is all that gooey stuff about “to love and to cherish”. You want to insure a kiss at the end of this speech.
Then it gets weird. “Till Death Do Us Part”? This one line promises that the wedding will guarantee the two will stay together forever or until one of the two will die. The normal tradition and history has the man going first, usually due to being the oldest and because he doesn’t take care of himself while trying to be the provider and protector. This is the culture that has been taught or at least accepted in my culture but it doesn’t always happen that way.
Then we get to the “faithfulness” vow. But before I do, lets take another look at some variations of vows.
“I pledge to you my life as an obedient, faithful and loving wife.”
Some of the older or more religious vows said the wife would be “obedient”. What is up with that? That is real old school but even if the words aren’t said today, is the thought still there?
“Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future I promise to be faithful to you. I will love, serve, and obey you as long as we both are alive.”
With the “uncertainties of the future” is a good phrase. Who really knows what is going to happen? My problem is the “I promise to be faithful to you.” Who can promise that? The “serve and obey” sounds like a restaurant or a dog.
Then there it is again. “As long as we both are alive.” So all bets are off when one dies?