The Idea of Marriage
Marriage is the union of two people joined together in love. When one thinks of marriage, their mind visions a wedding with family and friends as witnesses. The joy of dressing up and walking down the aisle sends shivers to some. Standing before the officiant and staring into one another’s eyes is the moment captured in memory’s closet. Then, there are the marriage vows. Words said that many don’t adhere.
How important is marriage vows? Do they matter?
Vows are important because they define what the couple vows to do in the marriage. They’re the cornerstone of the union. Understanding the vows before you say them is vital to a healthy relationship.
If you’re saying traditional vows, do you vow to obey and to stay together for better or for worse? Many don’t realize the power of those words. Can a person stay with a person who abuses them or ridicules them? Some can and most don’t.
Mary grew up in the south during the 1950s. Her life was deeply rooted in religion and southern tradition. She witnessed a childhood of hard work and married parents. Getting an education and becoming a wife was a natural path for her to follow.
She entered college in August 1967. Mary pursued her dream of becoming a teacher. Then, she met Paul.
Paul had served four years in the army. He enrolled in college to take advantage of the GI Bill and had an undecided major.
His hazel eyes and chiseled physique caught Mary’s attention. However, it didn’t stop her education. She dated Paul and married him in her senior year. One year later they welcomed a son.
Despite saying the vows, Paul didn’t adhere to them. His womanizing and abuse plagued Mary’s life. He’d demean her and apologize. Then, he’d strike her and buy her a gift. And, Mary stayed.
Mary believed in her vows. She dared not break them. Nothing Paul did to her changed her mind. Fifty years and four children later, Mary remained Paul’s wife. She spent her days complaining about his despicable treatment and kept her faith in God.
Beth grew up in the 1980s. Her strong will and ambitions fueled her success. She wasn’t one who was easily swayed. However, Charles changed her mind. He entered her life and won over her heart.
They moved in together and played husband and wife. Naturally, Beth thought their great relationship would translate into a great marriage. She convinced Charles it was the right thing to do. He agreed; they became husband and wife.
Shortly after their wedding, Charles changed. He hung out late with the guys and ignored Beth. When she received hang-up calls, she grew suspicious. Beth felt she needed to find out what was going on with Charles.
She followed him after work to a house. A woman greeted him at the door with a baby. Beth inhaled then exhaled when he kissed the woman and picked up the child. She shook her head and wrote down the address and license plate number of the car in the driveway.
Beth gave the information to a friend, who passed it on to a private detective. She found out the baby was Charles. He’d had a relationship with the woman for two years. This devastated Beth.
Before they were married, Charles told her he was okay with her not wanting children. Now, it seemed he didn’t mind being a father. Unfortunately, he didn’t communicate this to her.
Beth packed her bags and moved out their home. She left him divorce papers on the kitchen table. A year later she received the divorce decree.
“I Do or I Don’t”
Saying I do comes with consequences. Understanding these consequences makes you better prepared. When you know what you will or won’t deal with, you define your values and your life. Despite this, things happen and people change. We all take chances and hope for the best. It’s a part of life.
Whether you craft your marriage vows or use the traditional ones, take a moment to understand the words before you say them at a ceremony. It could save you a lot of time and heartbreak.