Wed­ding vows carry weighty mean­ing

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Opinion - RE­LA­TION­SHIP STRATE­GISTS [email protected]­

Very few things are as im­por­tant as the mar­riage vows dur­ing the wed­ding.

Vows are the solemn words openly de­clared by the cou­ple to each other ex­press­ing both in­tent and prom­ise.

They ex­press how the cou­ple in­tend to re­late to each other, how they in­tend to nav­i­gate the path of life to­gether, and what mean­ing they in­tend to give to their mar­riage.

They are an oath to work hard at liv­ing out this in­tent, no mat­ter how chal­leng­ing.

But it is amaz­ing how easy it is to get caught up in all the finer de­tails like choos­ing the en­tourage and de­cid­ing on ev­ery­thing from decor to mu­sic.

And when it comes to the mar­riage vows, many are left won­der­ing whether to write their own, and if so what would they say? Or per­haps go the tra­di­tional route and stay with the tra­di­tional vows as led by the priest?

Even so, many re­cite the vows with­out ap­pre­ci­at­ing their mean­ing, and do so just be­cause the priest says, “re­peat these words af­ter me”.

Your vows are more than a col­lec­tion of words you say once and then for­get. They are the point at which your re­la­tion­ship be­comes a covenant “from this day for­ward”.

The ex­change of vows is the seal of a soul tie, a healthy one.

Those words that seem like a recita­tion are vows, com­mit­ments and agree­ments you en­ter into in or­der to pledge your ex­clu­sive al­le­giance to the per­son you are mar­ry­ing.

They are a moral, spir­i­tual and le­gal con­tract you speak into tan­gi­ble ex­is­tence.

The core of the tra­di­tional vows high­lights the fol­low­ing sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ments that ac­knowl­edge life as hav­ing both ups and downs:

For bet­ter or for worse Things do not al­ways turn out the way you had hoped or dreamt they would, and re­al­life tragedies can hap­pen.

How­ever, the com­mit­ment of “for bet­ter or worse” pledges a kind of love that goes so deep that you’ll ac­cept the out­comes of the covenant you are cut­ting on your wed­ding day, both good and bad, which­ever way life takes you as a cou­ple.

When you com­mit to love some­one for bet­ter or worse, you’re say­ing al­though you’re not sure whether the con­se­quences will be good or bad, you’ll ac­cept them.

For richer or for poorer

You may be fi­nan­cially sta- ble on your wed­ding day and look­ing for­ward to a pros­per­ous fu­ture to­gether. But your fi­nances and eco­nomic stand­ing could crum­ble with one bad de­ci­sion or even­tu­al­ity.

This vow es­sen­tially states that your re­la­tion­ship is about much more than money and pos­ses­sions, and no mat­ter what your bank bal­ance looks like, you will work to­gether to over­come the chal­lenges.

Be­ing mar­ried in or out of com­mu­nity of prop­erty should have no bear­ing on your love and trust for one an­other.

And while los­ing an in­come in mar­riage can be a real test for the re­la­tion­ship, your love and com­mit­ment to one an­other should not be de­ter­mined by your fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. This vow means that love and com­mit­ment have noth­ing to do with money or prop­erty.

Vow­ing to love some­one “for richer or for poorer”, like all other wed­ding vows, re­quires ab­so­lute so­bri­ety and a deep sense of what it ac­tu­ally means to truly love some­one. In sick­ness and in health Al­though you are prob­a­bly in the prime of your life when you take your mar­riage vows, sick­ness of some sort is fairly likely who­ever you may be.

Sick­ness might mean your boo is no longer able to pro­vide sup­port and com­pan­ion­ship, or able to be sex­u­ally in­ti­mate.

It might mean they can no longer pro­vide fi­nan­cially or help in the raising of chil­dren.

This vow is in­ten­tion­ally open-ended.

When you make this vow you’re ac­tu­ally say­ing even if your spouse was to be wheel­chair-bound and be un­able to do any­thing for them­selves im­me­di­ately af­ter the wed­ding, you’ll re­main lov­ing, re­spect­ful, com­mit­ted and ex­clu­sive to them un­til death do you part.

“In sick­ness and in health” brings re­as­sur­ance to your spouse that even if their body may fail, you will love them for who they are in­side.

’Til death do us part

This vow gives an in­di­ca­tion of the per­ma­nence, strength and en­durance of the mar­riage covenant. Through this vow, you’re com­mit­ting to each other that, ex­cept for the in­evitabil­ity of the grave, noth­ing and no one will come be­tween you.

You’re openly declar­ing that it is only phys­i­cal death that is pow­er­ful enough to an­nul your mar­riage – it is not ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences; ’til you fall out of love, ’til you’re bored or ’til your spouse no longer “makes” you happy.

You make a com­mit­ment to ded­i­cate your lives to never grow apart from one an­other.

You for­sake all oth­ers to pri­ori­tise your spouse – in­clud­ing your bi­o­log­i­cal fam­ily, friends, ca­reers and any­thing else that could come be­tween the two of you with a po­ten­tial to suf­fo­cate your mar­riage to death.

“’Til death do us part” can be a very long, frus­trat­ing and ar­du­ous time if you don’t in­vest in your mar­riage.

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