Wedding Vows: What is the Point Anymore?

Are the vows really necessary when it comes to saying Are the vows really necessary when it comes to saying

Posted by Ginny Humber for

I have friends who have always wanted to get married, psycho-briding their way through every tiny detail, but they don't seem to spend a second thinking about being married. Several months post-nuptial, they're on their way to becoming a twenty-something divorcee. I am convinced that in the fog of new love, they are unable to consider the implications of the words they repeat during the ceremony.

Related: Saying What You Mean & Why It's Important

I'm a realist, and if the gods of western marriage asked me to rewrite the traditional wedding vows to force the happy couple to actually think about what they are saying, they would probably come out something like this:

For richer or poorer:

If you lose all our money in a pyramid scheme, I will fix up my parents' basement, move us in, and I will still love you.

If you are being chased by gangsters because you can't pay your gambling debts, I will study kung fu to help protect you, and I will still love you.

If you get arrested for laundering the money from your meth empire, I will bring you a shank (whatever that is) in jail to keep yourself safe, and I will still love you.

In sickness and in health:

If you contract some strange virus that makes all your arms and legs fall off, I will learn to give you a sponge bath, and I will still love you.

If you become morbidly obese because of your obsession with chicken wings, I will force you onto a 60-day juice fast, and I will still love you.

If you find out you have cancer and all your hair falls out, I will tell you that you look like Bruce Willis, and I will still love you.

For better or for worse (the old catch-all):

If you sleep with your boss in a "momentary indiscretion", I will want to break both your necks, but I will work on forgiveness, and I will still love you.

If you become a raging alcoholic and start beating me three times a day, I will beat you back, and I will still love you.

If we drift apart and become two different people, we will just find a way to grow back together, and I will still love you.

Till death do us part:

You get no reprieve from my love until the moment you kick the proverbial bucket. And even then, I will probably still keep on loving you.

Related: Whatever You Believe Will Be True For You

The majority of these examples, of course, are extreme, and most marriages fall apart for much more mundane reasons. In modern wedding ceremonies, I feel like the priest should tack on "until you change your mind" to the vows. Why even say vows at all if, six months later, you'll be serving your new spouse with a manila envelope full of divorce papers?

Newlyweds need to remove themselves from the Disney fairytale and realize that even the world's best and longest marriages have their crappy bits. Marry someone with whom you can work through those bits. And every day, choose to continue loving them, especially when it's hard to even like them.

If and when I decide to get married, I want to be absolutely sure that the person I choose is someone who shares my philosophy of marriage. Hey, I think I just wrote my wedding vows.

What do you think of the traditional wedding vows?

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