Love, Honour and Obey

At T-minus six months until our wedding, my fiancé and I have most of the ground work laid out for the planning of our reception; more important to us than the ceremony because we’ve both, independently, always viewed our future marriage as greater than our future wedding. However, now that the impending wedding date is looming, we’ve started feeling the pressure to get the ceremony situated. It would seem the biggest decision we must make regarding the ceremony, aside from the decision to marry each other, concerns the vows.

More people today are writing and reading their own vows than ever. Reciprocally, more people today are breaking their vows than ever. One of the contributing problems could be that people are not taking there marriage vows as seriously today. Not only are they not respecting their vows as solemn when they are breaking them, perhaps they were missing the solemnity when they were making them, composing more of a devote poem to their beloved, than actually vowing to be or do anything in the marriage. On top of that, I’m led to wonder if many couples misinterpreted the vows of their spouse, believing your partner made a certain traditional vow that they feel they have not taken because they did not explicitly cite it during their custom written “vows.”

To avoid this sticky situation, as well as, the pressure for my vows to be sensational because I am a writer and the unrealistic expectations for my fiancé, who writes poetry like it’s a lab report, to be able to craft vows that could hold a candle to mine, we have both decided that we would prefer not to write our own vows. As if that decision wasn’t hard enough to make, now we have to agree on which set of traditional vows we want to take for each other. We aren’t any particular religion, so that doesn’t help narrow it down. It seems that our only helpful trait is that we are happy and eager to fill our classic gender roles. I, personally, have always idealized the traditional wedding vows seen time and time again in the movies, ever since I was a little girl dreaming of my future husband. The trouble is, if you compare the common vows of today with the customary vows of yesterday, you’ll notice something missing. What happened to “love, honour and obey”?

Ever since we threw down our sponges, stood up, got our birth control and demanded equal pay for equal work, women have become increasingly uncomfortable with vowing to obey their husbands. I want very much so to include this line in my wedding vows but I fear the possible backlash that could come from the members of the sisterhood who may misinterpret my decision. While they may define vowing to obey your husband as giving up your free will, doing what you are told and never questioning his dictatorial authority, I see it as more of a respecting his wishes, valuing his advice and helping him obtain his goals. When you think back to all the examples of truly, happily married couples you’ve ever known, you will see that all of the women were engaging in these three activities. Perhaps doing something as simple as respecting your husband’s wishes to be conservative with the family budget could save your relationship from joining the statistical masses that made financial stresses the number one cause for divorce this year. Taking his advice and accepting his opinion in a difficult time of your life can solidify your bond and prevent you from shutting down emotionally and communicatively, inflicting irreparable damage on your marriage. When you share similar goals just being together is made all the more effortless, and when that shared life-time goal is simply to be happy, as it is for my fiancé and I, how could you not want to do everything in your power to give him what he desires.

Whether you write you own vows or stick with tradition, the interpretation will vary depending on who you ask. When it comes down to it, all you can do is find vows that are clear, earnest and not just meaningful, but having the same meaning to both of you. If I were to choose to say love, honour and obey, with the modern, more general meaning in mind but my imminent husband took it as him having the right to be domineering over me, things would not be ending well for us. What’s most important is that on this day, you are committing your self to this person and committing to be a better person – for them. And hey, if you don’t feel satisfied after all is said and done, you can always renew your vows and try again.