I Just Have To Ask This...

Is there really a "for better or for worse" component to the wedding vow?

"I, take you, to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."

Or does the part about "to love and to cherish" - when it is not observed in our (the refused's) eyes allow for disregard of other parts?

Does one part of the vow trump another?
Is one part less/more important than another?

And this:
"Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love."
--Saint Francis of Assisi

Doesn't it sound like it differs from the following?
"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
--Pope St. Gregory the Great

I'd like to hear your opinions.
Fool4Waiting Fool4Waiting
56-60, F
9 Responses Aug 19, 2012

Now, about those vows: The vows describe a dynamic equilibrium. It takes all of those verbs to maintain a relationship. At different points of the marriage, different verbs will be at the forefront. But if any one of the verbs is missing from either party to the vows, the whole thing falls apart.<br />
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You can also think about the vows as being multiplicative, rather than additive. If any one of the factors is a zero, then the equation equals one big zero.

The two quotes you cite refer to one's inner approach only. Nowhere do they refer to how that approach will cause others to react to you, although they may imply it. Quote #1: Just because one loves, rather than seeking love, does not mean you can compel love from a specific person. Now, love may indeed find you, but it may not come from the source you expected. So just because you love a person does not mean it will coerce that person into returning your love. Quote #2: Love can achieve great things. Like keeping you working on a marriage that is wholly unsatisfactory. When you no longer feel compelled to act, it is strongly indicative that the love which motivated you has evaporated. After all, why would you stop what you were doing (out of love) unless the inner sense of love had flown? But nothing in this quote says that your loving acts will be reciprocated. <br />
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Again, these quotes are about how an individual approaches life. It says nothing about how specific people in your life will respond in turn. These approaches do not guarantee the coercion of a sincere feeling of love from another specific person. If it were possible, the ILIASM board would be empty.

My opinions:<br />
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a) most major religions allow for divorce, for reasons including unreasonable behavior, abuse etc. The SM comes into that category.<br />
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b) all major religions allow separation from spouse in above circumstances, or for irreconcilable differences - certainly an SM would be one of them. You do not have to live with a person you love.<br />
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c) all main religions acknowledge that a person in a marriage (and bound by the vows) will legitimately want and get sex. And specifically, the other way round, agreement to celibacy is by specific vows of chastity etc for those entering a monastic/spiritual - why else would you make them?!<br />
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d) If you find yourself bound in a situation which you would not, upfront, have agreed to in a million years, that's unfair contract terms. I would never ever have agreed to the kind of deal W used to think was acceptable. And I do not think I would have been morally or reputationally bound to such an unreasonable and harmful condition.<br />
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e) Regardless of intellectualising, our emotions take over, you get desperate, have no choice. I don't mean sexually desperate, that's the easy bit. But we are people, humans, flesh & blood, imperfect. And to deny the ability to love someone fully is reprehensible and unacceptable, cannot be allowed to stand.

I also reflect on my vows with a great deal of guilt; feeling guilty and foolish at the same time is a pretty awful cocktail.

This thing is so tricky.

One time a minister and I were talking about the bible and how, as you learn more about other religions and have life experiences, your view of the text changes. He said, "It has many levels - it can be as shallow as you need it to be or so deep that you feel like you never reach bottom."<br />
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I feel the same way about the vows. Viewed just superficially - you are promising to stay no matter what....but when you scratch the surface...you realize that the vows are written to support each other.<br />
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For example, most people (not all but most), if they felt loved and cherished wouldn't want anybody else. They wouldn't risk losing what they have for the random temptation.<br />
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Once you go through sickness and health...the good and the bad...you are bonded in a deeper, more meaningful way when you can "hold on" to the love. <br />
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And as another friend once pointed out to me...there are many definitions of death. It can mean the physical passing (which is support by sc<x>ripture and good old apostle Paul) or perhaps it means the death of the love that brought you to that place.<br />
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When i first realized that my divorce was a forgone conclusion...my thought process was that i would never make another vow i couldn't keep. If you can't make it with the one that you had kids with..that you grew up with...that knew you better than anyone..what were the chances that the next vow would have the weight and meaning that they are meant to have??<br />
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Two years later - what i believe today - is that when we say the words we need to mean them. We need to talk about what we are promising and what that looks like - and we owe it to ourselves and our integrity to do what it takes to keep those vows. We should make them to someone of similar ilk.<br />
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I've made some promises and vows to HGBF in the wonderful silence and serenity of our bed..or in the kitchen...and I hold them close to my heart.<br />
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I'm more married now that I have been in a decade and my filing status is single. Go figure.

I'm still working on the whole "love your neighbor as yourself". I figure when i get that right...i can move on.

When the act of loving and the act of cherishing expires, so does it signal the death of the marriage. At such time of death, parting is a very good idea.

For better or worse does not mean whether your spouse treats you like rainbows or sh*t. It means you work together through the ups and downs of life, and hold tight to your love through hard times and good times. <br />
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It does not mean "I can do whatever I want to you, and you have no right to complain or leave because YOU said forever and for better or worse"

Wedding vows are specific to your social community, your faith community, and even to the couple themselves. EX and I made up all our vows. <br />
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I wager that each person takes whichever part of the vow they want into the marriage.<br />
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If you want a more religious interpretation, I think you should discuss that with your religious leader (priest, minister, what have you). Because I think that may be what you are looking for, and everyone on here will have a completely different take.

I'm looking for different takes; not the opinion of a priest.

The ceremony as a whole, in my opinion, is nothing but symbolism. It keeps you in good standing with whichever religious club you've joined. It pleases the parents, who want to see their kids tread down the same path they found desirable so many years previous. And it pleases society as a whole, who generally still push marriage as the ultimate goal for people in love.<br />
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What matters is how the two of you feel about one another. No one vow is more important than another. Were the vows heartfelt for you? Did you discuss their meaning and significance ahead of time?

JustPeaches, will you marry me? :-) I think what you said is very similar to my thoughts on this issue.

Marriage is not a panacea.


My opinion is that wedding vows are a part of the ceremonial part of the deal and that in and of themselves they are meaningless.<br />
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So debates about whether "this" vow trumps "that" vow, or whether "that" bit of sc<x>ripture trumps "this" bit of sc<x>ripture fill me with an acute feeling of total indifference.<br />
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Ones behaviours as a spouse are stated by your actions, not your words. And definitely not by someone elses words or words offered up by rote.<br />
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However, if taking selected vows in isolation, or bits of sc<x>ripture in isolation helps someone move forward, then that's great.<br />
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Tread your own path.