A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pathetic and Sad

''Til Death Do Us Part' Is Dying Out

In some weddings, "'til death do us part" is going the way of "to honor and obey" — that is, out the window.

Vows like "For as long as we continue to love each other," "For as long as our love shall last" and "Until our time together is over" are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow — a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.

"We're hearing that a lot — 'as long as our love shall last.' I personally think it's quite a statement on today's times — people know the odds of divorce," said New Jersey wedding expert Sharon Naylor (search), author of "Your Special Wedding Vows," who adds that the rephrasing is also part of a more general trend toward personalizing vows.

Naylor said killing the "death vow" doesn't mean that people don't take their marriage promises seriously. Quite the contrary.

"People understand that anything can happen in life, and you don't make a promise you can't keep. When people get divorced, they mourn the fact that they said ''til death do us part' — you didn't keep your word in church (if they had a church wedding). Some people are in therapy because they promised ‘til death do us part' — it is the sticking point in the healing of a broken marriage. The wording can give you a stigma of personal failure."

This is why Naylor prefers vows like, "For as long as our marriage shall serve the greatest good."

"You will promise to be loyal as long as love shall last — you don't want to promise 'when you treat me like crap.'"

Frankly, if your marriage does not last "til death do us part," it is a personal failure: either you failed at picking a good spouse because you did not allow God to help you in your decision, or you have not worked hard enough and allowed God to guide your marriage. You ought to feel horrible.

People in the United States, and elsewhere in the world, take marriage much too lightly. It is not something you should do by running off to Vegas a la Britney Spears and marrying in some stupid little chapel, before divorcing 55 hours later. Marriage is meant to be a Covenant, which should last until death parts the couple, not a judge. If you picked stupidly, then too bad.

Of course, in extreme cases, such as abuse, divorce might be the only way. Still, far too many people think divorce is completely alright. Apparently, it is like trying on shoes. If one pair ends up hurting, go out and buy a new pair. How sad and pathetic that people treat marriage like a pair of shoes.