Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's in a vow?

I've really gotten out of the habit of posting. A lot has happened! These are pictures of the way the tables looked when we hosted a dinner party in honor of Richard and Sonia, friends who recently got married. Speaking of marriage, here's the second installment of articles on wedding vows. Blessing to you, Sue



Sue Cameron

We’re in the process of taking a close look at the promises we made during our wedding ceremony. Last time, we considered the meaning of ‘to have and to hold.’ Today we’ll look at, ‘for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or in health.’

These three vows sit in between, ‘from this day forward’, and ‘until we are parted by death.’ They form the central foundation of our marriage. They are closely related, each having a double sided meaning. One aspect has to do with circumstances within our control and the other addresses circumstances we cannot control.


First, let’s think about what is ours to control. The only thing in life we can really control is our choices and ourselves. When we chose our spouse and they chose us it was because life was better together. This motive has existed since the Creator said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and He created Eve. For Adam and Eve, and for every married couple since, life with our beloved is superior to life alone.

Inherent in this motive, and in these three vows, is a commitment to work toward continued increase. It’s the thought of, ‘You think I’m an appealing, intelligent, fun person now—in twenty years I’ll be twenty times more!’ I believe we are actually promising our mate that we will do all we possibly can to see that life with us continues to be far better and richer and fuller than life without us.

This means I take responsibility for myself. I decide that as the years go on I will take care of my whole self, body, soul and spirit. I determine to improve myself, expand my mind and grow in my faith. Based on my vow, I will strive to reach my full potential, helping my spouse to be thankful for choosing me.


On our wedding day we each determined to be all we could be. Marriages are good because people make them good. So, how’s it with you? Are you a better person today than on the day your spouse gave their life to you? Remember, you are not responsible to see that your spouse fulfills their vows toward you, that job belongs to them. You and I need to be sure that we are doing the things we promised. Evaluating the meaning of our vows means evaluating ourselves.


The other, more obvious side, of these vows has to do with situations in life that we cannot control. Such as difficulties, trials, temptations and failures. Although we long and work for a better, richer, healthier life, what we may actually encounter is serious illness, financial crisis, permanent disability, infertility, death of a child, or addictions.

The passing years may bring hard circumstances that test our determination to remain committed. If this happens, how are we to respond? Thankfully, we addressed that question when we took our vows. We promised, before God Almighty, that even if things did not get better, even if we did not gain wealth, even if illness came to us, we would remain faithfully committed to our mate and to our marriage.

This is a beautiful and powerful part of the wedding vows, expressing the essence of real love. It means if they suffer, we suffer right beside them. It means if they fail, we help them to try again. It means if they lose everything, they will never lose our love or us. It means, most of all, that we will choose, every day, to love them for better or worse, richer or poorer and in sickness or in health.