I have a friend getting married in a few months here. She has the luxury of being what some would classify an “older” bride, which I am sure has it’s pros and cons. I think about if I had gotten married right out of college, my wedding would have been so different than what it was when I was 25. The guest list would have been impossibly long, the bridal party would have had to have been strategic and the focus would have been on ME! (After all, pick up any Bridal magazine and that’s what you are told.)
It’s funny when you talk to people about weddings and marriage. Everyone tends to have their own two cents. I have an acquaintance who feels very strongly that any couple even contemplating an engagement should be in therapy, exploring the ills of their past and bringing it all out into the open. Another woman I know looks down on “short” courtships (i.e. fewer than 3 years) because how will you know how a person will act in a crisis when you are married if you are never in a crisis while dating? So in her view, it’s best to date until a crisis hits so you can see how the person you are with will react and upon that base your decision. Another woman I know, eschews the whole marriage ideal and would rather just have fun.
According to recent US Census Data, the median time for divorce in the US is about 8 years. Reasons given for the splits? In part less money and less sex. I’ve been married to the Mister for 5 years… that means we have about three years before we head down to the courthouse, right?
Like it or not, believe it or not, marriage is a promise that you make. I promise that you make to your beloved and with God as the Witness.
An example from a typical Roman Catholic Wedding Ceremony:
I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. I, ____, take you, ____, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
And it’s not just Religious Ceremonies that have the cornerstone on marriage vows. From “Civil Ceremony Wedding Vows”
[Groom]: do you take [bride] to be your wife? Will you love, honour, and cherish her, in good times and in bad, and do you promise to stay true to her as long as you both shall live?
(Groom): I do.
[Bride]: do you take [groom] to be your husband? Will you love, honour, and cherish him, in good times and in bad, and do you promise to stay true to him as long as you both shall live?
(Bride): I do.
Hindu Weddings involve the Saptapadi, or seven steps:
With each circuit, the couple makes a specific vow to establish some aspect of a happy relationship and household for each other.
To provide for food always.
To give you excellent health and energy.
To make you perform your vrithas (rituals) as ordained in Vedas, during your lifetime.
To give you happiness in life.
To make your cows and good animals grow in strength and in numbers.
To make all the seasons be beneficial to you.
To make the homams (sacrifices to be done in Holy Fire) to be performed by you in your life as ordained in Vedas, successful and free from hindrances.
, you are willing to marry as your , in sacred marriage together for life?
Whether has sickness or health, poverty or wealth, beauty or is plain, in good times and in bad, you are willing to love her, to comfort her, to respect her, and protect ?
And willing to be forever loyal to ?
Are we seeing a trend here?
Some Catholics like to think that they have the cornerstone on marriage. But in reality, every marriage is sacramental. The husband is a conduit of grace for his wife; The wife is a conduit of grace for her husband.
Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is hard, but the good days outnumber the bad. There are days that I don’t really like the Mister, but I love him dearly and because of that love that I have for him and the promise that I made to God, I will never give up on my marriage. In this land of no-fault divorce and celebrity 55-hour marriages, the focus is more on the day- the dress, the guests, the food, the party- than on the journey after. And what does that lead to? Marriages lasting less than 10 years and people who go when the going gets tough.
What are your thoughts on the state of marriage in our present society? Have we become lassez-faire about it all? Is marriage just another step in one’s life? Now, I do want to clarify, in the above post the marriage to which I was referring does not involve abusive spouses or other dangerous situations. Does that make sense?