June 28, 2004

How Now New Vows

Great article in yesterday's New York Times on people who change traditional wedding vows to reflect the reality that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Instead of saying "Till death do us part," many couples are opting for alternatives like "As long as our love shall last" and other ambiguous vows. Not surprisingly, a lot of clergy are not pleased with the changes.

One person in the article, who chose to exclude references to eternity, death and other permanent-sounding delcarations during his wedding, said "You can't promise at 25 that you're never going to change." There is some truth to his statement, but the point of marriage is that whatever change you go through is supposed to happen with the partnership of another person. Anyone who thinks marriage is the end of change ought to change his thoughts on marriage.

It seems to me that it takes the romance out of the ceremony if you look into your bride's eyes and essentially say "I vow to honor, cherish and love you as long as our love shall last, recognizing that there is a 50% chance this union will end in a lengthy court battle."

Posted by The Groom at June 28, 2004 03:59 PM

I think many people don't even know what the definition of a vow is---which is basically a promise. When watching these wedding "reality" shows on TLC or whatever, alot of couples end up telling each other how great their love is, and how happy they were to meet each other, and how they can't wait to spend the rest of their lives together.

What?? That's not a vow!! I'm going very traditional...and saying "I do", not "I will"...

Posted by: E from Michigan at June 29, 2004 08:15 AM

As you know, Groom, there are no "vows" in a Jewish wedding, something that i think most people do not know. so this problem is avoided.

Posted by: S at June 29, 2004 09:42 AM

I also get a bit of a chuckle out of "til whenever do us part." It just goes to show that so many people want a wedding, but not a marriage. A wedding is a fun temporary romance. Marriage is a life-long work and commitment.

Though I must admit, I have always thought "till death do us part" is a little morbid. Kind of sounds like a threat to me, and honestly I would like to keep the door open for the afterlife. Why should death be the contingency?

In any case, there are only three things that could potentially end my marriage. Death, abuse, and gender reassignment. And though implied in our vows, we did refrain from "till gender reassignment do us part."

Posted by: Malinda (trevor.net's bride) at June 29, 2004 09:56 AM

Yep, S. I do know that a Jewish wedding does not include vows like "Till death do us part." There are still promises laid out, for example, in the ketubah. Interestingly (and I think this is mentioned in the Times article) the Jewish religion has long recognized the possibility of divorce and has very specific ideas about what should happen and how the bride should be protected in such a case.

Posted by: The Groom at June 29, 2004 10:01 AM

we were going to write our own vows (even though there aren't vows in a jewish wedding) but our very cool rabbi talked us out of it. even though we are both writers and i always thought we would write very personal things to say on that occasion, we are saving our personal remarks for "toasts" at the reception and leaving the time under the huppa to tradition. i'm very very excited!

Posted by: jamie at June 29, 2004 10:43 AM