Friday, January 19, 2007

Analyzing My Wedding Vows

The following are not necessarily the exact wedding vows used in my wedding. Honest to goodness, I don't remember all that much about the ceremony itself other than how short it was and how far different (just us in a cheesy Reno chapel) it was from the wedding about which I had dreamed my entire life. However, I found the following traditional wedding vows on a website, and they are close enough to our actual ceremony for this purpose. The purpose being that as I struggle with the conflict between obligation vs. desire and duty vs. wants, I decided to really take a look at the vows and do a little analysis for myself to see if I could further clarify things for myself. Join me, won't you, in this little exercise. Let's see what we find.


Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God – and in the face of this company – to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore – is not by any – to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly – but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. [Did we enter into it reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly? No, I entered out of fear, the desire to have the security of having a man to take care of me, but certainly not reverently or solemnly. I certainly was doing it against the advice of others and truth be told against the advice of my own conscience.] Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
[I'll be honest that I don't know whether that last sentence was used at all in our vows since there was nobody at our wedding besides us, the minister and two witnesses - the chapel owner and the "limo" driver. Who would've objected?]

Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. [We are certainly not united in heart, body or mind now. I'm not sure we ever were in mind although we probably were at some point in heart and certainly we were in body for the first few years] It is intended for their mutual joy – and for the help and comfort given on another in prosperity and adversity. [Mutual joy? Haven't had much of that in several years. We have helped and comforted one another in many times of adversity and some in prosperity, but we don't much anymore.] But more importantly – it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained. [For years we had a stable environment, and for a few of those a loving one too but we've lost that somewhere.]

Through marriage, GROOM'S NAME and BRIDE'S NAME make a commitment together to face their disappointments – embrace their dreams – realize their hopes – and accept each other’s failures. GROOM'S NAME and BRIDE'S NAME will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together – through mutual understanding – openness – and sensitivity to each other. [I don't actually remember this being said at our wedding, but even if it was, we have found a way to pretty well ignore all that is included in this paragraph.]

We are here today – before God – because marriage is one of His most sacred wishes – to witness the joining in marriage of GROOM'S NAME and BRIDE'S NAME. This occasion marks the celebration of love and commitment with which this man and this woman begin their life together. And now – through me – He joins you together in one of the holiest bonds. [It is the holiness of the bond that gives me such guilt as I contemplate destroying it.]

Who gives this woman in marriage to this man?


Her family and friends gathered here today do.

[Skipped this part entirely since nobody attended.]


This is a beginning and a continuation of their growth as individuals. With mutual care, respect, responsibility and knowledge comes the affirmation of each one’s own life happiness, growth and freedom. With respect for individual boundaries comes the freedom to love unconditionally. Within the emotional safety of a loving relationship – the knowledge self-offered one another becomes the fertile soil for continued growth. With care and responsibility towards self and one another comes the potential for full and happy lives. [Not sure either of us really took the care or responsibility to realize that potential.]

By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for GROOM'S NAME and BRIDE'S NAME from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. These moments are so meaningful to all of us, for “what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together – to strengthen each other in all labor – to minister to each other in all sorrow – to share with each other in all gladness. [Were are souls ever joined together? Maybe for a while, certainly not now nor for several years. Do we strengthen each other, minister to each other, share with each other? No, no, and no. Sad, but true.]

This relationship stands for love, loyalty, honesty and trust, but most of all for friendship. Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny. Do not think that you can direct the course of love – for love, if it finds you worthy, shall direct you. [OMG, not one of the above words -- love, loyalty, honesty, trust, friendship -- describes what W and I have at this point. Particularly those middle three are gone, long gone.]

Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between them. It is the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life. It is a moral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention. Marriage should be a life long consecration of the ideal of loving kindness – backed with the will to make it last. [Wow. Boy, we blew this in a big way. We didn't pay attention to the commitment on a regular basis, and certainly not a daily basis. Loving kindness plays very little role in our relationship. I certainly don't have the will to make it last, and while W claims to have that will, he certainly doesn't act that way.]

Exchange of Vows


Do you GROOM'S NAME take BRIDE'S NAME to be your wife – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live? [I don't know what to say here. I'm sure that W would say he has done every single one of these things. Obviously I wouldn't agree, but why argue?]


I will.


Do you BRIDE'S NAME take GROOM'S NAME to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live? [For years I tried to live up to these vows. For many years I did my best to follow all of these. We've had sickness and health and I hung in there. We've had more money and less, and I've done my share and more to keep our heads above water. We've had great times, joy beyond measure, and we've had bad times, sadness heavier than I would have thought bearable, and through many years I was a trooper and hung with W through thick and thin, but not in the last year. Cherish him, bestow my heart's deepest devotion on him, keep myself only unto him? Up until the last year I did. But no more. I gave up.]


I will.

[We had no rings at the time of our wedding so the following was not part of our ceremony.]
Exchange of Wedding Rings


What token of your love do you offer? Would you place the ring(s) in my hand?

May this/these ring(s) be blessed as the symbol of this affectionate unity. These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go – may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women year. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place that many will find there a friend. May this/these ring(s) on her/their finger(s) symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts.

Handing ring to the Groom


GROOM'S NAME, in placing this ring on BRIDE'S NAME finger, repeat after me: BRIDE'S NAME), you are now consecrated to me as my wife from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed.

Handing ring to the Bride


BRIDE'S NAME, in placing this ring on GROOM'S NAME finger, repeat after me: GROOM'S NAME, you are now consecrate to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed.



May you always share with each other the gifts of love – be one in heart and in mind – may you always create a home together that puts in your hearts – love – generosity and kindness.

In as much as GROOM'S NAME and BRIDE'S NAME have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family and have pledged their faith – and declared their unity by giving and receiving a ring – are now joined.

You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife but remember to always be each other’s best friend. [Oops, well we seem to have forgotten that part.]

What – therefore – God has joined together – let no man put asunder. [I think most think of this as others interfering in the marriage, but it also applies to the husband and wife. I think W and I have both done things to put this marriage asunder.]

And so, by the power vested in me by the State of ______ and Almighty God, I now pronounce you man and wife – and may your days be good and long upon the earth.

You may now kiss the bride. [Yeah, we kissed at the end of the wedding. We did not have sex on our wedding night. I teased W about it at the time that of all times not to want sex his wedding night seemed to be a strange time. Maybe I should have paid just a bit more attention to that. Maybe it wasn't a laughing matter. Even then.]


Nutty Man said...

why are you doing this to your self.You wont out ,you got a diffrent job in a new city. Go on with your life.

trueself said...

Welcome, Nutty Man, always glad to have new commenters join the party. You are right. I should just move on. I should. I want to. And yet something keeps holding me back. I continue to struggle with the things that hold me back.

Fiona said...

Things change, people change - some grow up and some grow away, life changes, expectations change.

To be tied to some words spoken, and not of our own composition, isn't right. As adults we marry, as adults we divorce. It's not the end of anyone's world. And if it is, there is something not quite balanced in the marriage, that life ends if one person removes themself from the arrangement.

If you keep being held back TS, you're maybe not yet ready to go at all?

I hope you can come to a decision that you own with all of you, and with an eye to your future not your past.

I wish you good luck and happiness.

Emily said...

It's hard to see how you could leave a marriage without looking at what it ought to have been.

I think you are having a big period of personal crisis and growth. And I find I only grow during these periods when I take a long, hard look at myself - not a cruel, self-hating look, but an honest assessment.

But I hope you will also look at yourself and W with compassion. No one is ever a perfect wife or husband and many people who think they have a great marriage would start struggling very quickly if faced with a serious illness, long-term sexual problems, etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Tureself, don;t beat up yourself and spend too much time over analyzing everything (advice I need to heed myself) take your stand and do what you think is right and accept the consequences and responsibility. Have faith in yourself hun.

Val said...

Wow, how ominous that you posted these vows -- referring to my own case! On last weekend's trip I was tormenting myself w/the nagging thought: I want to be free, I want a divorce. But neither do I want to lose my farm, sacrifice my animals, or feel that crushing sense of failure again...

trueself said...

Fiona - If you keep being held back TS, you're maybe not yet ready to go at all?
Yes, that is my struggle, one that I address in my next post.

Emily - Yes, I am trying to take a hard look at things. Again some of what you say is addressed, I believe, in my next post.

FL - But beating myself up is what I do best! And what if what I think is right and what I want are two different things?

Val - I think you and I are a lot more alike than I have realized before.