He spun around, his head in his hands. His expression echoed disbelief. How did this happen, he seemed to wordlessly implore. This was after infidelity had wrecked his marriage. This was after abuse had crippled his relationship. This was after economic hardships and financial disloyalty had sabotaged a life long journey.
His patience had been tested, always waiting for her to turn the corner. But instead, all he could see was a blind curve with a hazardous drop on the side. As he looked into her eyes, he could feel the cold stare piercing his emotional being, down to the bone marrow. There was emptiness in it, a void of being unwanted.
“Look at it” he said, more like pleading.
“I didn’t sign up for this,” she muttered, “I can’t take it anymore. We cannot go on.”
Forming what now seemed like a background theme, was their wedding DVD that had been playing for a while now. Six years was the time that had elapsed from the day they were joined in holy matrimony. The mood had been celebratory back then, friends and families euphoric. Years down the line, the two had found themselves where many couples are or, unfortunately, headed.
We’ve seen it all, the unenthusiastic impressions we experience, having witnessed many marriages become rudderless, lacking in romance or friendship. It’s slowly becoming a norm, the bitterness, hatred, pain and torment, that is. It’s no longer surprising to be told that after the honeymoon phase, marriage has been over hyped.
The confidence that people have when they say ‘I Do’ slowly fizzles out after being punctured by negative emotions. As months and years go by, what had begun as an exciting till-death-do-us-part journey turns out to be chaotic, with joy at a premium. The list of lonely people, castaways and single parents simply heads to the stratosphere.
We’ve attended so many weddings to the point of them being a routine. We know the script by now, and every weekend is like a dress rehearsal for the next. One thing that has fallen prey to this practice is that whose meaning goes beyond the confinement of a ceremony, that which forms the very basis of any particular marriage. That which is simply known as the Marriage Vows.
Let’s be honest, we make vows to each to show commitment to a just cause. Without these vows, a marriage cannot stand. For clarity, a vow has been defined as solemn promise or assertion, one by which a person is bound to an act, service or condition. In the marriage vows that we make, there’s no exit clause. It’s usually till death do us part.
Marriage is not a bed of roses, it’s not easy. But you know what else is not easy? Life, inflation, loans, poverty, unemployment, depression, et cetera. But in all these things, we work so hard to make life happen, or make it bearable. We shouldn’t give up on marriage, being reminded of the very same reasons that made us wed in the first place.
Many marital issues, including selfishness, come as a result of couples going back on their promises, the result being resentment, separation or divorce. Maybe the vows were not from within, maybe the couple had just repeated what the pastor had instructed them. Maybe the vows were ceremonial, just like the cake, reception, speeches, gifts, preaching or signing of the certificate.
But these vows were said, and these are what form the foundation of the said matrimony. That whenever things don’t work out, whenever it gets tough and you want out, whenever you feel unfulfilled and in search of change, the vows act as a constant reminder of the devotion you made to your marriage, to your partner.
Maybe it’s a high time pastors allowed people to write their own vows and say them individually. But this is definitely the time to renew them, in private, in the confinement of your bedroom. Maybe it’s a high time to replay that DVD when you looked into each others eyes and committed to form a lasting bond. Maybe this is what you need to heal your marriage, as we try to stop this marital terminal disease that is simply going viral.
To say those vows over and over again…
Ecclesiastes 5:5 – It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.
I, (name), take you (name), to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my one true love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you, till death do us part.