To wonder what the point of marriage vows are if people won't stick to them?

(34 Posts)
superstarheartbreaker Mon 15-Jul-13 12:01:46

In my opinion a promise is a promise. I do get a bit annoyed when I read about the amount that people cheat and think that the term 'til death do us part' should be rephrased as 'lets stay together until I find someone cuter/fitter/more compatible.'
I have never been married but would love to be. I just know that I would have to be 100% sure about the person to make such a big promise. I know that people change all the time so I think that the marriage vows should be rephrased for modern times. It's quite sad though isn't it? I am very glad that most women don't say 'love, honour and obey' though!

kinkyfuckery Mon 15-Jul-13 12:04:37

I think when 'most' people make marriage vows, they mean and believe in them - like you say, people change.

ElleMcFearsome Mon 15-Jul-13 12:08:35

As kinky said, most people mean their vows when they say them. And divorce isn't always about finding someone "cuter/fitter/more compatible". My exH started to beat me after we got married - so I (finally) divorced him. Other people divorce due to external pressures, realising that they aren't compatible etc etc. People do change.

That said, I'm not sure how you'd change the marriage vows smile

Fakebook Mon 15-Jul-13 12:11:54

I think everyone means their vows when they get married, but two people can grow and mature differently and find they have nothing in common years down the line. It's better to break up if that situation arises as neither person is then happy.

maja00 Mon 15-Jul-13 12:13:33

If I was to get married, I wouldn't promise to stay together forever - because how can anyone promise that, realistically? You never know what might happen in the future.

LilacPeony Mon 15-Jul-13 12:14:09

I got married in a registry office and i used the vows they suggested, which ended in "for as long as we are together." rather than "til death us do part."

amessageforyouYoni Mon 15-Jul-13 12:16:13

We never said 'til death do us part', we promised to love and respect each other.

Just saying, like grin

Lottapianos Mon 15-Jul-13 12:22:22

'If I was to get married, I wouldn't promise to stay together forever - because how can anyone promise that, realistically? You never know what might happen in the future'

Totally agree. Just one of the many reasons why I would like a civil partnership with DP, not a marriage - there's no expectation that you will be together forever, just for as long as you both want to, which seems totally fair to me.

Interesting that you dont' have to include 'til death do us part' in marriage vows, didn't know that.

melbie Mon 15-Jul-13 12:26:42

If I got married it would be with the hope and plan that it was forever- otherwise I would not do it. I imagine most people are 100% sure that they mean their vows. But I think it is naive to believe that things don't change, people don't change etc. And you never know what you might do until you are in a situation. I would rather if someone was unhappy in a marriage and was unable to fix it (and had really tried) that they left rather than sticking with it because they had made vows.

Featherbag Mon 15-Jul-13 12:28:11

Hm, I don't know. I get the sense in what you're saying, and I know people change, but I got married thinking of it as a permanent state. We'd already been together 10 years and marriage was us saying to each other 'ok, I love you and want to build a family and a life with you, I'm officially binding my life to yours until one of us dies'. If DH had then turned out to be a violent abuser, or unfaithful, I would consider his vows broken and the marriage void - divorce would then just be the legal affirmation of that. Maybe sometimes people don't consider marriage the same way I do, or go into it too quickly?

I never made any such vows when I got married. I did the legal declaration, stated that there were no lawful impediments to the marriage and that I took DH as my lawfully wedded husband, and he did the same (but obviously saying "wife").

My only vow to him was to keep on having as much fun in life as we could and he said something along similar lines. We have made no promises of sickness, health, better worse or even fidelity - we don't need to.

I do think people should think harder about their marriage vows and say stuff that has meaning for them, rather than repeating words written a long time ago by somebody else.

CockyFox Mon 15-Jul-13 12:36:23

I got married in a registry office and I honestly don't remember what the promises were. I do know that I had and still have every intention of staying married forever as that is what marriage means to me. Nobody in my family or DH's have divorced (by family I mean parents siblings aunts uncles cousins and second cousins) so the wording of the promise wouldn't change my expectations.

livinginwonderland Mon 15-Jul-13 12:41:12

Most people do mean it at the time, but people change. I wouldn't stay with someone who made me miserable just because I'd made marriage promise to them in the past. Not all relationships are meant to last and sometimes it's healthier to leave than to stay for the sake of it.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 15-Jul-13 12:45:54

We thought long and hard before getting married.. the only reason we got married was to affirm the view that we want to spend the rest of our lives together.

People change, promises and vows get broken, that is life - but who WOULD get married thinking .....mmm maybe for a while...

gnittinggnome Mon 15-Jul-13 12:50:14

I think it was Arthur C. Clarke (early sci-fi writer who predicted the use of the Pill) who used the idea of specific term marriage contracts in a few of his stories, whereby people would contract to be together for a set number of years. This might not be the worst idea in the world!

That said, I am married, and I believe now that I will try to be with my husband till one of us dies - if we hit rocky patches we have promised to try to mend them. I know this may not work out, and mean absolutely no disrespect to people who can't do that for whatever reason, but for me that's what marriage is all about. Very glad that my sisters and mother were able to escape bad marriages, and hope I don't make the full set, but if we do divorce it won't be for lack of trying to keep our marriage alive.

Lottapianos Mon 15-Jul-13 12:53:40

'I think it was Arthur C. Clarke (early sci-fi writer who predicted the use of the Pill) who used the idea of specific term marriage contracts in a few of his stories, whereby people would contract to be together for a set number of years'

This sounds marvellous! 5 year marriages or whatever, then both parties review the contract and re-negotiate the terms as they want to. Or decide not to renew.

I do think that parenting responsibilities should be set down legally and should be considered apart from the nature of the relationship between the parents.

marriedinwhiteagain Mon 15-Jul-13 13:01:49

Well my vows were: for the avoidance of sin, the procreation of children, and mutual comfort. I don't think the bits about 'til death us do part are the actual vows but I stand to be corrected. What I remember was how profound and binding and spiritual it seemed to make those promises before God and it for the first time, sadly so, struck me in spite of all the thought that went into our future lives, that those promises, in god's eyes were irrevocable.

I got married in my early thirties because I wanted to start a family with DP, and that's what every generation of women before me had done at that point in their lives. We each made promises to be "loving and faithful" to one another for the rest of our lives.

I don't think I really believe in making vows to be with someone until death anymore - or not for me anyway. For lots of reasons, but mainly because relationships and people change over many years.

But I'm still married to DP/DH. This is because for the moment my reckoning is that this is the best situation to remain in to optimise happiness and well-being for myself, DP, and two teenage DCs.

I think regarding relationships I believe more in optimising happiness for all these days, and perhaps I always did.

Erato Mon 15-Jul-13 13:13:03

Legally in England and Wales all you have to say is:
"I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, [your name], may not be joined in matrimony to [your partner's name]."
followed by:
"I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, [your name], do take thee [your partner's name] to be my lawful wedded husband [or wife]."
Slight variations for NI and Scotland, but the same basic concept.

So if you don't feel you can make promises about happily ever after you don't have to. The rest of the vows are optional.

I do think marriage is an important commitment and I fully intend to be with my husband until one of us dies, but I don't make any assumptions about it being forever - it's something I'm fully aware needs work every day to keep it alive. And it's not a commitment I've made without any conditions - if DH one day decided to start hitting me I'd be out the door in a flash, for example.

Dahlen Mon 15-Jul-13 13:29:04

I think when most people get married they simply think that love will conquer all. It's inconceivable to think that you or your partner will make a mockery of "forsaking all others" on your actual wedding day - if it crosses your mind then, chances are you probably shouldn't be getting married wink - so you think everything will work out ok because you love each other so much. However, IME the sort of people who believe being in love somehow protects themselves and their partners against affairs, are the sort of people who are more vulnerable to them.

In my world no one would get married without being able to pass some sort of self-awareness and compatibility test first. grin

Lottapianos Mon 15-Jul-13 13:31:34

'In my world no one would get married without being able to pass some sort of self-awareness and compatibility test first'

When you are Ruler of The World, can I be your Under-Butler or something? Love it smile

LaRegina Mon 15-Jul-13 13:41:04

I agree superstar as far as finding it all really sad - although I don't know what the answer I, and I think changing the vows would solve nothing.

I think I am lucky (as is DH) to be in the rare position of coming from a family where both our parents stayed together, as did all our grandparents. I don't know if that makes it any easier for us to make things work, but we're still happy and very solid after 15 years. If anything, the longer we're together, the better it gets because the shared experiences and lives over the years have just bonded us closer together.

Maybe I'm just very lucky, but I do think the fact that the idea of divorce is so alien to both of us has as least something to do with it. And I really hope that doesn't sound smug.

When I married xH I don't think we did the till death do us part vows, in fact I'm pretty sure we didn't. But I took marriage seriously and would have meant it then, and still am somewhat saddened that he didn't at all and also know that my own situation is also common (in that one person takes marriage seriously and the other not at all).

Dahlen Mon 15-Jul-13 15:07:00

LaRegina - I think the problem is not that divorce is too easy but that marriage is.

happyyonisleepyyoni Mon 15-Jul-13 15:50:38

What I don't understand is why people get married after they have had DC. If marriage is that important to you, why have children outside of it?

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