To love honor and 'obey'

(61 Posts)
sooperdooper Thu 02-May-13 12:55:41

I just need a place to moan and bang my head on the wall, on another forum, women are openly discussing the fact they want to say the '& obey' bit of the old (and pretty much obsolete) marriage ceremony

Their argument is that it's not to be taken so literally, and that they don't believe their H2B would ask them to to anything that they didn't really agree with or wasn't the right thing for them, because H2B would have their best interests at heart overall

Please reassure me I've somehow fallen into an archaic pallallel universe, it's too depressing

Lottapianos Thu 02-May-13 13:00:47

'Their argument is that it's not to be taken so literally'

Well for the love of sanity why say it then???? <screams>

It's like a friend of mine called XY who changed her name upon marriage to XA but said 'oh I'll always be a Y at heart'. Well why are you changing it then???

I'm actually not even that surprised - depressed yes, but not surprised. It's just shocking how many men and women go along with rotten stuff like this because 'well it's traditional'.

Any room on that wall for me to bang my head beside you? hmm

HazleNutt Thu 02-May-13 13:06:09

Maybe they are all firm followers of the Surrendered Wife movement?

tribpot Thu 02-May-13 13:09:23

Perhaps they are confused between things you sincerely mean at the time ('til death do us part') but that may not turn out to be true in reality and ... er ... flat out lying in your vows.

Tradition is all well and good, you can argue that being 'given away' is a symbolic gesture not meant literally that your ownership is passing from one master to another. But you are actually SAYING the word obey. Therefore you either mean it or you don't say it. If you want to say it (and mean it) that's your call but you can't just say it.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 02-May-13 13:09:59

They might find it difficult to get a minister/priest/vicar to use the word; mine wouldn't back in 1984. We used "cherish". (I'd been prepared to argue my case against "obey", it simply wasn't an issue.)

Smartieaddict Thu 02-May-13 13:11:22

Nope, can't for the life of me imagine why any adult would promise to obey another adult, truly bizarre!

Lottapianos Thu 02-May-13 13:11:35

And re 'giving away', if it's a symbolic gesture, why not get 'given away' by both your parents? Or just your mum - she's the one who carried you and gave birth to you (unless you're adopted of course0 after all!

It's a total crock IMHO smile

Poledra Thu 02-May-13 13:11:37

The minister who married DH and I said he wouldn't use the words 'and obey' in the wedding service because he thought it had no place in marriage which should be a partnership equal in all ways. And if a couple really wanted it in the service, he'd have to ask them to find someone else to perform their ceremony.

tribpot Thu 02-May-13 13:13:05

I agree, Lotta - I would never have agreed to be given away, I think it's bollocks. BUT I think you can more easily reconcile that as a symbolic / traditional gesture that just flat-out saying the word obey.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 02-May-13 13:14:33

It is a parallel universe and they are actually medieval. Sneak in a comment about cooking a nice steak for your hubby on Friday and see if they are all shock at you not eating fish.

grimbletart Thu 02-May-13 13:15:07

Lordy - I didn't say obey in 1966. I was a feminist before the WLM was even thought of grin

SanityClause Thu 02-May-13 13:16:11

The first time I ever became aware of this issue was when I was reading the Little House books. When Laura married Almanzo (she was about 18, he was 10 years older) she refused to say obey.

That was about 150 years ago. FFS!

FreedomOfTheTess Thu 02-May-13 13:16:52

The minister who married us is also one who wouldn't allow the 'obey' vows. I'm pretty sure the Church of England now advise vicars/ministers not to allow it, as it could be used by husbands to justify domestic abuse/violence. I read it in an article years ago, here it is.

tribpot Thu 02-May-13 13:18:11

Grimble, according to Wiki 'The phrase "Women's Liberation" was first used in the United States in 1964, and first appeared in print in 1966.' grin

Lottapianos Thu 02-May-13 13:19:21

I see your point tribpot smile

tribpot Thu 02-May-13 13:19:28

Sanity - had forgotten that about Laura Ingalls Wilder. She didn't believe women should have the vote but did see herself as an independent adult answerable only to herself (and to God).

Weegiemum Thu 02-May-13 13:24:50

18 years ago our minister was unhappy with "obey" and we searched around loads of published marriage services (he also wouldn't let us make up our own vows, but the service he usually used was very mechanical).

We each said "to love and to serve, as Christ commands". As we're both Christian (in a go to church every week way, not just culturally) this was great for us - equal!

Manchesterhistorygirl Thu 02-May-13 13:28:37

Oh for gods sake! Obey is obsolete!

I didn't say it 14 years ago and I kept my name and added my dh name and hyphenated. My sons have that name too. Many people thought I was strange for hyphenating my surname, but I'm still me as well as being in a partnership. Partnership, not a subservient role.

namechangeguy Thu 02-May-13 13:29:42

Wouldn't the whole institution of marriage be in this archaic, parallel universe? You are just picking on one word of a complete ceremony that sounds like it goes against all of your principles.

FWIW, we got married in the early nineties in the West Indies, and the vicar didn't include the word either. I don't think it's encouraged any more. If individuals choose to include it, and they can find someone to say it, then what business is it of anyone else's? Unless your views are more valid than theirs, of course.

My female vicar didn't give me the option, she wouldn't use it in service also the bit about man and wife she said that was outdated too. i.e not chattel of man.

dublinrose37 Thu 02-May-13 13:31:43

Some women lose all sense of sanity where weddings are concerned. These tend to be the same women who think its "cute" when their intendeds ask their fathers permission prior to the engagement too I'll bet.

I don't get it myself. I think its more or less gone from Catholic vows which is what I would be familiar with, you can ask to have it included but I can't remember a single wedding where it was included.

There are two versions of the vows. If the bride promises "to obey", the husband has to promise "to worship". If the "obey" bit is left out of the bride's vows, the "worship" bit is also left out of the groom's.

Namechangeguy have you ever heard the phrase 'personal is political?'

grimbletart Thu 02-May-13 13:41:11

Tribot: I was a feminist from childhood i.e. the 40s and 50s. I was not implying that WLM was not thought of by 1966. Sorry if that was not clear.

sooperdooper Thu 02-May-13 13:46:47

Thank you so much for reassuring me I'm not in the minority on this one smile

I think it's definietly the realms of women gone barking mad over weddings, and the type who want to be princess for the day rather than enter into a mutual partnership, and also lots of them who wanted their H2B to ask for their dad's permission, blah blah blah

sooperdooper Thu 02-May-13 13:48:15

There are two versions of the vows. If the bride promises "to obey", the husband has to promise "to worship". If the "obey" bit is left out of the bride's vows, the "worship" bit is also left out of the groom's.

Yes, but surely the issue is that 'obey' was only said by the woman - who gives a crap about someone's 'worship' if you have to obey their every word!

namechangeguy Thu 02-May-13 13:49:02

Yes. Carol Hanlisch's essay "The Personal Is Political" said that coming to a personal realization of how "grim" the situation was for women was as important as doing political "action" such as protests. Hanisch noted that "political" refers to any power relationships, not just those of government or elected officials.

But how does that apply here? We are talking about some people who want to include certain words in their own personal ceremony. They are not tying them selves to an unalterable contract, or committing themselves to something that can harm them in future. The words uttered wont stand up in a court of law in the UK. The participants lose nothing. They are discussing it on a forum and therefore giving it some thought, rather than being coerced.

Lottapianos Thu 02-May-13 14:06:00

'Wouldn't the whole institution of marriage be in this archaic, parallel universe?'

Yes indeed. IMHO smile

Absolute vomit at anyone asking a grown woman's father's permission to do anything that involves her. But I had a grown female muppet colleague gushing just a couple of months ago about how 'sweet' it was that her fiance had asked her dad's permission before they got engaged. I couldn't help but look like this shock

grimbletart Thu 02-May-13 14:41:20

They are not tying them selves to an unalterable contract, or committing themselves to something that can harm them in future

I thought they were making wedding vows i.e. promises they intend to keep and not made lightly. The vow to obey could, in theory, definitely and possibly in practice harm a woman in future.

I don't think the fact that it would not stand up in court has anything to do it with it. It is a vow namechangeguy aka a promise.

edam Thu 02-May-13 14:50:50

Blimey, how bizarre. I bet if their husbands did order them around, they wouldn't be very happy...

Dh asked my Mother for my hand in marriage. In a jokey, knowing way - then-dp and I had been living together for four years and everyone knew full well, had my Mother objected, I'd have gone ahead anyway. But my dratted Mother said 'take her please!' So I made him ask my Aunt, Uncle and Father as well. grin

namechangeguy Thu 02-May-13 15:02:37

Grimble, I get your point, but if the couple are saying 'till death do us part', this doesn't stop one or both pursuing a divorce at some point in the future. Same goes for the forsaking all others - plenty of married people have affairs. So, if you want to take out the obey reference, why not these other bits too? All or nothing.

Again, on a personal level, I wouldn't expect my wife to commit to something that I would refuse to say, but if she had wanted it in there, then that is her choice. I still don't see what business it is of anyone else's.

StickEmUpPunk Thu 02-May-13 16:24:08

Do both parties say obey or is it just the women. I got married at 23 a few years ago, my wedding was very modern I don't think it was even offered as an option!

I think we said 'all that I am I give to you, all I have I share with you' etc

Lottapianos Thu 02-May-13 16:27:42

'Do both parties say obey or is it just the women'

Just the woman. It's the 'natural order of things' for the man to be in charge doncha know hmm

StickEmUpPunk Thu 02-May-13 16:35:38

Oh! Fuck that for a game of soldiers. That kind of attitude does effect everyone.
Dark ages.
Marriage is outdated anyway. I just wanted a party (to celebrate the union, of course)

namechangeguy Thu 02-May-13 16:39:10

Actually, Punk, I don't think anyone in this discussion has said it, despite many of us being married. In fact, of those who have been mentioned it, they all seemed to be told/advised by the vicar that the phrase would not be included in the ceremony. It seems to be a bit of a non-event.

edam Thu 02-May-13 16:44:43

Except that according to the OP there are still people saying it...

Fillyjonk75 Thu 02-May-13 16:47:40

When we got married the female vicar practically steered us away from the old fashioned form of words "But you don't want to do that, do you?"

StickEmUpPunk Thu 02-May-13 16:54:04

Well OP brought here talking about other people on a forum, so some people are.
I just had a look on the internet and to be fair I couldnt find any that included obey, they were the same words from both parties.

If people want to add obey in, meh.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 02-May-13 16:55:08

I've been to a wedding where the bride promised to obey, in around 1998.
I just remember the gossip among the wedding guests being far more concerned with the fact that the couple in question hadn't had sex with each other.
They were serious evangelical Christian types and had thought it through and come up with a number of unconvincing justifications as to why it was fine and not sexist at all .

namechangeguy Thu 02-May-13 16:56:10

From the op;

women are openly discussing the fact they want to say the '& obey' bit of the old (and pretty much obsolete) marriage ceremony

So, are their views and wishes, which apply only to them, to be dismissed? What would the people who disagree with the inclusion of the words have them do?

grimbletart Thu 02-May-13 17:35:58

What would the people who disagree with the inclusion of the words have them do?

Dunno really: suggest they get married in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia and get to live their dream?

BlingLoving Thu 02-May-13 17:43:47

I've only been to one wedding where "obey" was used. I sat there, looking around waiting for someone to catch my eye so that we could share a "WTF chuckle". and there was NOTHING. And then, the priest went on about the obey thing in some length - clearly a misguided attempt to explain it away as not being a ridiculous statement for a woman to make.

I sat there wondering if the woman up front who was getting married was really the same woman I'd been friends with since I was 16, who'd travelled the world as an investment banker and who was feisty, smart and independent. But apparently, it was.

EuroShaggleton Thu 02-May-13 17:50:40

I can't believe there are women who want to include that wording in 2013. Astonishing.

I always said that I would refuse to marry anyone who asked my father's permission as it would be clear that they didn't know me at all.

And I was walked down the aisle by both my parents. I liked the symbolism of moving from my parents' family to becoming a new family with my husband. There was no way I was being handed by one man to another! I am not a chattel.

hmm at tunip.

I know a woman like this, though. A couple, actually. One of them feels that she is more suited to obey her husband and he is more suited to lead, because that's what's natural.

However, I cannot really judge (well, I so can, you know), because my wedding service included a load of mumbo-jumbo about things far worse, and I got lectures from the priest beforehand about the bit of St Paul with 'the wife shall be subject unto her husband'.

In all seriousness, I think there's a really worrying turn towards this kind of stuff amongst women who - sorry - are too naive and privileged to understand what they're getting into. That may not be the only reason women discuss this sort of thing but it sure is one of them.

Btw, my mate who got married last summer had the old wording of the marriage ceremony, which was beautiful and very poetic, but they did cut the 'and obey' bit!

Bunnylion Thu 02-May-13 18:16:44

Religion and tradition can do very funny things to a persons judgement. Discussing keeping the "obey" bit is showing pride in a misguided and romanticised idea of tradition.

I'm married, had a non religious ceremony and my DH and I both see our union as celebrating our love and partnership. We are both feminists. Traditional marital and gender roles have no place in our house.

Marriage can and is evolving.

mysterymeg Thu 02-May-13 22:03:19

My friend said obey in her wedding last June (2012) and she was 23!! Was sat next to my best friend in the church and we both couldnt believe it. She is the one that wears the trousers in their relationship but wanted to use the "proper" vows (evangelical Christians).

I also got married last year (also 23 at the time) my grandma was pressuring me to say obey - I pointed out that if I were to say it I wouldn't mean it which I felt would invalidate the rest of my vows. No fucking way was how I worded it to DH when he jokingly suggested it but thought I'd better be gentle with grandma she is 87.

I just think it shows the start of an unequal relationship if said. If that's what they want then great but I really don't think it's healthy.

OutOfCheeseError Thu 02-May-13 23:05:51

I've been to 3 weddings in the past couple of years where the bride has said 'obey'. All couples in their twenties. I had to suppress a shudder each time; it truly makes me queasy.

TeiTetua Thu 02-May-13 23:42:58

It is certainly time that "obey" was forgotten, but I insist on keeping "With my body I thee worship".

Lottapianos Fri 03-May-13 13:07:25

'In all seriousness, I think there's a really worrying turn towards this kind of stuff amongst women who - sorry - are too naive and privileged to understand what they're getting into'

I agree with you LRD. It is extremely naive to not think hard about the meaning of the words you use, and also not to think about what message it sends when you change your name and become a Mrs. It's stuff like this that makes me snort and laugh bitterly when people try to sell me the idea that marriage has changed and is no longer a patriarchal institution.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 03-May-13 13:58:04

It is certainly time that "obey" was forgotten, but I insist on keeping "With my body I thee worship".

When I got married in the 1980s, I definitely did not say obey (kept my name, too), but I did want to use as much of the old Prayer Book as possible because of the beauty of the language, and because I do love a bit of body-worshipping.

Beamur Fri 03-May-13 14:07:30

I'm not married and if we do marry, it's unlikely to be in a church as DP is an athiest but I couldn't say it and keep a straight face (or mean it).
As I understand it though, the 'deal' was to 'honour and obey' but equally a man was not supposed to ask his wife to do anything that he wouldn't do himself, or that wasn't permitted by Church (and by dint of other scripture) that would also mean State. So, a vaguely hollow promise really.
All that said, it seems ridiculously old fashioned and inappropriate to include it now, even in irony.

SplitHeadGirl Fri 03-May-13 20:44:57

I often wonder why some women seem so eager to put themselves beneath men, in small ways and big ways. I can only think it has to do with trying to please them...women have been so conditioned to think we should seek male approval and think of men's needs first that it can be hard to shake off. I think a lot of these women probably think it will please their future husbands (and men listening in the congregation) if they infantalise themselves by prominsing to obey.

I am amazed these husbands stand for the word 'obey' being included, as well. My husband would never have married me if I had wanted that word included. He loves me for being my own woman.

Jan49 Sat 04-May-13 02:05:14

I got married in a registry office so never had this issue.

But I can see why someone might include it as part of a traditional service. If they go along with their father "giving them away" and all the other traditional stuff then they might include the word "obey" because they see it as part of the service. In reality they have no intention of obeying and their father doesn't actually give them away except ceremonially. So it's all kind of ceremonial. Not saying it justifies it but I can see why people might say it. Also many people who get married in a church are non-religious so surely lots of things they say aren't really true. It's just that this particular "lie" is said only by the woman whereas all the other "lies" are said by them both.

Surely most people at the church aren't going to hear the exact words that are said anyway? I don't think I'd notice if the couple promised to obey Jedi and launder their curtains every Thursday. grin

Startail Sat 04-May-13 02:15:33

Almost 24 years ago DH's local vicar grinned at me and said I assume you don't want the old version with obey in it.

A wise man DH's vicar.

I have subsequently been gob snaked to discover than a very bright DF did say obey. She says that if they argued badly someone needed the right to have the final say. Logical I suppose, but as she has the better degree...

grimbletart Sat 04-May-13 12:05:48

* She says that if they argued badly someone needed the right to have the final say*

Presumably her 'logic' didn't stretch as far as explaining 'logically' why it should always be the man (even if he was as thick as two short planks).

Saidar Sat 04-May-13 14:25:45

Our minister won't be using it. We didn't want it and he doesn't like it either, so no issue. (Church of Scotland ceremony)

Did your DH hyphenate his name too Manchesterhistorygirl? We just let the DC decide, we knew we all wanted to have the same and this way worked for us, DC picked what they wanted to be known as, out of our hands. grin

HullMum Sat 04-May-13 20:40:22

many many people go temporarily insane immediately following a proposal of marriage and right up to the bloody honeymoon. Its ridiculous for an adult to be given away and then promise to obey her new "owner". It sounds like a kidnapping sad

TeiTetua Sat 04-May-13 21:38:53

Apparently in America the Episcopal Church (that's their version of the C of E) dropped the word "obey" from their wedding service back in 1928. It's that can-do attitude.

LastMangoInParis Sat 04-May-13 21:44:21

Haven't read whole thread... but am already thinking it's feckin' 50 Shades reflux infecting the intellectually/ideologically challenged or chronically silly.
Am also thinking, though, that if the thinking behind this approach is that marriage vows aren't to be taken too seriously in any event, then so what? IYSWIM.
(Disclaimer: this doesn't mean that a part of me wants to despair about this.)

samandi Tue 07-May-13 12:35:50

Yes, I agree with above poster. Assume that most of those women are just trying to be trendy because of the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey etc.

If "obeying" is not to be taken literally, then what about other parts of the marriage vows? What on earth is the point of saying all that stuff you don't mean?

And I presume that if they're saying it in a church "in front of God" and all that, then they're just pretending to be Christians too, because otherwise wouldn't they be afraid of telling blatant lies in that way?

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