What are you promising when you get married?
Are you ready? Or do you say you’re ready because you want to get the wedding done fast before anyone has a chance to ask any questions or think about what they’re getting into?
In other words, this is a mean, tough, nasty, undesirable question for some, and it may even be an offensive question, but why would it be offensive? Is it because it gets in the way of a fast-moving train that a couple only wants to get moving faster? Or is it because doing the safe, wise, and honest thing may take longer, delay gratification, and put the pleasures or security of marriage at risk?
Promises are not to be broken.
Promises are not wishes. Promises are not hopes of getting lucky. Promises are not subject to luck. Promises are commitments to be kept.
So, then, what is being promised when a couple marries?
First, who is the promise being made to? Just the one you’re marrying? Or to the entire family? If you plan to have children, are you making a promise to the children? Are you making a promise to your spouse’s family? Are you making a promise to your own family? Are you making a promise to the honor of marriage as an institution and to God not to desecrate it?
If you don’t honor your wedding vows the first time faithfully, can you end your first marriage and give your vows to a second spouse honesty knowing that you don’t have the integrity, the sincerity, the honesty, the commitment to honor wedding vows? Are you behaving unethically to end the first marriage to go into a second marriage? Are you contradicting yourself?
Sometimes one spouse is unfaithful and makes marriage impossible or unwise to continue. Sometimes one spouse will abuse the family so severely that it would be dangerous, irresponsible, or even unethical to keep the family together in abuse or adultery. Sometimes a person is not the perpetrator of a divorce but rather the victim of it. And in the case of adultery, often an adulterer will lie and pretend to be the victim while being the perpetrator.
The bottom line is responsibility and choice go together. One spouse may cheat or sleep around and the other may blame himself or herself saying, “If I were only more attentive or met his or her needs better…” Unfaithful spouses may milk this or even pit two or more lovers against each other in competition. Other times, unfaithful spouses may use paramours as a bridge out of a marriage without having to suffer the loneliness of separation and divorce.
But marriage is a promise to love in sickness, in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, until death do us part.
What should that promise also include?
The marriage promise or vow should include implicitly if not explicitly a promise not to violate the rights of the faithful spouse and the children to
- live together in love
- in the shared family home
- enjoying the hard-earned shared family assets
- without molestation or robbery or harassment
- from the family courts
- from the child custody courts
- from the child support courts
- from the church
- from the family
- from society
- or from any other liar, thief, coward.
If you cannot promise these very basic protections, and our government does not have the integrity or backbone or competence to enforce this and protect the faithful and their children, then these kinds of relationships should not be embarked upon.
Marriage is a promise. It is not something that’s in the wind or in the tea-leaves or in the mystical and romantic haze of an empty and irresponsible mind serving only the selfish lusts that glorify themselves through the stupidity of empty promises.
If you cannot say to the one you’re marrying that you will never violate their right to the above promises, if you cannot promise your spouse that if you are unfaithful or dangerously abusive that you will bear ALL the responsibility for your actions, if you cannot promise they and your children will never have to bear such loss under your injustice, then you have no right to marry or to stay in a relationship with the one you say you love because you will bring him or her harm and keep him or her from finding true love.
The degree that your love is sincere is directly related to what level of responsibility you are willing to bear. If you reserve for yourself the right to violate the wedding vows without consequences, then you are nothing but a liar and a coward.
And a corollary to this is that if your nation does not demand that you be willing to bear such responsibility, then your nation is a pathetic, flimsy, weak-minded, unethical, lying, cheating, cowardly nation of injustice and cowardice for all.
And I don’t care how many soldiers are buried in your cemeteries to protect the honor of your nation. If your nation’s marriage standards are as flimsy as America’s or Sweden’s or many other nation’s marriage laws are today, then your nation’s government is not worth fighting for.
Know what you’re promising.
By the way, I didn’t ask you to say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it.”
If you did that, you didn’t get it.
It speaks of the worth of your word.