If no one can keep their marriage vows, why don’t we scratch them and make some that they can keep?
For instance, our traditional vows go something like this: “I, Julie, take you, Bruce, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish from this day forward until death do us part.”
Yeah, right! Julie already knows that if her husband is broke and not paying the bills, not keeping the lights on , not keeping food in the house and cheating, it’s a wrap. This is our current reality, as reflected by our current divorce rate, which, according to American Psychological Association, is between 40 and 50 percent. It is obvious that only five out of 10 people honor the words they say, so maybe we can help the other 50 percent of the population keep their marriage vows by making a little adjustment.
How about instead of saying “for better or for worse,”” we just say “for better,” and forget the worse. “For richer or for poorer?” How about we just say “for richer?” “In sickness and in health?” How about just “in good health?” “To love and to cherish?” How about we say “to love and to cherish unless you get fat, you get sick, you go broke, you cannot find a job or you cheat on me.”
I know this is very sad, but people break up or get divorced mainly because of multiple problems. People do not usually break up or divorce when they have a good relationship, e.g., “Oh honey, I love you very much…I want a divorce.” Most couples are not mentally prepared for the hard times.
The whole point of a vow is that it’s a commitment, based on your words, to stay through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, because wisdom and experience teach us that it is not always going to be perfect. Often the problem is with ourselves and our unrealistic expectations. Remember the old saying, “the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence?”
If people truly honored the words that they utter when getting married, they would find creative ways to stay together and fix their problems instead of finding excuses to break up, tearing their families apart and making attorneys rich.
I know we’re all guilty of this, even in our less-serious relationships. We are all guilty of leaving relationships because they are not perfect, or because someone makes a mistake. We have to learn to forgive each other (Learning The Art of Forgiveness Is A Must To A Successful Relationship). The best relationship advice we can give you is that perfect does not exist when it comes to two different people. Perfect does not even exist among brothers and sisters, so what makes you think it would exist between you and someone else raised in a totally different household? Is that realistic?
Sadly enough, there is a false reality that we have internalized, thanks to the make-believe worlds of Disney and countless romantic movies. But what’s often left out is that commitment equals hard work. The reason they call it hard is because it often involves tasks that you do not want to do.
So perhaps if we cannot keep the original vows, maybe they should read something like this: “I, Julie, take you, Bruce, to be my husband, with the understanding that we are not perfect and we grew up in two different households with two different sets of rules and two sets of mommies and daddies. I know that on occasion we’re going to fuss and fight. I know you will do things to piss me off and that I am going to do things to irritate the crap out of you.
With all of this in mind, I will have and hold you from this day forward, for better, for richer, in good health, to love and to cherish unless your broke, get fat, get sick, lose your job or cheat on me. What do you think?”
We’re suggesting an update to the vows to be more more reflective of what actually happens in relationships, as opposed to our traditional vows, which reflect a beautiful picture that seems to only happen in the movies. This is not most people’s reality. So, maybe if we start off with more realistic vows we will do better in our relationships.