By Lynn M. Griesemer
Much anticipation, planning and emphasis is placed on the wedding day. Weddings are ceremonies in which couples exchange vows in front of family and friends. Sometimes these vows are written by the bride and groom; sometimes vows are provided by the officiator and other times, religious protocol mandates certain vows.
Most vows contain promises for the future, such as “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and until death.” Many couples get married when they are in the “springtime of their love” – when everything is going well – there is very little to no conflict, disagreement or discontent in the relationship. The vows are easy to agree with. Imagine half of the population that decides to get divorced. Are the vows – or promises - no longer important or applicable? Has too much damage been done which render the vows obsolete?
I attended my cousin Kara and Will’s wedding recently. I thought of all the couples who get married when everything is going well – the communication level is healthy and strong, feelings of love are intense, expectations are high; couples feel invincible to any future problems.
At their reception, my mind flashed upon an idea: I imagined that most married couples experience an idyllic event on their wedding day. How about if we try to freeze this moment in time and make a video of the wedding, especially the vows? Insert text onto the video and at each anniversary, the couple can watch that part of the ceremony and review the script. Are they still keeping true to the vows they made to each other? What are they doing to nurture the relationship so that it is strong and healthy and is not slipping into a direction of discontent?
I would strongly suggest to couples who are considering a divorce to read the text of their vows, and take a glimpse into the past by watching as they smiled and agreed to promises on the wedding day. They are not empty words, but they mean something. No matter what has brought the troubled couple to their sad and difficult point, perhaps if they were forced to examine the vows and promises, they would have to do some new problem solving – come up with new strategies, techniques and skills to get back to their vows.
If they are going through “bad times,” their vows mandated that they stay together and work it out, that they work through their difficulties and unhappiness. Uh – oh. I forgot. This is an old-fashioned idea – to honor the commitment made on the wedding day. This is the 21st century, where couples get married because they want to and divorce because they want to, setting aside those vows. Many who have decided upon divorce will say that their problems are irreconcilable, too much has happened and it’s too late. Did they imagine this on their wedding day? Probably not. Do we consider the promises and vows as sacred and non-negotiable?
The issue of divorce is not an easy one. Let’s try to do everything we can to uphold marriage. Miracles have happened in relationships. Perhaps you know of a few that were hanging on for life, but with effort, things greatly improved. The goal is not to restore marriage to the newlywed state, but I’d like to see marriages progress to a point of a deeper love over the years. Everyone faces bumps and hiccups along the way and those who persevere through the difficulties have great stories and inspiration to share. Look for these people in your life.
Listen to my blogtalkradio program, read this newsletter (and tell others to subscribe to this newsletter!), visit my website, purchase “Reenergize Your Marriage in 21 Days,” and you will be doing a few things to place yourself in the category of the 50% who continue to say “YES!” to lifelong, committed, happy marriage.