"Modern" wedding vows?

The Sunday magazine in this morning’s paper ran an article on a recent trend supposedly emerging in the US: the re-wording of wedding vows to recognise the unlikelihood of a marriage’s lasting until the death of one of the spouses. Apparently now the the vows are becoming something along the lines of “I will love and cherish thee until our love has run its course”, or words to that effect.

Has anyone come across these “updated” vows at a wedding? What was the reaction of the guests?

I heard about that on the radio a few months ago and my initial reaction was, “If that’s the view you’re going to take, why the hell are you going to get married?”
Honestly, my view of the matter hasn’t changed.

My husband and I initially planned something similar: we planned a union of a year and a day, to be renewed or not as we saw fit at that point (quite common in the neopagan religions). Now, this was to be a religious marriage only, and not a state-approved “marriage”.

As it turned out, at the altar he changed his mind, and pledged to remain with me for life!

Quite a shock, actually.

I quickly decided I was game for it, and did the same. We got the legal paperwork done a month later when we got back to our hometown.

But yeah, I see a lot of year and a day vows, and “as long as our love shall last” or “while we walk this path together” or other similar wordings. Some of these are in religious only ceremonies, some in legally approved weddings.

I quite like it. I think it’s, for the couple in question, likely more realistic and plain out true. If you’re not going to commit yourself for life, then don’t say you are!

I started a pit thread on this subject a few years ago, and got some pretty heated opposition. Perhaps times have changed. If not, wear a football helmet.

People get married for many reasons. Love isn’t always one of them.

I just performed a wedding yesterday, marrying a very modern couple. I wrote the ceremony, and I presented it to them for any editing. They proposed only one change. I had dodged around “husband and wife” because it implies ownership. They wanted it back. I left out “obey.” I left out the boring sermon. I left out the “if anyone objects.” There was only one mention of God. Let’s see if I can drag it over here from Word. Okay, here it is, with the last names taken out:

Welcome, friends. We are here to bring together Heather Lastname and Miles Lastname in the sight of God and surrounded by the love of everyone here. The state of Indiana has granted me the right to perform this ceremony, but I play just a small part in it. Miles and Heather have chosen a path of intense joy and continuous striving for harmony. They are making the biggest commitment of their lives. Two independent people are about to become one family, with shared goals of happiness and communication, and held together by love.

Who gives Heather to the world of matrimony?
(her mom) I do.
Who gives Miles to the world of matrimony?
(his parents) I do.

Heather, do you promise to love, honor, help, and cherish Miles, through thick and thin, in easy times and in hard times, in health and in sickness, in serenity and in stress, until death do you part?

Miles, do you promise to love, honor, help, and cherish Heather, through thick and thin, in easy times and in hard times, in health and in sickness, in serenity and in stress, until death do you part?

Do you have the rings? (best man hands them to the groom, who hands one to the bride)
(Heather) With this ring, I thee wed. (then a personal statement)
(Miles) With this ring, I thee wed. (then a personal statement)

I now pronounce you husband and wife, one married couple, together forever. Please kiss.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. and Mrs. Miles Lastname!

If/when I get married I’d like to not have any mention of duration at all. I don’t see why it’s necessary.

That’s a tautology, not a vow. What’s the point of even saying it?

And if you leave out any mention of duration at all, then what’s left of the vows? “I love you right now”? That’s at least not a tautology like the first one, but it’s still a declaration rather than a vow.

About the only way I can see the vows making sense is if there’s some sort of duration specified, be that “'Til death do us part”, or “For a year and a day”, or “Until the kids are all out of college”, or whatever.

When my sister-in-law got married, their vows had no mention of “as long as we both shall live” or of being faithful. I was a little taken aback, but she and her husband are the children of divorced parents, which has definitely influenced their own ideas about marriage. I don’t think they wanted to make a promise they weren’t positive they could keep. They’re a very devoted couple, though, and they seem like they’re in it for the long haul.

It was very important to my husband and me that our vows did contain “in plenty and want, in joy and sorrow, in sickness and health, as long as we both shall live.”

Then why get married? Okay, I guess I can see the symbolic importance in a year-long non-legal religious-only marriage (even though I have no experience with them), but in the case of a legal marriage I guess I don’t see the point. Is the stigma against long-term live-in relationships that strong?

I plan to take out references to “husband” and “wife” in my ceremony if I get married, and of course the reference to “obey,” but I have no problem with the lifetime vow. Because if I wasn’t playing for keeps, I’d just have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and I don’t have a problem with sex or cohabitation or even kids outside of marriage. The point of marriage to me is that it is a forever thing (at least in theory), I think the “till love runs its course” vow cheapens marriage. A lot fewer people should be getting married than actually do.

Be glad you’re not getting married in Australia.

As far as I know, “obey” isn’t compulsory.

It’s not so much stigma, but enourmous risks. See, a long-term live in relatonship is far more vulernable to a slew of going wrong(inheritance issues, testifying, medical decisions/visting) than an actual marriage. The symbolism or whatever of non-married relationships just doesn’t fly in the law. It’s worse for couples that can’t get married at all.

People get married for a lot of reasons and it’s certainly not always for love or because of it. That alone has “cheapened” marriage since the dawn of time. Your marriage or non-marriage should not be affected by others. If someone else wants to take odd vows, then so be it. It’s not like you have to.

I don’t like the moden vows either as it may be realistic, but it’s also needlessly cynical and defeatist. But, if others want to use those vows, then more power to them.

For the same reason that many gays want their marriages to be real: for any of the hundreds of “automatic” benefits that come from being married. Taxes, power of attorney, health care , visitation, inheritance… Or maybe AT THE TIME OF THE MARRIAGE, these folks are in love with each other and want the world to know it.

It seems to me that in an era where marriages often don’t last a lifetime, making an oath “'Till death do us part” is just raising the chances you’ll need to violate that oath eventually.

:confused: How so?

They need a vow that at the divorce they won’t get into petty squabbles about who keeps the original wedding photos and who gets the copies.

Am I the only one who has ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Lights’ playing in their head? :wink:

That, I don’t get. But the only part of this that actually bugs me is:

I am never, ever, going to be Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname. I have a name too! I don’t know what I’d to do to somebody who referred to me that way (if I was married) but it sure wouldn’t be pretty. Change my last name? Sure. But I’d find it really insulting to be referred to as Mrs. Him.

If you’re not looking very long-term, I too say don’t get married. I am in the position of wanting to, though I’m willing to wait awhile, but I’m not about to get married without meaning it to last. Life happens, but I’m not going to assume that we would end up splitting up…why get married, then? I have no ethical problems with cohabitation. I’m doing it right now.

Our reasons for wanting an intentionally time-limited religious marriage were religious in nature. Specifically, the desire to unite our spirits into one being with the blessings of the Divine, as well as our communities. To undergo a year-and-a-day long transformative magickal spell, seeing how our love would manifest on the physical plane.

What does this mean to the largely Rationalist and Atheist Dope? Jack shit. So be it.

But for most people, I think the idea of being married to one person for their entire lives is no longer considered the only way or reason to be married. Much like it would be nice to work for one company for our whole life and retire with a fat pension, yet in reality, we will likely work for several companies, leaving each position when it no longer serves. I’m not saying this is a good or bad change to marriage in the 21st century, just observing how such a change is not limited to marriage.

I don’t think the difference between married and cohabitation is as negligable as you do. I think marriage offers not only tax, medical and other mundane benefits (which it does) but also spiritual and religious benefits. And I think those benefits are real and present whether the vow is made for a year or a decade or a lifetime.

I am getting married in exactly 14 days and I sent our wedding coordinator the following vows ahead of time.

This felt alot more reasonable than “no matter how poor or unmotivated one of us may become… no how bad the ‘worse’ is… NO MATTER WHAT I’ll stay with you FOREVERANDEVERANDEVER” which, to me, seems not only unrealistic, but outright unhealthy.

If it turns out that “for worse” comprises a good majority of the relationship, I don’t know that it’s a relationship I’d be willing to stay in. To say otherwise in front of our family and friends would be disingenuous to say the least.

Sorry, I did not mean to be offensive or dismissive of your beliefs. I was talking about time-limited legal marriages in my post. Certainly I have gone into relationships knowing that they wouldn’t be forever things and being okay with that. And I agree that if you aren’t going to be together forever but still want some benefits of marriage you might as well be honest with your partner and honest with yourself. It just wouldn’t be something that interests me.

As for why someone might not want the “husband/wife” lingo in the vows (aside from same-sex couples), many people, me included, think that the connotation of “wife” is tied up with the idea of servility. While “wife” should merely mean “female partner,” it carries more baggage than that to a lot of people. I also don’t like the phrases “my husband” or “my wife” (or even “my partner”), because it reduces a person to the level of a “job.” If I get married I will probably write the vows from scratch and avoid the whole issue of a relationship title anyway.

But I still think the vow in the OP is, like someone else said, a tautology. “I promise to love you until I don’t love you anymore”? The vow in malkavia’s post reads a lot better and makes more sense. I wouldn’t have any objection to reading those vows.