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Not ‘I do’, ‘I will’

I've just realised my Thursday re-post was something I had already reposted just 6 months ago.  Sorry about that.  That really is cheating.  Here - have something that didn't make it into the marriage course on Monday.

Dita Von Teese (whose marriage to Marilyn Manson lasted one year) said this about marriage vows:

I love the ritual of being married but if I married again I'd change the vows from 'Til death us do part' to 'I'm really in love with you right now.'

Which is yet another reason why I'm glad I made my marriage vows in the form "I will".

Is it true, my American friends, that you usually use the form "I do" for wedding vows?  Is that really the best form for a covenant oath?

But really, I'm in no position to judge.  I used the Book of Common Prayer vows for my wedding, which involves the promise to 'worship' my wife.  I distinctly remember Tim VB talking me into this.  I kept saying "But Tim, aren't there commandments against this?" And he just said "Nah, do it!"

I'm easily led astray.

What about you, did you vow anything interesting to your spouse?


0 thoughts on “Not ‘I do’, ‘I will’

  1. Heather

    I honestly don't remember how we worded our vows. Guess I could pull out the incriminating video evidence.

    Had a few thoughts, though.

    1. Why in the world would you reference a quote from someone who'd agree to marry Marylin Manson? Is it surprising that the union was dissolved so soon? Was there expectation that these people actually have an understanding of what marriage represents and possess a desire to honor that picture? I just was wondering...

    2. "I do" might be a common American wording. And, it might be a problem if the promise that the vows represent gets left at the altar when the couple departs the chapel.

    However, if the promise is one that is lived on a daily basis, then "I do" can be the perfect way to continue on with what was started 2 months, 10 or even 50 years previous. For instance, TODAY, "I do" still promise to love, honor, obey etc my husband. God only expects me to live in today, so I figure that this is an acceptable attitude even as I intend to keep that promise into whatever future we might encounter

    3 . As a one time pronouncement, "I will" might be preferable. It suggests a forward-looking agreement to remain together.

    However, as a person applies this verbal promise to "today", it also might leave an out for someone who isn't willing to make things work in the moment. For instance, TODAY, my spouse is behaving horribly. " I will" eventually remember to love, honor, obey etc him when he remembers his promise to me.

    I dunno. You could insist that people say both.

    But really, I don't think the problem is so much with the wording as it is with the fact that the marriage covenant itself is so lightly esteemed, even in Christian circles. There's also the fact that so few people today really think about our yes simply needing to be "yes" as we insist on signed documents, a roomful of witnesses and so forth.

  2. Duane

    Hi Glen!

    22 1/2 years ago now we were skeptical of the "obey" word vowed by the bride, at least in the traditional American wedding vows. We substituted the king James language "Submit". I don't know if it made any difference in time or eternity, but I thought it was important at the time.


  3. Duane

    Hey again!

    I just read Heather's comment.
    As I recall, the "I do" is in response to the questions "Do you promise to love, honor cherish etc. as long as you both shall live?"
    "I Do"
    So for me I think of it as rephrasing "I will".

    Your point is not lost Glen. Marriage is permanent.
    In Christ's economy, relationships are permanent.


  4. Otepoti

    Dimly, I remember rejecting the idea of our writing our own vows (regrettably popular then and now, and offered by our trendy-pants minister) on the grounds that it wasn't what we thought about marriage that matters, but what God thinks about it.

    I can't remember a word of the vows we did make.
    Can't remember the pre-marriage counselling, either.

    Dita von Teese was not mentioned though.

  5. Glen

    Just to be clear - I read the Von Teese quote in a reputable Sunday newspaper!

    And Duane, yes I think the 'obey' is the counterpart to 'worship' in the Book of Common Prayer vows. And 6 1/2 years ago we figured if I was going to worship, Emma could obey. We're both trying to figure out what it all means!

  6. Tim V-B

    Funny, I don't remember saying that at all! I think I'd say the same today, though :)

    While on the theme of exalting my own inestimable wisdom, I was glad to see you managed to get my "Cucumbers or Christ" sermon title into you recent Church in the Wilderness sermon. I haven't preached it yet, still waiting!

  7. Anonymous

    As a nerdy lawyer, I got terribly worried about saying "I will" (when I recognised that I was potentially vowing to do a whole load of things that, being a fallen person, I'd fail to do every day).

    I offered to say "I will use reasonable endeavours to..." - but it's not quite as romantic is it?

    A wise head pointed out to me that there's lots of things implied into liturgy. (Not unlike when people promise to follow Christ at their baptism - will they really do that, wholehearedly and day-in-day-out?)

    Sometimes it's only by seeing how unable we are to live up to such promises that we realise how much we depend on Jesus our substitute.

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