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July 23, 2005
Sometimes And Whenever

Fox News reports this morning on a trend in weddings that not only demonstrates the slide away from commitment in our culture, but the erosion of confidence in what used to provide the apex of optimism in the confluence of private and community living. Instead of vowing to remain together "until death do us part," nuptials now include such tenuous promises as "until our time together is over":

Vows like "For as long as we continue to love each other," "For as long as our love shall last" and "Until our time together is over" are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.

"We're hearing that a lot 'as long as our love shall last.' I personally think it's quite a statement on today's times people know the odds of divorce," said New Jersey wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of "Your Special Wedding Vows," who adds that the rephrasing is also part of a more general trend toward personalizing vows.

This trend is nothing new. Not long ago, a friend pointed out a news article about a London jeweler who crafts wedding rings in incomplete circles -- allowing the wearer a symbolic way out of their marriage. The problem isn't marriage -- it's a failure to support commitment.

The problem that most couples have when they get married is the illusion of love, that romantic love forms the core of the relationship. It doesn't. Romantic love provides a bond that seals the relationship so commitment can form, but commitment is the core of any marriage that hopes to succeed. Romance comes and goes many times over the course of a marriage, and commitment keeps it together during the lulls.

Vows that deliberately remove the commitment from the marriage transform marriage into a convenience instead of a covenant. Even if one does not believe in the religious aspects of marriage, the legal and social aspects of marriage create ties to the community. Marriage failures create tremendous stress in society, especially where children are involved. Those commitments can't be avoided by cutting holes in rings or swapping vows for transient thoughts of infatuation.

The First Mate and I volunteer our time to a Christian-based marriage support organization, Marriage Encounter. We have served on the board for several years and now have the privilege of serving as the President Couple of the board. We try to help people realize their potential in their marriages by stressing commitment, both to themselves and to God, and to assist them in building better communication skills for conflict resolution. We have done this since 1999, but the organization has provided these weekends for thirty-three years in the Twin Cities.

This weekend we are filling in at the last minute for a Marriage Encounter weekend. Hopefully, at some point we will get a chance to see these couples to reverse some of the damage the commitment-phobic society has inflicted.

Michelle Malkin, who first posted about this, celebrates her 12th wedding anniversary this weekend. Happy anniversary to the Malkins, who graciously opened their home to the First Mate and I on our visit to DC earlier this month. The Anchoress also has her perspective on this, a must read.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 23, 2005 11:32 AM

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» Marriage in Temporary Vows from The Anchoress
When a nun or monk has advanced from the novice stage, they make what are called “first vows” or “temporary vows” - vows to continue to live according to the Rules and precepts of the community to which they belong, for a set ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 23, 2005 12:49 PM

» "Death do us part" vows from blastfurnacecanada
"Death do us part" vows now not p.c. (Please comment) [Read More]

Tracked on July 23, 2005 3:21 PM

» On Marriage from Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
In case i didn't mention it during all my ramblings, I've been married 23 years to my wife who I met in Korea while service in 1983. Not much to add what Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed and the Anchoress have made all the good points. I can only ad... [Read More]

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» Replacing "Till Death" with "Till it's Too Much Hassle" in Marrage from Truth Out Loud
Here we see the continued institutionalization of phony commitment blazing a trail to the death of marriage and healthy families. It's no wonder no one will defend marriage when there are so few true believers. In some weddings, "'til death... [Read More]

Tracked on July 23, 2005 10:37 PM

» I'm No Longer Horny, So I'm Leaving from Common Folk Using Common Sense
A solid marriage is the cornerstone of a family. A strong family is the cornerstone of society. Therefore a weakened marriage creates a weakened society. [Read More]

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» Vows & Committment from
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» Marriage "Till the Seat Stayeth Down" from Imago Dei
I teach an adult Sunday School class on marriage and family, and every year or so we go through the traditional marriage vows and unpack the deep principles contained in them. Considering the current state of marriage in our culture, [Read More]

Tracked on July 25, 2005 10:19 PM

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