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Wedding Vows-Till Death Do Us Part, What Do They Really Mean

Updated on July 30, 2014

Types of wedding vows

Orthodox church wedding vows

Protestant Church wedding vows

Presbyterian church wedding vows

Muslim wedding vows

Civil/Court wedding vows

Traditional wedding vows

Secular wedding vows

Personal wedding vows

The most important aspect of a wedding is the exchange of marital vows during g the wedding ceremony; the occasion although festive has a very serious rite that should be fulfilled. Wedding vows are tailored to address the issue of infidelity, trust companionship and combined enterprise because two separate individuals most work at building a happy family.

Wedding vows are said according to customary laws with slight variation according to the region and accepted law, they are binding until death or divorce. Vows can be said during religious marriages, traditional marriages, secular marriages and customary marriages which is an integral part of the customary ceremony.

Vows can also be self written but would only form part of the accepted vows recognized by law and might be heart felt but not binding according to law. Wedding vows are the most important part of any wedding ceremony without them the couples are not legally married in the eyes of the law or God. It is a solemn commitment to work together in love throughout your lifetime.

Traditional wedding vows have specific wordings in their context like love, cherish, faithfulness and commitment till death do us part, but secular wedding allow both bride and groom choose their words. Traditional vows are recognized under the law due to their deliberate wordings and craft while personalized words though heart felt might carry only emotional feelings and might merely be symbolic.

Wedding vows

Wedding vows
Wedding vows | Source

Old married couple

Old married couple
Old married couple | Source

What is the reason for the wedding vow?

The reason behind the vow hinges on a sacred promise or commitment between two consenting adults to a union that is binding by law and recognized by God. The vow should have a witness to this arrangement that is why when two love birds decide to tie the nut in secret the officiating person provides a stranger to witness the union.

Marriage is serious business with loads of challenges both financially emotionally and physically so saying the vows before God gives the couple a focus and promise to weather the storms of life together. If there are unforeseen troubles and tribulations the meaning of the words exchanged becomes true and binding on the new family.

The vow elicits compromise, character, endurance and true love against the storms of life in good and bad times. Wedding vows are sacrosanct, sacred and important in any marriage because it not only recognizes the union before God and the law but is binding on both parties.

Family and Friends can witness Vows

Family and Friends can witness Vows
Family and Friends can witness Vows | Source

Who is eligible to witness an exchange of wedding vows?

As stated earlier a wedding vow should have at least one witness to become binding on the couple but who is eligible to witness an exchange of vows. The exchange of vows can be witnessed by any adult, group of adults, a stranger, friends and family members.

It is important for the families of both parties to be involved in this sacred vow as the bride and groom vow to support, love and cherish each other throughout their lives. Some of us observed our parents take those vows seriously building their family around good morals, forthrightness and love.

Infidelity was rare and compromise and absolute dedication to the nuclear family a thing of pride, no to mention communal living and neighborly love. In this present time such stellar values have long been forgotten with lust for money, domestic violence, carnal lust and infidelity the order of the day.

Many newly married couples at the slight sign of conflict and financial challenges go to the courts stating irreconcilable differences as a reason to end the marriage, sometimes with the hope of finding a better partner. No two marriages are the same and each requires a unique perspective, sound planning and love, external influences, lack of patience and mistrust are a few reasons marriages fail early.

The secret to a long happy married life is compromise and communication with both parties willing to build a home together. The wedding vows are to guide marriages in times of strife, difficulty and hardship to weather the problems together through love and commitment.

A pool on vows

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When can the vows be broken?

In Christian faith the vows said before God in front of an officiating minister should be binding till death, but we know religion is based on faith. What do you do when you suddenly discover you are married to a brutal character or psycho do you stay married? Not in a million years.

There are many pardonable wrongs like infidelity, abuse and lies but when issues like beating and domestic violence comes into the picture then the victim should have a rethink. Many women and men have fulfilled the death part of the vow because they stayed with a violent partner instead of running for dear life. Sometimes the family might misjudge the situation especially in Africa and say go back to your husband with very catastrophic results.

Marriage can be wonderful and rewarding as the couple grows old together making new memories and nurturing their children to greater heights. But making a vow and commitment to the union should not extent to extreme pain, suffering and even death.

If you are in an abusive marriage seek help through family intervention or professional assistance but after all said and done if the situation remains the same park your bags and hit the road don’t become a statistic. A lifetime of pain, suffering, rejection and loneliness is not worth a few words on paper that’s why the same law allows divorce.

Church wedding

Church wedding
Church wedding | Source

Religious wedding vows

In some countries religious wedding vows supersede any other marriage vows; it is binding and can only be dissolved according to the tenets of that religion. Getting married under religious doctrines for some couples is the most important marriage.

Some of such religious marriages apart from the spiritual element are occasioned by the taking of vows and a certificate of union. The certificate might or might not be recognized by law depending on the laws of that particular country.

Religious vow are serious occasions because such vows are said and professed within the tenants of that religion. Some religions allow divorce like telling the woman I divorce you a number of times making it binding, others do not tolerate divorce under any circumstance.

Weddings and Vows

type of vows
Religious weddings
love and cherish
sickness and health
richer and poorer
non- denominational

Wedding vows

Wedding vows
Wedding vows | Source

Traditional wedding vows

Traditional marriages and vows

Traditional wedding in this context is based on ancient traditions -the vows are harder to break because in some regions traditional vows are more recognized by the practitioners than the law. Although some traditional marriages are not ideally supported by the law the law courts still allow redress when divorce is eminent.

The reasons traditional wedding vows are difficult to break are other elements that has to do with family pride, ancestral practices, dowry and other pointers. Some traditional marriages and vows are very easy to end and might only require the returning of a dowry or bride price for a divorce to be accepted.

Africans like others take traditional marriage vows very seriously and in some cases do not recognize a court marriage even after customary laws have been fulfilled. So the couple might have to go through both customary marriage and traditional marriage, this is commonplace and generally accepted.

A church wedding in the church of England

Different religious wedding vows

There are many religious wedding vows like the Catholic wedding vows, Episcopal wedding vows, Muslim wedding vows, Protestant wedding vows, Orthodox wedding vows and many others.

Most religious wedding vows follow universally accepted parameters such as a reference to the two people getting married a vow of promise of care even through health and sickness. Other words might include honor and love, better or worse, richer or poorer, to cherish till death do us part all according to Gods ordinance.

Muslims reflect more on the meaning of marriage and a couples responsibility to each other after which an agreed consent between both individuals to marriage. The vow is usually an acknowledgement of marriage, an emphasis on honesty, better for worse, for sickness and health in faith.

Wedding vows

The wedding vow is the singular most important declaration that is binding on both couples this usually is followed by a certificate of marriage. Wedding vows are important in religious ceremonies, traditional marriages, customary weddings and secular marriages and is a reminder and pledge to each other.

The taking of wedding vows is a memorable occasion that has profound meaning and significance to the marriage, it is a reminder of their promise to each other till death do us part.


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    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Nice write-up on wedding vows. Unfortunately, infidelity, abuse etc. sometimes makes it difficult for some to honor their wedding vows.

      God hates divorce. So, as the good book says, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" Romans 12:18

      Voted up and interesting.


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