In marriage, How far should the vows, until death do you part or in sickness or in health, be taken?
When answering this questions: Think about the arguments to save the sanctity of marriage, the meaning of marriage, etc. If a man or a woman was aged and had Alzheimer's disease - should the spouse divorce? If a married couple were faced with one party being diagnosed with cancer, should the couple divorce? In what circumstances would you the reader think that in a situation as described above would divorce be okay or not okay?
I don't believe that there is one right type of marriage. Rather, I think it is best for the couple to choose consciously, thinking and feeling things through.
My wife chose the meaning "until death do us part," phrased as "until we enter the will of God," and we've been married 26 years, and are growing stronger together. We help friends and family, including caring for aging and dying parents.
Looking back, though, I might have chosen differently. For many years, conflict with my wife prevented me from doing my spiritual practices. I recommend couples answer these questions:
- What do you need so that you can live true to yourself, with or without a partner? Will your partner support you living true? Would you leave if he or she didn't?
- What is the purpose of marriage? What makes it more than a convenience? What is the value of staying through illness and poverty? Of knowing the other will stay through with you?
- What are your limits. Would you leave in case of adultery? In case of spouse or child abuse? In case of criminal conviction?
I believe that all marriage (including same-sex marriage and group marriage) is sacred, and can be kept sacred through the conscious choice of all parties.
As long as both parties in a marriage are still equally happy in the relationship they should remain married. If after trying they can not be happy together then they should not remain together. If I got cancer and my husband somehow loved me less I would want a divorce because that would mean he never really loved me to begin with. If an illness is a breaking point it usually would imply that the person who is ill would be better off without the other. I couldn't imagine wanting to divorce my husband if he became ill, unless my husband hits me or has an affair that somehow can not be worked through I hope to stay together until death.
Literally to the nth degree. The words speak for themselves and if you can't grasp that don't get married.
The vows should be taken very seriously. There is never a right time for divorce. You marry that person "in sickness and in health" "for better or for worse" 'til death do us part". If you cannot fulfill those vows, do not get married. Marriage is a serious commitment, not something to take lightly as it seems to be today. God's design is one man and woman joining together in holy matrimony for the rest of their days together. Now, of course if one dies, the other may remarry, but only if one passes on. How can one think of divorcing their partner due to illness? How selfish a thing to do!
In all honesty nothing is written in stone. Each of us has our own "deal breakers" for relationships and marriages. Anyone who does not probably suffers from low self-esteem or does not love themself. Some typical "deal breakers" are physical abuse, cheating, verbal abuse...etc Everyone gets to draw their own line in the sand when it comes to things they will not put up with.
With regard to illness it is not uncommon for someone to believe hypothetically they could handle a situation only to find out when it became a reality they simply weren't equiped to deal with it. Does it make them a bad or evil person? In my opinion the answer is no. They just miscalulated their abilities. None of us is perfect.
As for divorce that is up to the individuals in the marriage and their circumstances. I have heard of couples remaining married where the caretaker continues to aid their partner but also has an (open understanding) to date or see other people to address their other needs. Personally I think I'd rather my spouse divorce me and move on with their life. However as I stated earlier there is a big difference between hypothetical and life!
When one marries, you take the vows you mentioned - and they should be kept until death. To divorce someone because they are ill goes directly against the vow - in sickness and in health. I hope my husband stays healthy but if he fell ill I would want to be there for him. So honestly, I can't think of a situation like that where I would dump him for my own convenience.
If one's vows are not meant to be forever, then all one has is a marriage of convenience (excluding marital infidelity).
This, by the way, is what most American marriages are these days...marriages of convenience. They stay together as long as the getting is good, but when storm clouds appear, they are down the road looking for sunshine.
I take my marriage vows very seriously, so, unless my partner becomes abusive, I will obey them. However, If I were to develop Alzheimer's and couldn't recognize my husband, I would expect that he could get on with his life with my blessing, and he would wish me the same if the roles were reversed.
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