The Meaning of Vows


03/11/2011

The Meaning of Vows

Traditionally a vow is a promise made to God. It is a binding promise requiring the fulfillment of some positive duty. Between men, it is a man’s word, given in solemnity in order to induce another’s trust. It is evidence that the vow giver can be depended upon. If a man should break his word he proves himself untrustworthy and damages his reputation. This results in a breakdown of mutual confidence which is essential to the existence of any agreement or trust between parties. Hence the expression a man without his word is nothing.

In the context of a wedding, a vow is an exchange of promises between the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. In Western society this promise has traditionally included declarations of affection conveying an enduring intention to comfort, keep, cherish and love. There is also emphasis on fidelity, typically a pledge to remain faithful and forsake all others. Additionally there will be reference to the unconditional nature of the vow. It is a selfless and unwavering commitment to keep the promises made no matter what - whether rich or poor and in sickness and health. Lastly there are elements of permanence that convey the magnitude and scope of the promises made. Typically couples vow to uphold their promises ‘til death do us part’ or ‘for the rest of my life’.

Whether you write your own vows or rely on traditional vows provided by a celebrant, elements of affection, faithfulness, unconditional commitment and permanence can help convey the most heartfelt and sincere promises.
 


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