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Why do they stand up there and say that when they are just lying?

That extra-long title is courtesy of my nine-year-old and was something she uttered during "Say Yes to the Dress" on Friday evening. I watch very little reality TV, but I make an exception for this show because I like to look at the dresses. And sometimes, the stories are heart-warming.

Typically at the end of the show, a snippet of a wedding is aired. In this particular show, a woman who was confined to a wheelchair was exchanging vows with her fiance. After the two of them finished, J made her comment. I asked her what she meant as I must have been on the computer while the TV was on, and she explained that because so many people just get divorced, why do they even say "as long as we both shall live"?

That is tough one, kid.

I tried with what I thought was a sound explanation: Most of the people who get married truly believe they will be together the rest of their lives, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. But if you don't think that you will be together for your earthly days going in (or if it is not at least your aspiration), then isn't it kind of silly/stupid/risky to take the plunge? Marriage should not be treated like a date, though I am fairly certain that a small percentage of people are focused only on the actual wedding, so to them, it may just be a glorified (and often ridiculously expensive) prom.

I am curious to know how many of those who ever marriedboth currently married and divorcedtruly believed that it was going to be forever. My guess is that the majority of those who are still married and a minority of those who are no longer together meant those words on their wedding day. As for the others, perhaps some were hoping it would work out but were not sure it would. Others yet probably knew they were making a mistake, but figured it was too late to back out (I know of some people in this boat) And maybe some really did not put much thought into those words. (Of course, I have no statistics to support any of this.)

I don't remember much of the vows during my wedding almost 13.5 years ago. The only part that I can still hear myself saying, in pretty much the exact, somewhat emphatic yet pleasant voice/tone I said it in, was "I will love you." I don't recall what came before or after that, but I meant those words. And I still do, even though sometimes the hubby and I drive each other crazy and wonder what in the world we were thinking! :-)

Bri and I may not be soul mates (I don't "believe" in that), but as I tell J, we are determined to try to make it work because marriage is not something we took or take lightly.

How about you? Did you think about the "as long as we both shall live/all the days of our lives/til death do us part" phrase and mean it? Were they just words? Were you hopeful, certain, or kind of worried?

Maybe there needs to be a show called "Say Yes to the Marriage" because isn't that what is most important?

Comments

Ooh, I love this. It seems like there are so many stories these days about marriages that don't even last a few months, let alone a few years. I can certainly see where your daughter's skepticism comes from.

My husband and I wrote our own vows and "'til death do us part" wasn't among them. But, like you, we promised our own version of richer/poorer/sickness/health. It hasn't always been easy; then again, what's ever worthwhile that is?
bluzdude said…
Between the time we got engaged and our wedding date, (during which we bought a house and moved in together), I developed a certain sense that things were not going to be as rosy as I might have liked.

Her 8-yr old son was already becoming a big problem, as I learned that they really didn't like each other and fought constantly. I underestimated the degree to which I'd get sucked up in all that.

As W Day grew near, I definitely had reservations, but by then, I was in way too deep to back out. So I plunged forward with a forced sense of optimism. I thought I could straighten everyone out with a little patience and common sense.

We lasted 3 years... Live and learn.
Anonymous said…
Like you, I'd like to think most people at least hope it is going to last. I took my vows seriously, but I was not one of those 'Oh, I am so in love' girls who just knew her man was her destiny. Honestly, I kind of want to gag when I hear people say things like that. Part of that comes from jealousy. If someone asked me would I do it all over again, I would probably say no, only say yes because of the kids. This is not to say I don't love my spouse. It has been a rocky road more so than I anticipated. Maybe I had only one eye open.
Facie said…
Kristen: That is nice that you wrote your own vows. I would have loved to have done that, but I am pretty sure the Catholic church would have frowned on that. True 'dat about worthwhile things not being easy.
Facie said…
Bluz: Your story reminded me of a guy I know who for quite some time was having reservations about his upcoming wedding. At a wedding that was about nine months before his, during the vow exchange, he said out loud, "I don't want to get married." I am not even sure he knew he said it (and I don't remember if his fiancee heard him, but I sure did!).

I normally would never tell someone not to get married, even if I thought it was wrong, but I (and others) told him to really think about it/be sure. I recall saying something like if he had this much doubt for this many months, it would be best to call it off, particularly before the invites went out (at this point dresses had been purchased, deposits were made, etc.). With about three months to go, he called it off, and many years later he went on to marry someone else, and they have been married for almost a decade. All that said, I think if he would have married the first person, he would/could have made it work.

I also know of someone else (secondhand info) who had doubts, and her father told her just before he walked her down the aisle that she could back out. She chose not to, and the marriage lasted less than a year.

I totally get thinking you are in too deep. I am so glad I was not in that position. Of course, hubby and I did get into a fight on our wedding night (I often forget about that), so not sure that is much better! :-)
Facie said…
Anonymous: I would also love to know how many of the people who really believe they have married their soul mate/the person who is perfect for them are still together. I can understand wanting to gag when people say that, but for me it is more of a sadness. Still, I can remember during an Oscar (or something else) acceptance speech when Jim Carrey said he would slay a dragon for Lauren Holly. I really felt as if they had this special love. But, like most Hollywood couples, they did not last that long. Knowing that even people who seem to have a storybook romance don't always make it makes me feel better!

I am sorry that your road has been rocky. I suspect that is the case for many people, particularly ones who are independent and realistic. Refer to Kristen's comment above. :-)
chris h. said…
Great post, Facie. I lived with someone for 8 years but we did not walk down the aisle...I think because we knew in our hearts it wasn't right/wouldn't work. When I did get married, I felt very confident that it WAS right and WOULD work. You definitely have to trust your heart/instincts and not get all caught up in the wedding (love the prom analogy -- so true).
Mel said…
this is a tough one. I don't think there's only one person for everyone. and I think most of the time, staying married is an intentional choice to keep a promise. it's work. the people who say it isn't are either incredibly rare or lying. some days it is fun; some days, to quote Jerry Maquire, it is a "pride-swallowing siege." I went in from the Christian, this-is-a-covenant perspective, so I'm in it for keeps unless he cheats, beats me, or dies. and honestly, if he goes first, I like to believe I'll be content to be single. I can only tell every young person I know, BE SURE b/c this is hard and it's forever, if you do it right. the people who aren't in it until the end of one of their lives, probably shouldn't do it at all.

some good topics of late, facie! got people talking!
Facie said…
Chris: I think being able to walk away is both smart and brave. Too many times you see people who are together so long that they just figure they might as well get married, particularly b/c they have so much time invested. Glad you felt right about Mike!
Facie said…
Mel: I love your quote: "It's work. The people who say it isn't are either incredibly rare or lying." I have said similar things, but I also add that a lot of the rare ones seem to suffer in other ways, so I am glad they have that special relationship. And then there are those that have such a sunny disposition and are able to always to see the good that they can overlook the things that bug most of the rest of us.

Your comment of "be sure" is right on. Years ago, from when I compiled marriage quotes for a book, one contribution has always stuck in my mind: Marry the right person to begin with. Amen!

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