By Francis Ewherido
In the course of my encounters with some young adults preparing for marriage, I am often amazed at their prioritization. So much emphasis is placed on wedding apparels, venue and decorations, food and drinks, gifts, etc. to the detriment of fundamentals like prayers, learning how to be a good spouse, contemplating on parenthood, and the vows they are about to take.
Vows are to marriage what the skeleton is to the body. According to Livestrong.com the skeletal system provides the framework to which all the other tissues and organs attach forming the human body, just as our marital vows ought to provide the base or framework from which all our thoughts and actions spring forth sequel to marriage.
Livestrong.com lists five fundamental functions the skeleton performs in our body and there are correlations with marital vows.
i)Shape- the structure of the skeleton gives shape to the body; fidelity or otherwise to our marital vows shapes our marriages.
ii) Support and Protection- the skeleton provides support to the body and holds internal organs in their place. It also protects vital organs from damage. Faithfulness to our vows supports spouses emotionally, spiritually and otherwise and holds the marriage together. It protects spouses from heartbreaks, emotional trauma, and nervous breakdown.
iii) Movement- the skeletal bones attach to each other by ligaments and further attach to muscles by tendons thus working together to enable movement. Faithfulness to our vows moves our marriages from good to great and the best possible.
iv) Blood cell production and storage- Without blood a human being will die. Ignore your marital vows and your marriage is dead.
I cannot see any difference between skeleton and vows. While skeleton is associated with one person, vows are associated with two people who biblically become one after exchange of marital vows.
Let us now look at some of these vows and put them in perspective. “For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part”. A company executive was flying high in his career,he and his family had the good life. Then an error of judgement and everything came crashing; he neither invested nor delayed his gratification, he ran out of money soon after. Right now the good life is gone but his marriage is still very much intact. That is “for richer for poorer”.
A man noticed that his wife had become self-conscious since after a mastectomy operation as a result of breast cancer. But as far as he was concerned while the wife has lost major components of her womanhood, “the main the main” was still intact and available and he was satisfied with that. The husband’s contentment brought more healing to the wife than the cancer treatment and chemotherapy. That is “for better for worse.” Also a woman had breast cancer and was emitting an offensive odour; even her children could hardly stay around her, but her husband endured till God freed her from her pains. That is “till death do us part.”
Again, a young lady’s figure used to be the envy of other girls; it made men who beheld her drool and salivate. But after four kids she just lost the plot and piled on the weight. The husband who never liked fat women has had to adjust and continue loving and cherishing his wife. That is to “love and cherish”. Not that I encourage obesity with its health implications.
Also in his prime, this guy was a war horse. He could take a woman apart in bed and the wife lapped it all. A diagnosis of diabetes and the guy is now a shadow of himself. The wife has to stick to him and together find a way out. That is “in sickness and in health.”These might be extreme cases, but then Christian marriage is an extreme sport, there is little or no room for mental weakness, faint heartedness and fickle-mindedness.
Exchange of wedding vows is the peak of a Christian marriage ceremony. In fact, no wedding can be concluded without exchange of vows. Would-be Christian couples need to do a thorough self-examination and make up their minds to take the giant leap into matrimony. For those of us already in it, it is time for reappraisal. Would our marriages have been different if we had considered our marital vows as important as our skeletons and taken them more serious? It is not too late to make amends. This is one resolution I advise couples to make in 2014. Happy New Year in advance.