Vow of Obedience — In Marriage?
I’m collecting my thoughts for an article about marriage vows. What do you think–what happened to the woman’s vow of obedience? It just seems to have faded with the emergence of women’s suffrage. Did it ever exist? What was the justification for it? Is it only a cultural attitude?
Anyone keep a copy of their EXACT wedding vows? It would be nice to assemble a list that collectively spans all demographic categories.
All one has to do is research the many different Churches and municipalities to locate their versions of marriage vows. I regret having vowed to obey in my first marriage because my now anulled husband was not a Christian, so he gave a rip about our vows except when he wanted to play games. My understanding now, including from the Catholic Rite of Holy Matrimony is tha saying “obey” by the woman IS OPTIONAL. In my past desire to be a good wife I had chosen foolishly to say “obey”, and I meant it. In my opinion that verbage would be nicely balanced on the groom’s side of the vows by saying, “I promise to give myself up for you/sacrafice myself for you as Christ sacraficed himself up for the Church, even unto death.” Only that fair and balanced promise from any future groom could come close to tempting me to promise to obey ever again. Now, as far as the Church and State are required to agree upon for valid marriage vows is tha both parties-I am speaking of a man and a woman here-present themselves freely and without reservation, and agree to be married together exclusively. In the movie Cold Mountain, Nicole Kidman and Jude Law dispensed with the formalities due to it being in the midst of the Civil War and
…and according to even Father Corapi plus RCIA instructors, all that is needed for a marriage or even a Baptism to ne valid is the agreement of the two parties involved- except that the Baptizer must needs be a validly Baptized Christian to administer the Sacrament. Those are the minimum standards. This is why the Church can “Convalidate” a marriage that was begun licitly by the State. I, personally, objoct to The State needing to be in the Marriage BUSINESS at all. It had thrown a gigantic monkey wrench into the possibility of record keeping and mainenance by The Catholic Church, not to mention those Protestant Churches whic have closed. In this instance The State is assisting The Church de-facto, but without The Church, State marriage licensesare merely a matter of Civil Unions that assist with taxation and census records at best and for births and deaths at least. What matters most about marriage vows is thatvthey are sincerely given and received by each heterosexual union which includes the intention to live together as husband and wife until natural death when their marriage is dissolved by their Creator, God.
This link will take you to the accepted forms of vows in the US. We had option A of the recited vows. These norms for the Rite were established in 1969. Believe it or not the “obey” part has never been a part of the Catholic Wedding mass or even that of the Anglican church but the Episcopalian church but even they got rid of it in 1922. So it’s roots are actually in Protestantism. http://www.catholicweddinghelp.com/topics/text-rite-of-marriage-mass.htm#consent Even Wikipedia explains it.
I like to think that obedience is not necessary in a serious relationship like marriage, although I am not and have never been married. I’d like to think that cooperation between spouses is the key, instead of “I’m the final say” kind of dominance. Perhaps that’s too idealistic. My father used to tell my brothers and me that in a family as in other organizations, there has to be someone who has the final say, in case there is deadlock and final disagreement. But in practice I’m not sure he ever applied that principle.
The best comment I have so far was made by a male single friend over the phone last night, paraphrased but very close: “Uh, yeah, isn’t there a scripture about that? It goes like wives obey your husbands … but I forget what the guy is supposed to do.” Hah, but isn’t that just the PERFECT stereotypical male response? Sorry ladies, I take the second half serious but I do find this terribly funny in a sick sort of way.
I think (without reading the link, as I have had many debates on this particular issue) that Ephesians 5:22, says, “Wives obey/submit yourselves to your husbands, and Husbands, Love your wives as Christ Loves his Church.” I did not read the… verse at this moment, but I know it is this verse, and basically says this. This does NOT mean for wives to be “doormats” and not speak their own individual opinions, nor does it mean to give the husband every authority of every single decision making. It means, I think, in my opinion, for the wife to allow her husband to be “head” of his house and family, as Saint Joseph was the head of the Holy family. It means, allow and give, with a happy gentle heart, Leadership to her husband for major decision and still to work together as a “team.” For Husbands to Love their wives as Christ loves his church, this is solid statement that says, no being abusive! Jesus loves his church – he is the Groom and we are his Brides. He loves it when we visit him in Adoration and Holy Mass and dine with him in Holy Eucharist.
You know, it seems to me that a woman who is trying to be godly can recognize when her man loves her above all things like he should (real love not simply emotional feel-good love) and she would have no problem assenting to his authority over her.
In my opinion, the best and most thorough explanation of Ephesians 5:21-32, is stated in the link below: Session 10 of a series of talks presented by Fr. John Riccardo from September, 2010 to March, 2011, based on the Theology of the Body, a series of lectures given by Pope John Paul II during his Wednesday audiences between 1979 – 1984.
Fr John speaks about the Christian marriage “the core of Christian life is humility and servanthood” marriage, “…a relationship that is joyful, voluntary, free and a thankful partnership” The “wife as a free and responsible person… subordinate yourself to your husband… as someone who is equal, absolutely, in dignity to your husband, choose willinging and voluntarily to place yourself under his loving care.” Pope John Paul II states that “that the wife’s submission above all is the experiencing of love” to which Fr. John continues to say, this submission can only be done when the woman has proof from the man that she can trust him completely and thus willingly surrender herself to him.