Marriage has been traditionally defined as a culturally recognized union between a male and a female that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. In recent years some states have legalized same-sex marriage and expanded the definition of marriage.
The oath that is taken is essentially something of the following wherein two individuals promise to be true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. They promise to love and honor each other all the days of their life and forsake all others.
Looking at the traditional religious wedding vows from across the world, the Hindu oath stood out to me because it showed a level of scrutiny had gone into what’s necessary to sustain a lifelong commitment to another person. It’s as follows:
- Let us take the first step to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
- Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers.
- Let us take the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use.
- Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness, and harmony by mutual love and trust.
- Let us take the fifth step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
- Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
- Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.
What’s admirable is that it shows a level of thought and reflection as to what a vow by maturing individuals should contain. It appears to be more reality-based than a union based on feelings and hormones. For example, the 4th step speaks of acquiring love as opposed to the presumption that we are in love with each other, so let’s get married. The 5th step also is remarkable because it speaks of the importance of “taking a step so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children.”
In general, the verbs, “acquire, provide, develop, increase, take a step, remain,” indicate that marriage is hard work and there should be an awareness and commitment that the two must be willing to work at it if the marriage is to survive for their lifetimes.
I’m not endorsing this as a model wedding vow, but I’m using it as a framework to examine how to build a strong marriage so that divorce isn’t an option. Hopefully, by doing so, the love that drew couples together, will keep them together and avoid the pain, hardships, abuse, depression, generational dysfunction, and scandals experienced not only for the couple but for the children (if they have them), as well as in-laws. Of note is that Hindus have the lowest divorce rates (5%) of all religious and non-religious groups. In upcoming posts, I will dig a little deeper into ways to prevent divorce and have harmony and peace in our lives.
You are loved, capable, intelligent, beautiful, and fearfully and wonderfully made! #God’s will is that you have an abundant, healthy and fulfilled life. I dare you to try him! If you like this post, please give me a thumbs up, comment, and brighten someone else’s day by sharing it.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25 NIV