Bemoaning Commitment-Challenged Relationships

According to yesterday's AP article about South Carolinian first lady Jenny Sanford:
South Carolina's first lady says her wedding was a "leap of faith" because Gov. Mark Sanford, who famously cheated on her with a woman he described as his soul mate, did not want to include a vow of fidelity in their marriage ceremony.
The article also gives these insights from the governor's wife:
Not having a vow of faithfulness "bothered me to some extent, but ... we were very young, we were in love," Jenny Sanford tells Walters. "I questioned it, but I got past it."
"With the benefit of the knowledge I have about Mark now, I could point to this moment as a clear sign of things to come," she writes. But at the time, she found his honesty "brave and sweet" and thought he just had cold feet.
I am not sure what to make of this idea that what one says in the marriage vows are an indicator of things to come. I do think that the words "till death do us part" are difficult for some to say in this day of commitment-phobic individuals.

I think that, because of the prevalence and normalcy of divorce, many young people have difficulty embracing the idea of permanency and fidelity in marriage. Some might say that folks like this are simply being honest about their fears about the future while some might say that such people are not ready for marriage.

Of course there is another aspect to coupled-life these days.. many people do not marry but choose to live together.. this seems to be the an alternative that my generation normalized and ushered in to our culture. One could say that this temporary state of couple-hood is a bit more honest than someone who wants to say marriage vows that do not include words of fidelity or permanency.

Did I really say that? Of course I do not endorse living together before you are married. In the same sense I do not endorse entering into marriage with the idea that you can always divorce if things do not work out. I think that commitment is the word that is sadly lacking from each relationship scenario.

I have taken marriage vows twice.. the first vows ended when death did us part. I believe that marriage is a permanent relationship. Yet I do understand that divorce can happen even when the vows are filled with heartfelt fidelity and permanence. I just think that commitment to fidelity in times of difficulty and hardship is a good thing even if one does follow through on those vows. What do you think? Any stories to share?


  1. Yes, the big word is Committment!! I have to laugh because after 50 years of ministry, my husband says he'd rather do a funeral than a wedding. The funeral is final.... and you never know about a marriage. It's always sad for us in ministry when a couple we brought together in marriage, find it necessary to divorce later on. All in God's hands.
    Love the be in all marriage vows. ha ha ha.

  2. Personally, I don't believe there is a relationship between one's vows and how the marriage will end up. Vows are easy to say but often impossible to live up to, particularly, when it comes to the traditional "promises" to love the other until death do us part. Committment is an "ideal" which I believe we should all "strive for" but more often than not past experiences and lack of self awareness regading how the past effects the present often comes into play...and...disallusionment, emotional pain, and loss of hope creep in. I don't mean to sound so cynical but marriage is the biggest challenge a human being can ever face and it takes a whole lot of grace, patience, will, ability to compromise, and the inner strength to face one's personal demons along the way...and...requires the power of the "spirit of God"...and for those who are able to stay together consider it a miracle.

  3. I would have said "sorry dude, I am not marrying you, you have "cheater" written all over you".

  4. P.S. I agree with everything you wrote in your post!

  5. Thanks all for sharing. I have seen a lot of relationships break up (both the married and the unmarried ones). I agree with what Wanda said - it is heart breaking to witness. I also agree with what Bill offered - "marriage is the biggest challenge a human being can ever face and it takes a whole lot of grace, patience, will, ability to compromise, and the inner strength to face one's personal demons along the way...and...requires the power of the "spirit of God"".

  6. Neither my nor my wife's vows contained promises of fidelity nor of life-long commitments. That was a conscious choice on both our parts. We considered such promises to be unrealistic. We were in our twenties and couldn't possibly know who we'll be nor what our circumstances will be. Not to mention, based on shear probability there's only a 50-50 chance our marriage would end in anything other than divorce. There's even less of a chance of perpetual monogamy.

    Heck, we were more hesitant to apply for a mortgage than to get married. 30 years of payments? Now that's a commitment.

    Of course, the fact that we're both secular has a lot to do with this more casual approach to marriage. For us, it carries absolutely no spiritual significance. Our promises to each other were before our loved ones, not before any deity.

    Ironically, we believe it's this realistic approach to marriage that has made our relationship so strong. We've been together for almost - wow - 12 years (I know, I know; but that's a long time when one of us aren't even thirty yet).

  7. @sid - I love your story! Your marriage seems to have a strong level of honesty and transparency. Kudos to you and best wishes for many more years of bliss.


I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.