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Till death us do part or till I don’t like you any more

I owe this post to the beautiful and interesting Raven Marie, who writes about why people promise to cleave unto each other till death do them part and then walk out because they don’t like the way he squeezes the toothpaste. After all, a promise is a promise. Why bother even to make one if you don’t feel bound by it? Does marriage MEAN anything any more?

When I got married I made a promise. I’d have to say I wasn’t serious about it, actually I was so not serious I could hardly get the words out for falling about laughing. Death us do part! You mean people actually SAY that??  And you expect me to repeat that with a straight face?

To me, at the time, it wasn’t a promise, it was just words you had to say.  So why GET married if I felt like that? I thought’d it be nice. I wanted to be independent from my parents. I loved him and I wanted to feel like I had more hold over him than just ‘oh yeah, he’s my boyfriend.” I wanted to call myself married. All sorts of REALLY dumb reasons. I was 20. not the kind of intelligent serious 20 that Raven Marie is, but a sort of mixed up vulnerable 20 who did things cause  ‘whatever’ before ‘whatever’ was even invented.

So NOW what do I think about marriage and promises? After all, I got divorced.

I think you can’t MAKE a promise to love someone forever – love comes and goes unbidden – and if you make a promise to stay with someone forever anyway, you’ve got to be pretty damn serious. Because if, five years into forever, you find that you can’t stand the sight of their face, that everything that’s fun about life is not THEM, that their arguments are puerile and you hate each other’s families – as I did –  you STILL have to stay with them for as long as you both shall live.  Why? Because you made a promise.

Maybe I should’ve thought about that before I married him. But it’s not possible to know what people are going to become, or to make a perfect judgement. Maybe I should have just stuck it out. But this was my  life, the only life I’m ever going to have. Was I going to make that one life, miserable unto death because I made a promise – and that promise made before I was even old enough or savvy enough to know what a promise really should be?

Well obviously for me the answer was no.  But then, these days, I don’t promise what I can’t deliver, and I know I can’t promise to stay with someone no matter what till the end of our days. I can say I’ll try, and that’s the best I get.  I still like the idea of marriage and if my soulmate asked me I’d accept with alacrity  (if I had a bloody soulmate that is!)  BUT I’d modify the vows.  My vows would go something like this:

I vow to remain married to you till death us do part or till I really really don’t like you any more.

Doesn’t sound quite so romantic somehow.

Postscript: my ex is actually a nice guy. For me, sadly, a living death to be married to, but a sweet man to be divorced from.

About butimbeautiful

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18 responses »

  1. I’m probably showing my age, and also my parent’s preferences for all things ABC (Aust Govt owned TV network), but I used to love watching ‘To Death Us Do Part’ with Alf Garnett… Mainly cause I think I was the only one who actually got it… My dad wouldn’t have watched it or let me watch it if he’d realised what the show was really about…

    P.S. loved the post by the way, and yep I mouthed the same words and I’m still alive but divorced…

  2. PostModernSingle

    I’ve never been able to wrap around making a promise that binding for my future self to another person’s future self. I can promise to love someone today and promise to try tomorrow. And I don’t think I’d believe anyone who promised to do more. It’s best intentions not reality.

  3. Thanks for the link to my post. And as I’ve stated before in a previous comment, I love learning from those that are older and wiser-so thank you. Also, although you called me “intelligent” and “serious”, I will admit that I’m still very naive. I still have so much to learn and am still ignorant in the fact that I believe in fairy tales. I want so much for it to be “till death do us part” and to believe that people will always remain in love with one another. I believe in having only one true love. Yea, I’ve got a lot of growing up to do.

    • Thanks Raven. We’re all naive when we’re young, it’s a necessary and beautiful part of being young, to believe in things. Even I still believe in things,I’m just more careful now. You gotta have dreams, even if sometimes they don’t come true – and I hope yours will!

  4. I read this while on vacation because try as I might, I just can’t remain parted from my wordpress friends. This is exactly what I have been feeling but couldn’t quite put into words. Excellent post!!

  5. NormalDeviations

    Heh. Reminds me of the old Meatloaf song, “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.”

    One of the observations I made years ago was that American (not sure if this applies to even similar cultures, much less radically different ones, thus the qualifier) marriage is treated like a game of Russian roulette. Like many people view marriage as a case of “I’ll be with you until you cross the line (whatever that line might be) and screw up, then all bets are off.” It doesn’t take into account that people are simply human, will screw up, and will change… and, like you basically said, people don’t always change together.

    Plus, “till death do us part” is big blanket statement and I really, really dislike absolutes. =)

    • Australian marriage too I think. I guess it’s one of those conflicting wants things, people want security from others ‘you’ll be there when I get cancer’, AND they want to be able to get out themselves if the going gets too hard.

  6. Kourtney Heintz

    I think the ancient Celts had a better concept. They did a handfastening for a year and a day. At that point you could dissolve the union or continue it. A promise of “Til Death Do Us Part” seems impossible to keep. Not sure why those words were put in. Perhaps it comes from a time when people died young so that was only say 5 years of commitment?

    • Yeah, I like that Celtic idea. That’s an interesting take on ’till death etc’. i always thought it was because the Church had said marriage was for life, for religious reasons.

  7. marriage needs lots of love and sacrifices. 🙂
    its not my pot of soup, thats why i did not married.

  8. Some people really mean it when they say “death do us part”…unfortunately, they hardly ever find each other.


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