In this journey of detoxing from church, I often challenge myself to openly examine any and all religious teachings and practices that are in place within the institution of church.
Let me just say upfront that I do so NOT because I don't believe in God, or I don't believe in marriage. I do so out of a very reverential and devoted love for God and the highest respect for marriage.
Last night, I was posting on relationships and marriage and before I went to bed the question popped up in my mind, 'WHERE DID THE MARRIAGE VOWS COME FROM ANYWAYS?'
We've all been to weddings: most of them have sort of the same 'template' or 'format,' if you will. The priest or preacher recites a scripture, maybe two. Most people -including the bride and groom themselves - are not really paying attention to them as they ramble on. They are mostly looking forward to the preacher getting to them repeating the vows.
It goes a little something like this:
"I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."
"The priest will then say aloud "You have declared your consent before the Church. May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, men must not divide. Amen."
Some preachers recite scriptures beforehand that says that the husband should love his wife as Christ love the church...again, I want to reiterate, most people simply do not be listening to the preachers go through their spill.
The only part of the actual vows themselves that are based in scripture is the part that the preacher tells the WIFE to recite where she is made to promise that she will obey her husband!
Now, I used to work for a lawyer. In a law school. As a matter of fact, TWO law schools. Boston College and SUNO (Southern University at New Orleans). So I know a thing or two about law.
When you take vows in a legal ceremony, they are legally binding. It's called a legally verbal agreement. All you really need is one for it to be binding...that is where the witness in smaller, civil ceremonies come into play.
But I want to back up a bit and ask the VERY NEEDED QUESTION: WHO CAME UP WITH THE PRACTICE OF WEDDING CEREMONIES????
According to Wikipedia, 'In the time of the Roman Empire (17 B.C.- A.D. 476) the lower classes (proletarians) had "free" marriages. The bride's father would deliver her to the groom, and the two agreed that they were wed, and would keep the vow of marriage by mutual consent. Wealthy Romans, though, would sign documents listing property rights to publicly declare that their union was legalized and not a common law marriage. This was the beginning of the official recording of marriage.
The oldest traditional wedding vows can be traced back to the manuals of the medieval church. In England, there were manuals of the dioceses of Salisbury (Sarum) and York. The compilers of the first Book of Common Prayer, published in 1549 based its marriage service mainly on the Sarum manual. Upon agreement to marry, the Church of England usually offered couples a choice. The couple could promise each other to "love and cherish" or alternatively, the groom promises to "love, cherish and worship", while the bride to "love, cherish and obey." [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_vows]
Now I find this very interesting. That the very institution that - as far as I'm concerned - polluted the Church that GOD built - THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH - started this practice.
Most marriage ceremonies, according to the Wikipedia article are variations of the Catholic wedding ceremony that the pope(s) and the Diocese started. This is very important to remember.
While I believe in marriage, I have no choice but to question the validity of 'wedding ceremonies' of ANY kind, ESPECIALLY THOSE PERFORMED BY A PRIEST, A PREACHER...EVEN A JUDGE.
Now, I know. Someone is gonna say, 'But Wenona. How will the marriage be 'official' in the eyes of man if it's not officiated by a priest, preacher or some other legal party?'
WHO came up with the 'idea' to make marriage a legal matter anyways? WHO started the whole practice of filing papers with the government to make marriages 'official' anyways?
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!!!!
ANY TEACHING OR RELIGIOUS PRACTICE INSTITUTED BY THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH I HAVE VERY GOOD REASON TO DOUBT, QUESTION AND SHUN.
-Why aren't the wedding vows not totally steeped in SCRIPTURE?
-Why aren't men made to vow before man and God that they WILL love their wives as Christ love the
church? Make them SAY IT. Not just hear the preacher say it...
-Why is it that the only part of the vows that have scriptural basis is where the woman is supposed to 'obey'
her husband? (based loosely on the scripture about submission to husbands) Why not make the vows so
that BOTH parties vow to submit to ONE ANOTHER IN THE FEAR OF GOD??
Also, how valid are these marriages when they are 'doomed from the start' because they are officiated over, chanted over, by a bunch of men (and women) who are known pedophiles, adulterers, fornicators, lesbians, and gays? INSIDE of a church building, to boot!?
It seems to me that the whole concept of 'church weddings' is asking for religious demons to infest the marriage....
Is it any wonder that over HALF the marriages officiated IN THE CHURCH end in divorce?
And now we have same sex marriages. And everybody wants to get all up in arms about gays and lesbians legally allowed to marry. But we have to look at this thing:
If the weddings/marriages between STRAIGHT FOLK who have these religious ceremonies within these religious institutions, officiated by a bunch of freaks don't last, and marriages between STRAIGHT FOLK is in such disarray, how can we honestly bash same sex marriages when different sex marriages have become a joke to so many????
Now please understand: I am staunchly against same sex marriages. Yall know my testimony.
But to try to IN-validate or make void - same sex marriages by using the 'examples' of different sex marriages is kind of ...well, FOOLISH!
See my article, First Gentlemen, First Ladies, And Other Foolishness In The Church
Think about it...the whole concept of having a wedding ceremony - IN A CHURCH - of having ceremonies period...is steeped in religiosity and lunacy!
Again, I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of marriage. I think that marriage is a beautiful thing.
I just think the whole religious posturing of it needs to be TOTALLY revamped.
I don't think that another preacher or priest should officiate over another wedding! REAL TALK!
Them jiggers are cursed from the get go...HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY BLESS YOUR UNION IF THEY DOING ALL THE DIRT THEY ARE DOING ANYWAYS?
Then...you have to realize that the institution of CHURCH is a cursed institution. It is currently under JUDGMENT.
I don't know about you, but I don't want no cursed folks within a cursed institution to officiate over NOTHING concerning MY life.
Just some things to ponder....