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Television Vows

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Sooner or later a television sitcom about a married couple will do an episode where the main characters renew their wedding vows. You don’t have to watch re-runs very long to catch one of these shows. I saw one the other day. The vows recited in that episode were as sappy and empty as others I had seen on previous occasions. They went something like this:

We met ten years ago, and you were selfish, needy, and high-maintenance. At the same time, I could see through all of that to a sweetness that I believe characterizes the real you. That’s the part of you I fell in love with. I’m still in love with you today.

I’m not saying this is the exact script for all TV vows, but it’s a good representation. It’s informal, irreverent, shallow, and sweet. Worst of all, it does not contain a promise.

According to the dictionary, a vow is “a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment.” Every marriage should begin with vows because it is important for a couple to pledge love, dedication, faithfulness, and honesty to one another. Without a commitment to these virtues a marriage cannot survive.

It is not surprising to see a perversion of wedding vows on television. After all, no other outlet has done more damage to traditional family values.

The frightening thing is that this trend is creeping into actual weddings. A number of preachers these days encourage young couples to write their own vows. I don’t have a problem with that, as long as the preacher reserves the right to amend the vows when they fail to include the pledges I mentioned above. The preacher has the responsibility of starting marriages off on the right foot. Shallow, meaningless vows lead couples in the wrong direction.

If you’re looking for marital advice, the idiot box is the wrong place.