Until Death Do Us Part
Given our contemporary fascination with ‘dead that moves,’ like walking death, warm corpses, and an assortment of living zombies, I thought it only fitting to write about ‘dead love.’
Paying close attention to the title of this post, you’ll recognize the phrase as an excerpt from traditional marriage vows. The literal meaning is, you’re making a love commitment to someone for life.
It’s a contract that is supposed to be in effect, if everything works out, until you both die. After that, it’s null and void, right? I guess. How about, if you’re lucky enough to meet and marry your ‘soulmate’ in the course of your life, your relationship continues in the hereafter?
Interesting, but this line of thinking will no doubt take us too far afield from what I’m trying to focus on, the role of ‘death in love.’ So we won’t do ‘love after death’ this time around.
If we stick with the literal meaning of ‘until death do us part,’ who ever came up with this phrase simply intended to point out that marriage is a lifetime commitment. No doubt this is the source of a lot of anxiety when it comes to making a decision to get married.
Years ago, the forces in society, culture, and religion were firmly behind this commitment and its fulfillment for people who took the marital plunge. In other words, it wasn’t so easy to breakup a marriage.
If you haven’t noticed, separating and getting a divorce is a lot easier to do these days. Question is, is this a good thing or bad thing for the institution of marriage?
The people who say it’s a bad thing will be quick to remind you that easy divorcing represents a deterioration of the institution of marriage. They’ll say if getting a divorce is easy to do, people won’t respect their marriage.
Married couples won’t be motivated to work on their relationship when things get difficult between them. They will simply separate or divorce. Plus, these advocates of the traditional marriage also warn us that our children are the real losers in the long run. They tell us that when parents get divorced their ability to parent their children is impaired.
These proponents of traditional marriage suggest that it’s better to stay married for the kids even if you hate your spouse. Do it for the kids. When they grow up and leave you leave, not before.
The people who say it’s a good thing will tell you that an easier time separating and divorcing these days represents progress for the institution of marriage. They’ll say that a real marriage can only be dictated by real love, not the institutions of society, culture, and religion.
Some of them point out that the ending of some marriages is like ‘practice’ before the real game. That people should not get married so early. Instead they should live together, get to know each other’s domestic habits before tying the knot.
They say that people shouldn’t have to marry in order to have sex. That sex has very little to do with whether or not a marriage can last.
Proponents of this looser vision of marriage suggest that in the long run people should be able to live together or marry until they have found the ‘right one.’ If you’re lucky enough to find this person early, you get to avoid the stresses and legal problems that come with multiple marriages and divorces.
If not, at least you get a chance to find your soulmate instead of being locked up in a marriage that has no love in it. By the way, they also suggest that kids have a better chance of growing up right if they don’t have to grow up in a home with warring parents who are staying together for them.
What do you think?
Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan