vow (noun): a solemn promise or assertion; specifically: one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Have you ever casually told someone that you would do something and then failed to do it? Perhaps you simply forgot to do it. We often get busy and forget to do things we say we will do. Maybe you didn’t really mean it when you said you would do it. A friend or relative says, “Come to see us,” and you say you will, but you only say it because it’s an automatic, polite response. You really have no intention of actually paying them a visit. We’ve all made promises that we didn’t keep. At times, broken promises may prick our conscience, but we often dismiss them as no big deal.
A vow is a big deal. It is a declaration that one will do what is promised, and the person making the vow is obligated to keep that promise. It is not made flippantly or half-heartedly. It is an intentional commitment that provides assurance that the promise will be fulfilled.
In a Christian wedding, the bride and the groom make a solemn vow before God. They are not simply declaring their current love for each other. They are making a commitment to each other, pledging their love and their loyalty for the rest of their lives. Why is this important? Timothy Keller, in The Meaning of Marriage, refers to the wedding vow as the “promise of future love”. He states that during turbulent times in which a couple may not feel that they continue to possess the love that they shared on their wedding day, the wedding vow “keeps you ‘tied to the mast’ until your mind clears and you begin to understand things better.” It is a powerful promise that assures your spouse that your love and your loyalty will always be there. It is this vow that provides security in your relationship.
The New Testament makes allowances for one spouse to be released from the vow if the other spouse has abandoned their vow. But taking the vow was, and is a serious commitment. It is more than just a commitment to stay together. It’s a commitment to love, honor, and cherish your spouse. You can keep your vow, by the grace of God, if you will live your life surrendered to Him.