Vows for marriage are an integral part of many wedding ceremonies; an exchange of vows is intended to be a public declaration of love between two people who have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. The exact nature and wording of wedding vows can vary greatly from person to person, with factors such as their religion, personal beliefs, personality and various other details determining the vows that they use.
Although most people associate marriage vows with a typical Christian wedding—“to have and to hold, til death do us part,” and so on—marriage vows are not a Christian phenomenon. People from all religions and all walks of life exchange vows. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting vows for marriage from around the world.
Vows for Marriage in Hindu Weddings
A Hindu couple will not recite a typical wedding vow–instead, they declare that they will follow the Seven Steps of the Hindu religion, which involves the couple promising to:
- Practice healthy lifestyles and not form personal relationship with people who may hinder that lifestyle
- Continue to develop their mental, spiritual and physical health
- Provide for each other and their future family through honest, honorable methods
- Strive to understand and respect each other to keep the marriage happy and balanced
- Raise children who are honest and courageous
- Practice self-control over their bodies, minds and spirits
- Continue to nurture and develop their relationship and friendship for the rest of their days
Japanese Shinto Wedding Vows
Although many modern weddings in Japan are considered to be westernized and therefore follow a more traditional Western wedding vow, some Shinto couples still prefer to have traditional weddings, which include traditional vows from that religion. The following is a standard vow for marriage in a Shinto wedding:
On this fortunate day, before the gods we perform a wedding ceremony. We pray for our future to receive the god’s divine blessing. We will share our joys and sorrows together; we will live a peaceful life together. We vow to have a life full of prosperity and descendants. Please protect us forever. We humbly offer this vow.
Non-denominational vows for marriage are standard with couples who either do not practice religion, or have different religions, or do not wish to include religion in their ceremony; non-denominational vows written by the couple are also sometimes included in religious ceremonies.
Buddhist Marriage Vows
Like the Hindu religion, Buddhist ceremonies do not necessarily have the expected standard vows for marriage—unless the couple specifically wants to use them. Instead, most Buddhist ceremonies involve the couple reciting guiding principles together. These principles are often recited in unison, and include acknowledging that the couple will practice nurturing their relationship to the fullest extent; listening to each other without judging; being fully present in the moment by feeling all of their emotions; they will increase their happiness every day; and they will view every obstacle in the relationship as a teaching meant to make their hearts more open and strong.