"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.' 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-37)
Highlighting Jesus’ statement above:
- Generally when attending a wedding, vows are recited by the bride and groom. Though they speak to one another, the vows (oaths) are to be fulfilled unto the LORD according to Jesus, even more so than to one’s spouse. Before Jesus’ time vows (oaths) were unto God and are to be fulfilled, whatever they might be – pertaining to marriage or some other commitment.
- Jesus warns and commands the people to no longer make oaths or vows at all. The text actually suggests to cut vows out of the wedding ceremony all together because anything more than a “Yes.” or “No” is from the evil one. The people of God do not need to make promises to each other, but simply keep the things you say “Yes” or “No” to.
People enjoy communicating vows in the wedding ceremony. Without vows, what is left to the ceremony? How do people get married? Aren’t vows mandatory to qualify a marriage relationship? Not at all.
It seems worthwhile to simply change the wording up a little. What if the husband and wife did this?
John Doe and Jane Smith want to marry.
John – “I take you Jane Smith as my wife. Will you take me John Doe as your husband?”
Jane – “Yes. I Jane Smith take you John Doe to be my husband.”
This is a verbal agreement, in front of witnesses is preferred.
Something else a couple might want to communicate is their “desires” to love, serve, enjoy their spouse moving forward into marriage. These do not need to be vows, but simply a confession of the vision they have for their role in the marriage together from the individual’s perspective. Be creative in this element of the ceremony. Keep in mind, communicating “desires” or something similar is not mandatory.
Jane, I desire to from this day forward, love you as Jesus instructs in Ephesians 5 to lay down my life for you. I desire consider you before my own needs. I desire to grow with you into old age and have a beautiful family that serves the Lord.
This is a very simple idea for what could be possible. The idea to keep in mind is there's a lot of room to be creative and make the wedding day what you want it to be.
Jewish Wedding Vows
In traditional Jewish weddings there are no vows exchanged. The covenant is implied within the wedding ceremony itself. Traditionally the marriage commitment is sealed in placing the ring on the finger of the bride or groom as the case might be.
The groom says, "Haray at mekudeshet lee beh-taba'at zo keh-dat Moshe veh-Yisrael," translated means, "Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel."
However, many Jews do want to exchange vows in their wedding these days and are included in the ceremony as desired.
Non Denomination Wedding Vows
"I, ______, take you, ______, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity and have faith in your abiding love for me, through all our years, and in all that life may bring us."
"______, I take you as my wife/husband, with your faults and your strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life." Vows found on TheKnot.com
The purpose of this article is to simply highlight Jesus' words on oaths, vows and commitment. With prayerful consideration, couples can get more detailed as to how their wedding ceremony could be unique and glorify the Lord. May you prosper, just as your soul prospers in Christ Jesus.