In the Interest of Brevity


Now, I could be completely maleficent and leave the post at one word, but to do so would go completely against my character. (whistles Dixie knowing she has done it before)

Marriage Vows on the Neverwas

The love is in your eyes.

Left Unsaid

The caption above could branch into many different places, but for now it will be focused to the marriage vows exchanged at the wedding. A few of you commented on the tacit vows we make to one another and the ones which are not explicitly announced during the wedding. Both lead to the questions we will discuss in the end.


Shy the Buddhist vows, the examples from I Take Thee, Mate, all use love as a verb. Merriam Webster defines the verb love as:

Merriam Webster Logo

Not good enough…

  1. to hold dear: cherish
  2. a. to feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness for;
    b. (1) caress (2) to fondle amorously (3) to copulate with
  3. to like or desire actively : take pleasure in
  4. to thrive in
  5. to feel affection or experience desire
The first definition is used redundantly in many ceremonies “love, honor and cherish”.


The second definition covers the physical aspects of love at a basic level, yet physical, marital love is far more diverse than the three choices in b. Arguably, this aspect of love is the one which impacts marriage more adversely than is perceived at the time of the wedding.

The wedding vows are complete - you may now ki...

You may now kiss the bride.


Four and five cover a lot of emotional ground which is the foundation of most marriages. Marriage creates a safe haven for affection, desire and success.

Reminds me of a funeral.

When you dream of a funeral, it is said to be the harbinger of a wedding. (Read into that whatever you will.) Just before my baby sister’s wedding, I attended a funeral. The husband stood to deliver his eulogy of his wife. He listed her charitable characteristics and included this opinion (despite society-accepted evidence to the contrary):

She was sexy.”

Laughter broke out in the funeral parlor. As much for his singular opinion as for the unease of the guests in the idea this was an inappropriate setting for such a statement.

Back to Weddings

The lack of specificity in the wedding vows leaves me cold. Or perhaps I just perceive laziness or an acceptance of the English language as lacking to adequately describe the love of spouses and soul mates.

What does love say to you?


The ancient Greeks had thirteen (13) words for love to describe the many splendored emotion. English, on the other hand, has four (4), three of which are defined as a type of love in a second or subsequent definition. Half are used in the traditional vows (love, cherish). Treasure and adore are not.(1)

Where’s the fine print?

Marriage is a contract. Contracts should be explicit in their expectations, even if it is in the fine print definitions which are often longer than the contract itself.  Even if we can agree the unspoken terms are as relevant as the ones we say, it requires both Mates to agree to the terms…in advance.

Dearest M3 Readers,

I have often asked you for your opinions. About this subject, I am seeking as many opinions as possible. Please comment with your feelings about the above and your answers for the questions which follow.

Tonight, at 2000-2200 EDT (GMT-5) I will be here to discuss this matter with you in real time. I will be answering your comments as you make them. You have been shaping the course of many series on M3. This one has already detoured from its original path by your comments to the last post.

I welcome your responses and look forward to spending time with you tonight in pursuit of this subject.


  1. What does love between spouses really mean? 
  2. Is it adequately represented in the wedding vows discussed?
  3. Would your Mate agree to your definition?
  4. Have you ever asked?
  5. If so, what answer did you get?
  6. How does the lack of specificity bear on those who feel marriages fail?

(1) As a noun, four (4) synonyms have love as a second or subsequent definition:

  1. Affection
  2. Devotion
  3. Passion
  4. Fondness

© Red Dwyer 2012
Reblogging of this or any other post on The M3 Blog is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office. 
Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. 1. In my experience of marriage, love between spouses means that you intimately know someone and work just as hard (if not harder) to deepen that relationship as you do to just survive. Like anything that really matters, it can be very hard but extremely rewarding.
    2. It is and it isn’t. I say this because when a couple gets married, they really don’t know what they’re in for. Even if the vows were extremely specific, you still have to flesh them out in your marriage that has yet to begin, and there’s no hard set of instructions on how to do this perfectly.
    3. I think he’d basically agree with me but maybe say it differently.
    4-5 I’ve never asked him.
    6. I think that the dubious specificity of vows can’t really be held to blame when marriages fail. Undergoing premarital counseling would greatly reduce the risk of the marriage falling apart, but often it seems as though couples who undergo counseling prior to making their vows are already less likely to split up in the future by virtue of the fact that they’re taking the steps to embark on their marriage on the right foot. An oblique answer to this last question, but it’s just the first response I have 😉

    • And a very excellent start! I am doing some work for the homestead, but I will return to more properly respond when I am not on my BlackBerry. TY, Red.

    • I have used portions of your answer for our discussion tonight. I would be ecstatic to have your input on the matter in due time!

  2. 1. Is this where we say ‘love is a choice’? The love between spouses is really too complicated to be defined. It is all the definitions combined and so much more. It is a major commitment, it is fun, it is horrible, and it is through thick and thin, …
    2. No, I don’t believe it is adequately represented. This may be due to the commonality of the vows – people don’t really hear/believe them as they should, often.
    3. I have a feeling he would not. Hmmmm – homework for tonight?
    4. See above
    5. See above
    6. Lack of specificity is not necessarily a bad thing. Specificity of the heart and mind are probably more important, because words recited are merely words recited, no matter what they are. If you don’t get it, don’t realize there will be tough times, the words and the vows are meaningless.

    Can’t wait to see where this one is going ;]

    • Think out the last answer for me. I tripped somewhere. I do not think I heard what you meant. At least, I hope I did not. Red.

  3. I think the majority of marriages fail because people marry too young, and when they change, their spouse no longer likes what they are living with – or – some people marry because they think they will not get a “better offer” and don’t want to be single forever – then they realize after a few years that being alone would be better than what they are in.

    However, this is just my thinking – as long as people marry for the right reasons (love) and not for the wrong (stability, companionship, income) then they at least stand a chance at happiness ever after.

    • I agree with your last paragraph…a lot. I need more information for the first one. Sounds a little social commentary…bait & switch?

      • No, Red, what I was getting at is that a lot of people just don’t want to be alone, so they marry the first person who shows interest. After a while, one or the other realizes their spouse isn’t who they thought they were and a divorce is imminent.

        For the “better offer”, some people marry because of self esteem issues. They marry someone they don’t love, solely for the purpose of getting married, and figure that they will learn to love their spouse. After marriage, they notice others noticing them, and affairs erupt. Sometimes, when children are in the mix (blender on puree) they stay in their loveless marriage, figuring they will separate after the kids go to college, or leave home.


  4. I gave up on marriage long ago, but I hold it to be a sacred commitment between husband and wife.

    If it DOES break up, then I prefer not to take sides…

    Love and hugs!


    • Certainly the smartest thing to do. So many couple split the friends as property rather than realizing just because the marriage broke apart, the underlying friendships with both spouses did not. {HUGZ} Red.

  5. What does love between spouses really mean?

    I guess that this question will generate many different thoughts but what is the true meaning? True love is so complex and yet extraordinary simplistic at the same time, it can be a deliciously created feeling that lasts forever, or a disaster just waiting to happen…

    The reality is what one makes of their own loving ways, it can be so involving, so beautiful that their feelings are alive with the most sensual of emotions, pulsing with desire into a wanting that lasts a lifetime, indeed into the realms of desire where pure ecstasy lives and where only their own limits are set forth, onwards into a vortex of divine adoration and a loving energy that can never be extinguished…

    Well maybe?

    Have a lovely rest of
    afternoon and evening Red 🙂

    Androgoth XXx

    • Very good point…Hmm. I see this as a talking point for tonight’s discussion! Thank you for your well-thought-out comment, Andro. I do appreciate your responses.

      Have a grand night, my friend! 😀

  6. bear

     /  January 4, 2012

    Ok love means never having to say youre sorry,Thats crap. True love means being able to accept and forgive. To be able to look over your mates short comings, Their past.
    Love means everything in the wedding vows it is the key word that should be first and foremost in every ceremony.
    But true love isn’t just a word,it is a true emotion that can be seen by people. When you look at a couple that are truly in love you can see it.
    Again it is just a spoken word but to those who whitness it, it is truly an amazing emotion.

    • True love is palpable emotion which is very evident when you see it…even in pictures.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.