Why I Hate Wedding Vows

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love-war relationship with weddings. After all it is the happiest day of a womans couples life, a day where everyone can get together in smiling faces and their best AsoEbi’s (that they will probably never wear again), a day where the pastor will bless the wedding and give stories of why the couple should stay together, for better for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part!

And here in lies my issue with weddings. They give…in fact everybody gives the image of the permanency of marriage, that divorce is a sin, that you should do all you can do to stay in your marriage, that there is no reason on the face of the earth why you should leave your man or woman, except death separates you.

And sometimes death does occur. It might not be the physical death, but most of the times it is emotional death. Psychological death.

Situations where a husband (mostly) turns his wife into a punching bag…but she does not leave, because of the vow…that vow. The better or for worse vow, then he beats her till she is almost sick, but she does not leave, because of the in sickness and in health vow, then he brutalizes her, almost defaces her, scars and in some cases kills her, and that is when she eventually leaves, till death to us part. But by then it is too late…

You see women, have been brought up to believe the permanency of marriage. And for the most part, especially in my country , they live out their wedding vows to the T.

But what if we change the wedding vows? What if the Pastor changes his or her message? What if the pastor speaks the truth and let’s the woman know that there are indeed times…times when she has to run for life, times when she has to take the kids away from the home and never bring them back. What if the pastor spoke about these things, not just in pulpit, but in the wedding vows. What if a woman was allowed to vow on her wedding :

To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, unless you become a psychotic and deranged wife beater…then I vow to leave your ass!

What if?

I tell you what if, I believe more women around the world will know that they can leave marriages when it turns for the worse. And contrary to the naysayers, it will not proliferate a mass binge of divorces across the nation. It will actually make marriages better, because the men know now that they have to step up and that their wives are not going to be there regardless.

But hey…I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so I just do the sketches and hope that one day my daughter stumbles across this blog and uses it as a reference for her wedding vows.

wedding vows

ofilixOfilix is the untapped fictional half of @ofilispeaks. ofilix is 33.54% human and 66.46% mutant and still mutating. His powers…the uncanny ability to fuse real life world with the fictional world seamlessly and project them across the world wide internet. He has no twitter account or facebook page and abhors instagram. ofilix believes in equality and democracy but is willing to go to extreme limits to ensure that justice prevails, even if it means trampling on the rights of the truly evil!

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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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40 comments on “Why I Hate Wedding Vows

  1. Ofili has done it again.

    Well I guess this post could have been titled “Why marriage vows need to be reviewed” or something like that but well, we need provocative headlines like this to get people’s attention right?

    I support what you say tho, having seen first hand the damage that battery can have on the female in the marriage & I sure as hell won’t be the father telling my daughter to go back to the house of her husband and “manage” because of the vows she made when the red on her cheeks came from a makeup kit and not the fists of a man. Heck, I might just as well borrow & apply Femi Kuti’s 4th & 10th commandments.

    To every woman, girl & chic out there, here’s my take. If your life is in danger, pls move out & seek safety. If you gon’ pray for him, pray from a safe distance.

    Happy future married life. My 2 kobos.
    Gabriel Shaze ™ latest post is Dear bleacher – Enlightenment does not come through rubbing…My Profile

  2. Its a great piece where I appreciate your sincerity in addressing and making your opinion heard.

    Of a truth its high time we know what it unfold for us rather than everyone saying we should be tied down because of customs and beliefs.

  3. Hmmmm, im not so sure I completely agree with this asessment, what about the many women whose husbands are physically abusive BEFORE they even dream of getting married to him AND they still marry him (and this is more often than not, the case) I believe that its not so much the fear of ‘sinning’ that keeps women in abusive relationships but the fear of being alone, of what people will say, of not being a ‘real’ woman without a man, of somehow having failed because you couldnt keep a home. Honestly you’ll be better off teaching your daughter that who she is a person IS sufficient and marriage is not a trophy/ prize

    • “of somehow having failed because you couldnt keep a home.” That’s the same thing we are saying. The belief that Divorce is not an option, that it is a bad thing, that if you fail to keep your home you are sinning is the issue. We have to change that notion and let people, men and women know that it is OK to leave a marriage, marriage is not the end all be all of everything. If you are single it is OK. We are basically saying the same thing. I just used Wedding Vows to drive home the point.

  4. Olivia on said:

    Hi Ofili,
    Maybe you need to attend a premarital class to see that intending couples are taken through weeks of gruesome torture on the realities of marriage (good, bad and ugly) to prepare them for the journey ahead. A few couples even part ways after these classes. Pastors use classes like this to pass the message across. If the couple still decide on getting married after that, it is taken that all has been understood. So I’d say the church truly does try her best. And her “no divorce” stance is taken smack out of the bible. More than a change of vows, women should be made to understand how so invaluable they are; to understand that there’s more purpose to life than being married.To understand that the greatest achievement in life isn’t marriage. To understand that pigs don’t value pearls…And you’d agree that this job shouldn’t be left only to the pastors.
    And if you’re being beaten and you are waiting for an apparition to let you know you should leave that environment, you are still a learner.
    Plus “hate” is such a powerful word Ofili. I hate that I have to buy asoebi though.

    • Good morning Ofili,
      To add to Olivia’s point, mariage is not a “one size fits all”. That is why marriage has a preparation phase that every couple should undergo before taking the vows. And if someone did not go through it before, it is advised to go through it even after.

  5. danjuma samuel on said:

    in life there are three doctrine that govern man, one, we have the Bible which is the supreme, two, we have the church doctrine and culture.the Bible doctrine is a standard that cannot be repeal or altered.How ever the issues on ground truly speaking before one go in taking such orth he or she most study the partner very well at the courtship period.by submitted in totality to the will of God.most crisis came as a result of rush because of material things see,and God is been put aside until its get sour,every body start asking God why me? God had giving us the will to chose.

  6. Hello
    Your write up was very interesting,its an issue that is very conroversial and goes to the root of how women are percieved by men based on religious philosophies and culture. However globalisation is doing a lot to improve and enforce the rights of woman. What actually enslaves the Nigerian woman christian or muslim is not the marriage vow but economic power.careers of Nigrian women are imperiled by children etc and unemployment makes them vulnerable and forces them to accomodate the negative behaviours of some men,the solution is to empower women and for women to limit the number of children they bear to 2 maximum so as not to impair their mobility, that’s the advantage of women in developed countries

    • I agree with you totally about lack of economic power being the main reason why marriage seems to be a ‘do or die’ affair in this part of the world. In more developed countries like the UK and Ireland for example, the parent that is disadvantaged is usually supported by the government financially to the extent that (s)hmisrule be earning more and be better off than if she stayed put in the marriage. And our men too are aware of the financial power angle, so the first suggestion most of them make as soon or even before marriage happens is that the woman should stop working so that she could stay home nd take care of the children. My advice? Women please do not fall for it.
      Naijamum latest post is 365 Days of writing prompts..Ode to a playground.My Profile

    • Jaguarnana on said:

      Yes! Finally you hit the nail square on the head. Have you seen the access bank advert usually (grittingly) on replay on their ATM screens. Showing a seemingly educated grown ass woman stuck @ the airport (due to her lack of budgeting skills & personal restraint she out spent her travel money) frantically calling her husband (who looks & speaks like her father) to bail (transfer some funds to) her. My head reels whenever I am unfortunate to behold this seemingly simple story line of an advert but a deep portrayal of the over patriarchic society we as modern Nigerians still live in I shudder…. so why won’t marriage be a do or die affair when a husband is also your daddy, retirement plan, instant access to funds, shopping approval manager, AAA, mechanic, health insurance, travel agent…. (I’ll stop here u get my gist)

      • Bamidele on said:

        Whao, Jaguarnana! you have given the right assessment of a Naija wife! This is extremely correct even if they are voted in as the president of Nigeria. Try put one of them on that seat if you think I am wrong.

  7. juliet Ozuloha on said:

    I totally agree with you the marriage institution is not an easy place especially in this part of the country where public opinion matters alot….where people still live up to the expectation of marriage as perceived in christendom without taking into consideration the recent happenings in our community…I must I love LOVE…I usually cry during the exchange of vows at wedding but I agree with ofili that the contents of the vow message should altered and made to include what is obtainable in our society today….

  8. Like some have said, the issue is not the vows nor is it the fact that God hates divorce, the issue is the fact that we NEVER face our truths. Many women who are beaten physically/emotionally in their marriages KNEW or had a ‘feeling’ something was off. while dating..

    So why did they go ahead with it? Zero appreciation of a significance or self-worth tied to who they are in Christ. For these women, it is ‘you can kill me as long as I am a ‘Mrs’ now. I might be dead but at least I was significant. The ring on my finger says so.

    Funny enough, I doubt the vows as they are today are stopping people from divorcing. Stats prove this. What remains a mystery is what one woman will leave because hubby is lazy and another will stay even though hubby is Hannibal……

    For me vows or not, when your life is at risk in your marriage, run like the wind….turn arounds only come for the living.

  9. Chief Okoro Ezechinyere on said:

    I have followed with great interest, the comments of virtually everyone to this very crucial topic but have also wondered why everyone who has contributed seem to be unbalance in this issue. It takes two to tangle and two can not walk together except they be agreed. One thing is to think you are agreed and another is to be confused ab initio on what to truly believe. No marriage can be stronger than its motive. The strength of any marriage is in the motive. Men and women get into marriage for all the wrong motives and only have the scales fall off their eyes when the did is done. Another name for any woman that is worth her salt is “Grace”. The collolary is true that any woman that is lacking in grace is the “Dis” of the same word. It is is easy to feel , think and conclude that men are psychotic or whatever but also think of it that most women hurt much more with words. It takes a real man to endure the trepidations of the words of venomous women; although I do not support wife battery,if women feel they could use their tongues, some psychologically weak men feel they could rather use their fists. Simple physics say action and reaction are both equal and opposite. There is a missing link that none of the contributors have dared to probe into. Would a man except he is mad get home and start battering his wife without any action or inactivity of hers? I do not intend to stretch this issue but suffice to say this. There are two keys that couples should sincerely seek and find before contracting marriage otherwise they will either endure or live an unfulfilled marriage life. You woman never get involved with a man who do not command your respect much so that you joyfully and willingly can and would want to submit to him at most times if not all times. You man know thy self. Understand yourself enough to know what charms a woman needs to possess to hold you spell bound most times if not all the time. After all it is said that if a man does not eat yam because of the oil, he may consider licking the oil because of the sweetness of the yam. Man never marry a woman who is lacking in the prerequisite charms to keep you spell bound all through the journey of marriage. Love the good book says, covers a multitude of sins; that is where it exists. the opposite is also very true. The charm engenders the love. This charm must not be ephemeral. It is nothing to do with economic power, societal acceptance, ego mopping, beauty, or family but character and attitude because those alone will stand the test of time.

    • Jaguarnana on said:

      Chief okoro you have spoken well & in the land of Utopia this is how marriage works but sadly in land of reality you get sucker punched so hard multiple times you throw your hands in the air give up & marry the next person. In d land of reality not all women are confident enough to stand alone till that man who commands her respect comes along because that is a lonely long wait (besides in Nigeria respect appears when we see riches & wealth) so most women cut d confusing psycho analysis & just marry the next rich man that walks up to them. Same for the men who are very goal orientated when they are ready to marry how long do you think they will be searching for d woman who possess that charm that calms a storm (in a country where been in love is seen as a weakness on d guys part) besides charming sounds like beautiful so they look for the best “toyin tomato” they can find & marry her shikena! But I am relieved to know there are ppl like you out there who can still think deep & not be part of the herd of rat racers

  10. Hi, Ofili, I’m just wondering if you may have looked at from this angel:
    Marriage is meant to be a full life commitment and as such, you must be careful about taking that leap. Sorry to say but it seems like a lot of women these days are attracted to complete jerks. Probably because they are handsome, wealthy or for whatever other sick reason. The signs are always there before marriage but more often than not, they ignore them because they’re more fixated on the wedding than the marriage.
    We as humans should learn to be more responsible for the promises we make, whether as marriage vows or as business agreements.
    I’m not insisting that a woman who experiences physical abuse from her husband must stay in his home. I’m just saying maybe women should be more careful who they end up with. Also why does it have to be divorce? Separation is an equally viable option in my opinion.
    Muyiwa latest post is How the “I no get change” syndrome may be ruining our economyMy Profile

  11. Mr Muyiwa, have you ever thought about the fact that people change as the years pass. A nice husband with a marvelous, caring heart might just one day transform to how do you put it ‘jerk’ when life hits him hard. Stuff happen, misfortune befalls certain families and the guy takes it all out on his wife.
    What is she to do then, stay with him and endure his abuses?

  12. Battery of any form must be condemned! Well, I guess Mr. Ofili thinks all problems in marriages are from men. Farthest from the truth. Here, in the USA, the laws give women the upper hand. Some men have also found themselves holding the shorter end of the stick by the grace of the American laws.

  13. Interesting post again, Ofili. But I think it’s kind of lopsided. cos, well, (and don’t think me a sexist), the glitch falls on both sides. I agree with the submission/title that,”Marriage Vows Should be Reviewed.” Why couples, not just the woman, should be told the truth. If the woman starts to mess, up and leave, man. And if its on the side of the man, well, *facepalms*. Regardless, I still stick with the ultimate rule: no divorce. You set the ball rolling with your eyes wide open, get on with it and….pray through if need be (like, there’ll never be the need to *laughs*)

    • Ofili

      @Busayo: I tackle the female side because from personal experience it is harder for them to leave. Not saying that there are not case of women being abusive or greatly flawed. I have relatives that got harassed with child support issues from their ex-wives, it was a living nigthmare. But on this post I chose to focus on the female angle.

  14. Really liking the various views and angles people are looking at this issue from.

    Times change and so do people. And while I’m in support of couples sticking it out when difficulties rise up in marriage, battery of any form, be it to the woman or to the man (yeah, some women actually administer the slaps and punches in some unions) shouldn’t be something to be taken lightly.

    There are many reasons why a woman will choose to stay in an abusive home/relationship, a key one being the kids but….*sigh*….we only live once. I just pray they get out before its too late. The last thing we want is another K-Solo episode.
    Gabriel Shaze ™ latest post is Dear bleacher – Enlightenment does not come through rubbing…My Profile

  15. I enjoyed reading this piece………. I understand that there are different ways problems can arise in a marriage and this is just examining one of such…… awesome Ofili!!!!!

  16. Hmm,Interesting post n comments…
    There r a million n 1 reasons y marriages fail;+the circumstances around coupleA differs 4rm coupleB more often than not,just dat they all have 1same terminal so it may not b completly cool drawing our inference so easily on failed marriages when we ourselves r not victims… we learn 4rm them though… In the end this further buttresses on d importance of “the God factor!” It’s His idea,n I’m sure divorce was not in d blue print so I’m sticking with d”no divorce” school of thought. That we have cases of divorce simply means there r things we r not gettin right! Our duty is 2find them out n make sure we get dem right….only acheivable with the help of d God factor. Situations change n so do people; how else can u tell d future or choose right if God don’t help u? I think peopl shuld 1st know themselves,work on their character/attitude for this forms their PERSONA,up their values n self-worth…become the partner u admire/want,n then wait/search 4that person who has done same(ur kind) that person that appreciates u(with appreciation comes respect/regards),som1 who sees a better u hence supports n encourages u 2become better;that person who inspires u n vise-visa n 2gether u both can make fantacy become reality. It is not impossible 2achieve all dis; b optimistic about marriage cos I c some persimisism here,n most importantly include d God factor from d very beginning. He shuld b a CONSTANT in d equation not a variable dat comes in or changes whenever/whereva
    The major problem is neither in d vows,tradition nor the economy; we r…. Let’s stop marrying cos others r…let’s find a deeper meaning/reason 2 marriage

  17. ok,funny small but deals with mighty serious issues therein..vows like ur revised standard will save lots of life wasted for nothing, will give women hope to smile and find true love again..i hate divorce o,dont pray for such but women gotta use sens sometimes especially as regards wife battering issues..
    frances latest post is I Can Do All Things…My Profile

  18. Augusta on said:

    O, great article as usual. Make sure you post your own wedding vows…when the time comes…or else I vow to leave your ass! 😉

  19. hmmmnn…a big issue. There are truly times women are pushed to the wall and they just can’t do anything cos of their children and they don’t want to be tagged a divorcee or a woman with a failed marriage. I don’t encourage divorce but all the same, there should be a point where the woman can take her leave especially when the man gets too violent. if it’s an issue that can be settled amicably, good for them.
    Well…i think the best thing is just to marry your friend, someone you can spend the rest of your life with. Also continue to pray about it cos it takes God’s help and grace not only your efforts.. Some people say the man might have be en good before the marriage and later changed but i think if you are sensitive enough, you will see through him.
    Anu latest post is Life’s little ironiesMy Profile

  20. @jaguarnana: It’s nice that you interpret the access bank’s advert from a different angle. Lol, I never thought of it that way.@other comments that claim women would have seen some signs of bad behaviour of the man before the marriage…is that always true? Don’t you think it’s possible for someone to be a master pretender..I’m just curious

  21. Marriage isn’t a do or die thing jare, I’m with you on this topic all the way. I witnessed wife battering as a child, my neighbour started beating his wife on their one month anniversary, 20 years later they’re still together. However she looks like she’s in her sixties when she’s probably in het mid forties. Emotional abuse should also be part of the deal breakers in marriage, while sticks and stones may break bones, words can crush the soul.
    It’s sad that marriage is seen as the be all and end all in this part of the world, was discussing with a male friend and he said ‘if I were a woman I’d rather die than be divorced’ I was shocked to my marrows, I asked even if the man was a hardcore adulterer, irresponsible and a wife beater and the yeye guy said ‘not even then’. We can imagine what kind of support he’d offer to his sister or daughter in an abusive relationship, another case of ‘go and die’ Chukwu nna nyere anyi aka

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