June 18th, 2012 § 3 Comments
It was pouring rain all week. That Saturday morning I awoke to the brightness of that unfiltered sunlight following the rain. My first thought was, “I’m getting married.”
About five hours later, I said, “I do.” It was the only thing I said in that beautiful ceremony. The short answer was to a long question: Do you take this woman as your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold … To a serious question: …for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health … until death do you part? “No matter what happens, until one of you dies, you promise?” It was and remains the heaviest question I’ve ever been asked.
In the 70s the “No Fault Divorce” became law in California. By the mid-eighties, it was the law across the country. The “No Fault” law stipulates that the dissolution of marriage does not require a showing of wrong doing by either party. “‘Irreconcilable differences,’ you see.” Essentially, we have legislated an easy way out of marriage. It’s interesting that the language makes no mention of the vow you took.
The way I see it, when I said, “I do” I took a vow. Like I said, it was the heaviest question I’ve been asked, so much so, we gathered all the important people in our lives to bear witness to my answer. The point being: It’s a serious promise, one that will be tried. There will surely come days when reneging will seem like the only way to come up for air. And so the vow was taken, not in secret but out in the open.
More than an institution to step in and out of, I’ve thought marriage in these terms: Marriage, a promise to someone; and divorce, a breaking of that promise. Furthermore, since we have had children, our children have become a part of the promise I made to their mother. When I think in these terms, it helps me to “blow up” divorce as a real option. The “No Fault” law makes it easier to get out. By taking the “Vow” perspective, I have welded and bricked up the door, and caved in the passage to it. “Stop looking around, honey. We’re in it to win it.”
One simple practice for me on this has been to never say the word or anything related to it. Man, it doesn’t even exist.
A Note: One of my five readers suggested this new category. I thought, “Perfect, another thing to which I cannot claim expertise.” Thanks for the suggestion. You know who you are.