Marriage is a promise and a commitment you make to each other. When a marriage doesn't work out, though — I refuse to say "when a marriage fails" — what then? Have you broken a promise? Have you not upheld your end of the bargain? Is your word still honorable? Can you be trusted to say the truth?
These thoughts and more wash through the minds of women facing a relationship that is ending. They feel the burden of guilt and the twisted self-doubts of broken vows. Some women even decide to stay in an unhealthy relationship, all for the sake of a promise they made.
Here's my take on that. You promise to love, cherish, and support your husband. You do not promise to suffer. You do not promise to become someone you are not. You do not promise to live in an emotionally threatening situation. You do not promise to continually live under the same roof as someone who has abused of the privilege of marriage you offered.
The vows of marriage — as we perceive them — are a myth. They hold no more weight than the words we spoke. We can love while living apart. We can cherish without being a one-unit family. We can support without being in the same room.
The vow of marriage never includes promising not to separate or live apart. It never has, and it never will. Even God understands life changes.
Deciding on a divorce does not mean that you take your marriage vows lightly. It means that you've discovered that the verbal contract you made — your wedding vows — no longer apply to a situation that has changed and to the lives of two people who have changed as well.
Face the world knowing that you do indeed take vows seriously. Your word is good. Your wedding vows meant something to you when you spoke them, and they still do. The situation has changed, you've changed, your life is changing, too. That doesn't mean you tell lies.
That means you understand that nothing in life is final — and that words only hold the meaning we give them.