A vow is a voluntary pledge to fulfill an agreement. Once a vow is made it remains binding until discharged or released. A vow is an expensive venture, it will cost you much more than you imagined when you made the vow. The marriage vow is an agreement to be monogamous, to care for and complement each other until death. I have never understood the burden of this commitment more than I did this past weekend as I encouraged a woman who has been waiting for her husband to come back home for the last five years.
No, her husband is not in the military, he is in the monastery of another woman’s bosom. It all started when her husband abandoned her for several months, and then she was served with divorce petition and thereafter the man proceeded to marry another woman. The story sounded familiar until the woman said; “I forgive my husband for all that he did to me and I am waiting for him to return home where he belongs. I made a vow and a vow is a vow. I must keep my own part of the deal until I am released in accordance with the bible.” Remarkable!
The woman’s story reminds me of the story of Judge Jephthah who made a vow to God to the effect that if God will help him to defeat his enemies and return in peace from the battle, he will offer the first thing that comes out of his house to God as a burnt offering. God helped him, he won the war and returned in peace. When he came to his house his daughter, his only child met him at the gate with a dance team. The Judge was disappointed but said, “I have given my word to the Lord, I cannot take it back” His daughter accepted her fate and submitted herself for the fulfillment of the vow. Judges 11:29-40. Jephthah’s vow cost him his only child and a successor.
Two stories, one principle – A vow is a vow that must be kept at all cost and for the long haul. Whether you are the victim or the victor your marriage vows are vows you have made that must be kept at all cost and for the long haul until discharged or excused. God himself was a witness to the vow you made to your spouse and the society. Now as you commit to keeping your vows, the Lord your God who know our weaknesses will help you fulfill it.