Throughout our lives we make all sorts of promises to different people. Scouts and Girl Guides make promises on their enrolment, witnesses in court promise to tell the truth, Presidents, Kings and Queens promise to defend their country, and friends make various promises to each other. But how much importance is placed on those promises?
To me, a promise is a sacred vow and not something to be entered into lightly. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the oath so seriously.
An excellent case in point is marriage vows. When standing at the altar or before a celebrant, a couple promise each other to be faithful, to cherish, love, protect and care for each other no matter what life throws at them, yet so many women (and occasionally men) are subjected to the worst kinds of abuse at the hands of the person they made their vows with.
When one party is psychologically torturing, or beating their spouse on a regular basis, do they ever think back to the promise they made? Of course not! How could they be if they’re treating their life partner worse than they would an animal?
If we think back to our grandparents’ generation, the instances of divorce were far less common, and although abuse did go on behind closed doors, it was not such a regular occurrence. In those days, wedding vows were a life-long commitment. But one key difference was respect. Spouses were valued by each other, over and above the love they shared.
Perhaps that’s what is missing today . . .