Monday, July 25, 2005

From Fr James Tucker
Bogus wedding vows are in
Yes, o tempora and all that but in this case it’s true: ‘till death or a better offer us do part’ is what they really mean as Fr Tucker points out:
Well, that sort of thing would make an annulment very easy: from the Catholic point of view, an intention against till-death-do-us-part permanence invalidates the marriage vows from the get-go. Your wedding dress may have a five-foot train, but you're no more married than my neighbor's dog is.
And a friend has these related observations.

The 1920s situation she describes and the modern one each have their good and bad points.

Along with what’s probably the topper, the famous ending of the glurge-fest Love Story* (marvellously made fun of by Ryan O’Neal himself at the end of What’s Up, Doc? in about the same year), ‘I can’t live without you’ is one of the dumbest lines ever about love. (Related is ‘you complete me’ though in a good way that can be true.) I should think I jolly well can live without you, but if I really love you, I’d rather not... and am concerned with your ultimate well-being and not only my needs.

You have to be enough in sync to make it work. (A Catholic getting together with a member of NARAL? Been there, done that, believe it or not. No go.) But that doesn’t mean you agree on everything. If you did, wouldn’t that get old after a while? And everybody needs constructive criticism. Look how Paul McCartney’s music turned to crap when his only critic was Linda and John Lennon wasn’t there to take the piss out of him anymore. Just agree on the really important stuff.

The moderns are wrong to think that a girlfriend or wife (boyfriend or husband for the women of course) can/should/must fill all the needs one has for different friendships and points of view but the 1920s view is sad in a way too — people (especially women) having to marry out of (economic, social) necessity and not desire and so doing with people they don’t even especially like! I’m glad a lot of that is gone but the modern way uses people too (‘I promise ... until I get tired of you’).

*There was a story in the news recently about an English couple who held the world record for the longest marriage (80 years or something like that — I think one of them just died) and when asked what their secret was the man said he apologised for something every day.

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