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Obey and worship - are we alone?

H2B and I saw the Bishop on Saturday and we are now agreed that I will say obey and H2B will say worship.

The Bishop confirmed that the traditional word obey does not mean the military sense of obeying a command. He likened it to the way your hand works in unity with your brain when you are writing. There is no direct command. It just happens. There is a connection there that means they work together.

I am the last person who would 'obey' anyone and there may well be some raised eyebrows in church. However, H2B and I know the true meaning behind the word and that is all that matters. H2B has also said that he 'worships' me anyway and that he may as well say it in church. What a star!!!image

I was just wondering if we are alone in using the traditional words?


  • We thought about it - we're both Christians and keen that the ceremony stays the most important bit of the day. However, we decided against the 'obey' and 'worship'. It's not actually in our church's order of service for a wedding, but we could opt it in if we liked. We decided too many of our guests would not understand what it meant and at this time, think we're going to leave it out.

    Our service is meant to have the rings bit said together ie "We give and receive these rings as a token" but we're changing that to the CoE version where the bride and groom say it seperately!
  • We're obeying and worshipping!

    We want our ceremony to be traditional, and to have the same vows as our parents and grandparents. And I don't mind obeying him occasionally if there's a bit of worshipping involved from him!!!

    [Modified by: mrswright2b on December 19, 2007 03:29 PM]
  • dg8da01dg8da01 Posts: 208
    I think for me the issue with promising to "obey" is the assumption that there's a hierarchy in the relationship. In your brain/ writing analogy, the brain is basically "ordering" the hand to do the writing - which is fine and dandy if both are in agreement - but if there is an issue, I would prefer that the way it was sorted was discussion and compromise, rather than pulling rank. If the "hand" was hurt, it wouldn't be able to write...hopefully the brain would say "stop writing then", but if it didn't, the hand could either continue writing and get more hurt, or simply be unable to write, and stop - hence "disobeying" the brain - whether there was a direct command or not (really, really pushing the analogy there - sorry - I do see where you're coming from!)

    Yes - I know any loving relationship would not involve direct commands and the expectation to obey them unconditionally (you'd hope!) but if there was an un-resolvable issue - the assumption is that the wife will obey the husband (or that the husband will "worship" the wife so as not to want to go against her wishes!). For example, if deciding whether or not to have a child baptised if one partner wants to, and one doesn't - there is no "compromise" situation - someone will have to do something they don't want and feel is wrong. Why should that be the wife? I suppose the assumption is that the couple will work seamlessly together, so they both want the same thing - but realistically, is that going to happen?!

    Obviously such issues wouldn't come up often, but knowing that I had promised to obey someone (even if I believe them to be wrong) would sit rather uneasily with me. And having my husband promise to "worship" me in return seems an odd juxtaposition - why do you think that word in particular was chosen in the vows?

    Although promising to "love, honour and cherish" are equally hard (if not harder...) than promising to obey, at least we both made those vows, so both have to work through them. And I wouldn't want to promise something that I could foresee resenting having to keep.

  • Wanna-bumpWanna-bump Posts: 1,546
    I chose to say 'submit' as there are a lot of passages in the bible that talk about a wife submitting to her husband. Again this is kind of in the sense that your Bishop expressed, Shimmsie, but for us it has deeper conitations as I regard my hubby as being 'head of me' (as stipualted in Ephesians chapter 5) so in theory I should obey what he says in quite a direct way (obviously within reason). But when he said 'love and honour' he was committing to love me as Christ loves the Church- Jesus was willing to die for his church so if my hubby continues to try to love me in this way I'll have no problem submitting to him. I totally agree that we women have the easier part compared to that image x
  • cressydec08cressydec08 Posts: 1,474
    We're obeying and worshiping too!

    This article is fascinating and dispels any myths about the use of obey (click on it)...

    To Obey or Not to Obey

    [Modified by: cressydec08 on December 19, 2007 08:38 PM]
  • jacquelienejacqueliene Posts: 6,350
    we havent got that far yet but i dont think ill be saying obey. im just not the obeying type lol
  • We haven't got there yet either but I think I would like to say it. As mrswright2b said, I would like the ceremony to be as traditional as possible and to say the same words that our mothers and grandmothers etc etc said before us. I know my sisters will all be horrified if I say it but i don't care what they think!

    If you actually read the "obey or not to obey" piece that cressydec08 pasted above (very interesting!) it makes it very clear that the true meaning of obey in the marriage service does not mean that the woman is taking the subservient role.

    In the end you've got to do whatever you feel comfortable with!
  • i like cherish rather than obey. h2b keeps making a joke about if i say it then i will have to obey him. what does not help with this joke is that his name means lord (so the name keyring says - big mistake me buying that little trinket) and his family (as his gran keeps remininding me) are decendents of richard III, (i said that was nothing to be proud of bearing in mind what he was suposed to have done to be king). seriously i like the words love honour and cherish and will be having them in my vows.
  • Hi all,

    I think this is a really interesting debate and one I have had with several people. I happen to feel quite strongly about having obey and worship in our vows. Personally, I feel that I do not want to 'pick and choose' which vows I want to take. I would like the traditional, orginal wedding vows that have been used for decades.

    I do not see the word obey meaning that suddenly after the wedding my husband will tell me exactly what to do and I have to submit to everything he wants. We have been together for over a year and lived together most of that time and any important decisions we make together... why would I think that would change after the vows?! My willingness to say this in the vows is a demonstration of how much I trust him, trust his judgement, and believe that he will always do right by me. If like anxious penguin suggested about the hand/brain analogy, the hand got hurt and the brain wouldn't tell it to stop writing then the brain certainly does not have the best wishes of the hand at heart and I know full well that my husband to be will always put my feelings before his own (as would I to him!). If I didn't think that, I wouldn't take this promise out of the vows, I would simply NOT be marrying him in the first place!

    I think what happens is that people completely take the meanings of the words wrong and if you really think that your husband to be would suddenly start ordering you about then he really will be breaking his promise to worship you (i.e. put your feelings and needs first and be willing to lay down his life for you).

    ColinandNicola, I think it is a real shame you wouldn't include the vows because of what your guests think! I couldn't give a [email protected]*t what the guests think of our vows, the only person I care about what my vows are is my future husband.

    A good marriage involves teamwork and in any team there are different roles that need to be played and if everyone plays their part then the team will work like clockwork. It will never be a case of pulling rank, ordering each other around or making decision that will hurt the other person. It will be about consideration, respect and trust. This difference in roles should be reflected in the difference in vows, the best marriages I know are based on this. My parents for example, my mum trusts my dad to make ultimately the best decision for the family and my dad respects my mum, consults her in everything and does what is in the whole family's best interests.

    As for the word cherish, this does not come close to the depth of promise stated by worship and obey. I cherish my family and friends, I cherish my engagement ring, I cherish my dog. The depth of love I have for my husband to be goes way beyond that.

    [Modified by: MissRose1 on December 22, 2007 11:23 PM]
  • cressydec08cressydec08 Posts: 1,474
    MissRose1 - can I just say you've said it all perfectly.

    Also, I just want to add...

    The hysteria that sometimes surrounds a woman's decision to say 'obey' in her vows is an example of how fundamental feminism can distort things. (I remember seeing an interview with an outspoken feminist who vilified the Countess of Wessex [Prince Edward's wife] as she said obey in her vows).

    Real feminism is about choice, a woman has the right to choose to take her husband's surname or not, a woman has the right to choose whether to say obey in her vows or not.

    Yet some (fundamental) feminists shriek in horror when a woman chooses to one or both of those things. My cousin is one of them. When my sister said obey in her vows, AND took her husband's surname, my cousin told her she'd set women's rights back 50 years!! No doubt I'll get the same response, but she'd better be prepared for what I've got to say back to her, and it won't be polite!

    [Modified by: cressydec08 on December 23, 2007 03:05 PM]
  • we'll be obeying and worhsipping too. Mrs PetiteBride, that is exactly my thoughts on it - he is vowing to love me as much as Christ, if he does that I have no problem submitting. But anyway, like all the girlies here have said, submitting doesn't mean not having a voice, not being able to advise, etc. I won't say anymore because you've all put it so well!

    And Amen to Cressy on her point about feminism - since when did feminists acquire a right to usurp or criticise the autonomy of other women?! If your cousin says anything to you I'd like to hear what she says to that!!! You go girl!

    Now then... I'm not sure if I'm going to change my name, but that's a whole other debate... and my decision isn't based on feminist blabla either. it's more of a cultural thing
  • ShimmsieShimmsie Posts: 568
    I just wanted to say that I am heartened by everyone's responses. I really thought that I would be shot down in flames for being old fashioned! It is great to know that my H2B and I are not alone in feeling that these vows symbolise our relationship and I love the way you have explained your own thoughts on the subject.

    Thank you for helping to reinforce our decision.

    On the issue of name H2B is taking my name simply because I love my name and he hates his. Nothing to do with feminism I can assure you!
  • As a H2B all I can say is that a man should serve God, his family and his boss but that his only indulgence should be his wife.
  • whancockwhancock Posts: 158
    Hi girls, gosh, who would have thought that simple wedding vows would get everyone so wound up!

    I can't really talk as I'm having civil ceremony because we are getting married in Jersey(you have to reside on the island for more than 3 months to get married in a church) and even though my dream is to get married in a church and say those vows to the man I love and obey, Iwe have made the desicion to because we want certain family members to be apart of our day.

    But getting back to the vows, they have been said for thousands of years and all of a sudden because of femanisism, media and other peoples opinions being put before your own, you are now doubting these very words that have served their purpose for generations. I would not question them or their meaning, but take them to heart as they are the foundation of your marriage and your pledge to each other. Some that should not be taken lightly.

    Say them with pride and know that you know their true meaning.
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