Saying I do

Faith & Inspiration

I will be taking an oath on April 21 to love and respect a man. It will only be for a short time. (I am 60.) As they say when they swear on the witness stand, "So help me God."

I have started seeing oath-taking all over the Bible, most recently in a Psalm that appears to be something like King David's oath of office:

"I will sing of steadfast love and justice. … I will ponder the way that is blameless. … I will walk with integrity of heart within my house. … I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. … A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil …" (Psalm 101).

The taking of oaths has fallen into disrepute in recent times. Theologically, we often cite Matthew 5:34 and James 5:12, and these verses must certainly be taken into consideration.

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Job took an oath not to look at women lustfully (Job 31:1), and there is no indication that God was not pleased with that. Jesus himself says that if our eye causes us to sin, we should pluck it out; if that's not endorsing firmness of resolution with one's eyes, I don't know what it is.

God seems not merely kindly disposed toward the making and keeping of vows, but positively adamant about it:

"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High" (Psalm 50:14).

Oaths have also fallen into disrepute because many people don't keep them.

Certain folks of a younger generation than mine strongly lectured me that I must live with a fellow for a while before marrying, because I cannot possibly know him now.

That was weird. I had to remind myself that advice like that passes for sound logic in a world without God. What is the sense of marrying a man you haven't lived with, only to find out after a month of marriage that he has a bad habit? You wouldn't want to marry someone with a bad habit. Would you?

In the old days, before the hippies and "free love" (I would invite you to check out Grace Slick's later interviews and see where free love got her.), people actually married people they didn't know very well. Oh, they dated and courted and did the best they could to assess each other's character, and then they said, "I do." They sealed it with an oath. An oath, almost by definition, means that things are likely to get tough sometimes, but we are not bailing out.

So I am going to do something insane and marry someone who, according to the wisdom of young people I know, has not yet been exhaustively vetted. I am going to take an oath regarding something full of risk. I am going to give my life to a cause I cannot see.

But come to think of it, there are precedents in my life. I have already had decades of practice in being oath-bound to the invisible.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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