Most Americans recognize that vows are serious promises.  They are an important part of our life.  When we join the military or accept political office, we vow to defend our constitution from enemies within and without.  In court, we swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  In many civic organization, we pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands.  Marriage vows also contain a number of solemn promises. Vows are NOT to be taken lightly.

When God gave his law to Israel, He emphasized the seriousness of a vow.  In Numbers 30:2, we find, "If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon stated, "When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed" (Ecclesiastes 5:4).  Those that fear God will be afraid not do His will.  Those that love God will want to do His will (Cf. John 14:15).  

When we take our marriage vows, we do so in the sight of God and those present.  These promises are not to be taken lightly.  They are not just words, they are vows.  These solemn obligations usually include: "for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish, till death us do part."  These life-long obligations are inherent in our moral code.  The spouse that deserts or divorces a spouse that becomes sick, is frowned at in our society.  The man that throws aside his wife of decades for a younger woman; or the girl that casts aside her husband to marry a richer or more successful man is not considered a roll model by those with integrity.  

An integral part of our marriage vows include sexual fidelity.  The vows usually include, "and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her (or him), so long as you both shall live?"  Those that watch Judge Judy, or related shows, are keenly aware that even those living together (and not married) get extremely upset when one of the "significant other" is sexually unfaithful.  Sex outside of marriage is sin.  Sexual unfaithfulness of a spouse, is the only grounds for dissolving the marriage and/or marrying another according to Jesus (Matthew 19:9).   Hebrews 13:4 concludes the subject, "Let marriage be had in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge (ASV)." 

Dale I. Royal, 
Elk City, OK