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Quick poll - if you got married in church, did you choose to 'obey'

(169 Posts)
Wuldric Sat 15-Jun-13 21:24:15

And did anyone you know choose to obey?

After 22 years of marriage DH told me how very shocked he was when I told him I wasn't going to obey. He seemed not to blink an eyelid at the time. Apparently he was surprised by my radical feminism and how far out I was.

But was it radical? Really?

On September 12, 1922, the Episcopal Church voted to remove the word "obey" from the bride's section of wedding vows. Other churches of the Anglican Communion each have their own authorized prayer books which in general follow the vows described above though the details and languages used do vary.

So women were ditching the obey as far back as 1922. Please tell me I am not out in left field. Not that there is anything wrong with being in left field, I just didn't think I was IYSWIM.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 17-Jun-13 18:08:20

MOst certainly not, 26 years ago. However can't remember it actually being an option in the Catholic Nuptial mass, but I would not have said it anyway. Unless DH had too.

He is now after 26 years trained in obedience!

grimbletart Mon 17-Jun-13 18:04:59

No I didn't. I'm an adult. If I had wanted a parent I would have stayed at home with my Dad.

AdoraBell Mon 17-Jun-13 15:24:45

We've been married 15 years, this week, civil wedding rather than church, and No, I did not fucking vow to obey, because it didn't appear in his standard vows.

I did have to remind him a few weeks ago when he 'reminded' me that I had vowed to obey, silly born bastard had forgottenhmm

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Mon 17-Jun-13 15:17:00

I got married in the United Reformed Church last year and wasn't given the option to obey. Which was a good job, because I wouldn't have agreed to it and DH would have been flabbergasted if I'd wanted to.

OhDearNigel Mon 17-Jun-13 12:41:13

No I did not. However, the reason behind not saying this is not what normally would be considered. Without getting too biblical, the "obey" vow from the woman is traded off by an understanding that the man only makes his decision based on his wife's desires and opinions and makes that decision with solely the benefit of the family unit in mind and no selfish desires at play. The way that our vicar described the benefit of the "obey" vow was that it gives a framework for a decision to be made in the event of both spouses being at loggerheads over an extremely important decision (eg. when one spouse has very strong feelings that their child to be educated privately and the other party morally objects to it).

I would have probably vowed to obey had I been confident that DH always made decisions with the above in mind - and as I wasn't 100% confident that he would I didn't obey.

Sorry, that was long and convoluted !!

thanksamillion Mon 17-Jun-13 12:03:30

I promised to obey (in 2000) and DH promised to worship me. It's working so far smile

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Mon 17-Jun-13 11:38:24

Yabbut, the marriage vows weren't written in Greek, they were written in English in a time where obey would have meant obey and men were considered a superior sort of human to women, and husbands were the masters of their wives. Context is everything.

Wellwobbly Mon 17-Jun-13 10:54:11

Offred, did you have to be so personal? Where did your extrapolation (this is what Mr W says) come from? How is marriage devalued through the personal (brought up rigidly Catholic) inadequate behaviour of one man? There is much more to life than the Wobblies.

I was explaining the translation of the word, where it came from, and what it really means, that 'obey' DOES NOT mean subjection: how does mocking my marriage, take that away?

I checked up and found there is another meaning to 'obey'. It also means, trust. Well, I am in favour of that.

Just because my marriage has been a mockery, does not mean that the institution of mature marriage is anything but a wonderful and desirable thing. I still think wistfully of how it could be, and what I always longed for.

The concept of obey, which is putting aside human wilfullness and submitting to God, in Arabic is called 'Islam'.

Anyway, here is a bibilical explanation seeing as you seem to think I sucked it out of my thumb:

The word "obedience," hupakoe, is quite different from the word "subjection." Its corresponding verb, from which it comes, is hupakouo, and means literally, "to listen to," with the derived sense of "to obey." It has always been translated "obey" in the New Testament excepting at one place, Acts 12:13, where Rhoda comes "to listen to" Peter's knocking. This word has been used nowhere in respect to the wife's duty to her husband, with one safe exception, in an illustration.

Thank you! [bows]

cory Mon 17-Jun-13 09:56:20

As for the Latin: yes, it is a compound of "ob" (towards) and "audire" (to listen)

However, compound words often have a different meaning to their individual parts and even in Latin the word "oboedire" does mean "obey".

cory Mon 17-Jun-13 09:54:13

should add that I couldn't have even considered promising to obey my husband and he would have felt profoundly uncomfortable with it

to me that is the whole point of marriage: that we are equal partners, listening to each other and guided by each other

noone makes good decisions all the time

cory Mon 17-Jun-13 09:49:00

That wasn't even an option in the foreign country where I married. The only reason I even knew about it is because I had read the Laura Ingalls books, and she refused to use it (with the support of her groom) sometimes in the 1880s or whenever it was.

BIWI Mon 17-Jun-13 09:02:03

It is indeed just a word. It is a word which has a very specific meaning! No need to try and nuance it with anything else.

Why are you trying to hard to suggest it doesn't mean what it does mean? confused

sarahtigh Mon 17-Jun-13 00:00:29

was married in scotland in Free Church of scotland (presbyterian) where wording of vows is much more varied whether church or registry office and flexible promised to be a faithful, loyal and loving wife; DH did the same

Wuldric Sun 16-Jun-13 23:50:50

See - this is what I struggle with.

The women who are prepared to say obey, do so despite the words they are saying.

The vast majority of the obeyers are saying 'Well, obey doesn't really mean obey"

But you know, it does.

GroupieGirl Sun 16-Jun-13 23:45:03

I don't know that we've thought about his vows...the only reason I've thought about mine is because of the "controversial" obey. We do have an equal relationship, and our vows will each reflect that regardless of the exact words we choose.

He may well not say 'obey' but he is not a student of Middle English, and would probably view the word as many posters on here do.

After all, it's just a word. We can all imbue words with different meanings and nuance.

MrsGSR Sun 16-Jun-13 23:44:48

Most of the time he protects me from myself! I'm very clumsy and he walks around after new in shops catching what I knock over...

In all honestly he doesn't need to protect me, but I love that he wants to.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 16-Jun-13 23:42:02

MrsGSR, what does your husband need to protect you from? Do you live in a warzone or a particularly lawless area?

thenightsky Sun 16-Jun-13 23:32:07

Its probably not even an option nowadays. We got married in 1980 and the vicar told us it as old-fashioned then.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 16-Jun-13 23:30:01

I got married 9 years ago in a church, the CofE vicar didn't even offer the obey version, it was all ''love, honour and cherish''.

My SIL vowed to obey, she got married a few months before me. I said to her ''you do realise you're marrying my brother'', but she had this quaint idea that marriage would change him and make him responsible and put others first. No prizes for guessing how that turned out.

BIWI Sun 16-Jun-13 23:16:29

GroupieGirl - and is your fiance going to commit to listen/honour/respect you?

Because if he isn't, then you don't have an equitable relationship.

And I suspect your friends won't be surprised - they will be shocked/disappointed.

schooldidi Sun 16-Jun-13 22:31:39

I would never vow to obey anybody. I wouldn't actually obey my dh (we've currently got no plans to get married anyway, we're happy "living in sin" grin) so to my mind it would be a bad start to the marriage. Promising to do something I have no intention of doing would cast doubt on the rest of my promises.

We had this discussion at work a few weeks ago and there were quite a few of us who were very surprised that anybody would include it in their vows now. One woman actually had included it and seemed incredulous that we were surprised. She even told us that it was all down to the choice of husband, ie if you choose the right man then he will make all good decisions and you would be happy to obey him. I just feel that if you include obey in your wedding vows then realistically what you've promised is to give in every time you have a disagreement, that's really not me.

MrsGSR Sun 16-Jun-13 22:19:03

wuldric I think I agree with your last post! If your not comfortable saying it you definitely shouldn't. I respect your right to choose whatever vows you want smile

Groupie: if you really think that it means listen/honour/respect then why won't you both be saying it?

GroupieGirl Sun 16-Jun-13 22:08:59

I'm getting married this year and plan to obey. As I understand the Middle English origin means to listen/honour/respect and it is in this vein that I shall say it. My partner knows the meaning I have given the word, and it will surprise people!

Wuldric Sun 16-Jun-13 22:08:29

It's all about the roles we feel comfortable playing, is it not? I couldn't say obey - because I wouldn't obey and I would feel hypocritical promising to be obedient.

Although there was something a little bit hypocritical about my saying vows in Church in any event, given that I am not a believer. But still it was important to DH and everyone was there.

So should we not respect the position of wanting to obey in the way that we respect women who wear a burkha (which for me is another symbol of inequality). I think so, even though it seems puzzling to me.

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