Handcuffs and Wedding Vows

If I could do one thing during a wedding ceremony that would make my point about the vows the couple will exchange on that day, I would put them in handcuffs. I would throw away the key. And I would tell them that that is how the vows are supposed to work.

I would make sure that the ‘wedding bracelets’ would be made of some kind of exotic metal, preferably from some alien race, that would make it unable to be cut or removed by anything known to us here on earth.

The new wedding ring

Now, I wouldn’t just throw the cuffs on them and say, “Surprise! You’re stuck now!” I would explain how permanent the decision to get married would be for them. I bet they would think a little longer about it.

They would have to learn how to handle their different likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, and opinions. The handcuffs would force them to make compromises and accommodations. They would learn to love, or at least better understand the things that the other person loved. They would learn to appreciate each other and all that makes the other person unique. They would have to learn to look past faults and weaknesses. They would have to learn grace and patience.

They would not be able to go long without dealing with the issues at hand. The cuffs wouldn’t allow them to set up walls of offense and defensiveness.  They would have to learn to compromise and make every attempt to understand each other. They would have to deal with problems that arose from their new life together. They couldn’t storm off when they got mad.

They would be forced to live together…really together.

And, if they could not work it out it would cost them something; something serious. They would have to cut off their arm …with a rusty butter knife. Just as the decision to get married would not be made lightly, the decision to separate would not be made lightly.

It would put the challenges they were facing into a clearer perspective. You have to ask yourself, if it would be easier to cut off an arm rather than talk about a disappointment or frustration? If you chose the butter knife option, you would have to consider the reality of walking around missing an arm and know people will be asking you what happened. What are you going to say, “Well, instead of dealing with our problems I decided to cut off my arm?”

Imagine the way people would look at you for choosing to saw off your arm rather than deal with whatever obstacle was causing so much trouble.

Now, for all of you out there that are finding all of the flaws with my idea…I’m way ahead of you. First, I don’t have handcuffs of alien origin. That’s ridiculous. All I have access to are standard issue cuffs of hardened steel. Second, handcuff keys are pretty easy to come by so no one is going to have to chew their arm off (or use a rusty butter knife). Third, who in their right mind would let me do that in the first place?

Like I said, a person would have to really consider if they were going to make a commitment to love, honor, and cherish the other person for richer or poor, sickness or heath, or for better or butter knife.

That’s what I think the vows were meant to be for each of us. They were meant to be restraints to keep us together through the difficult parts of marriage so we can get to the incredible parts of marriage. Sadly, words are easily broken.

We all have people we love that have gotten or are getting divorced. There will even be people that announce their divorce and you will never have expected it.

I know people get divorced for many reasons. Every so often, maybe more often than not, I think that if I just threw a pair of handcuffs on the couple, put them in a room even with a rusty butter knife more couples would come out with both arms and fewer divorces.

If I could do one thing during a wedding ceremony that would make my point about the vows.

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About skinministries

Dave is an ordained elder and registered evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene. He was a Chief Warrant Officer 2 and flew helicopters for the Army National Guard. Dave is a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has worked with Jason Hanson, Luther Ellis, and Jeff Hartings to name a few, as a special trainer for the Detroit Lions. Dave also serves as a chaplain for the Oxford Police Department. He is a frequent contributor to The Citizen newspaper in Ortonville, Michigan. Dave is a graduate of Nazarene Bible College in 1998 and in 2008 earned a Masters degree in Spiritual Formation from Northwest Nazarene University. Dave and Ruth live in Oxford, Michigan and have been married for 27 years. Their daughter, Lindsay is married to Cody who is currently serving in Iraq. When he isn’t preaching or counseling, and the weather is right, you can look for him riding his Harley motorcycle. View all posts by skinministries

2 responses to “Handcuffs and Wedding Vows

  • Kim Nebel

    I would hate for someone to remain with me because they felt stuck, I think this commonly leads to taking people for granted. Better to treat your spouse like a precious person whose heart you are trying to win each day, because without them your world would lose it’s sparkle The courtship is never over when you’re married
    Had I been handcuffed to my ex, things would have gotten very bloody and someone would have been dragging around a corpse. I am thankful for handcuff keys and swift clean breaks. If someone ceases to deserve you, kick him to the curb and know that God still loves you just as much today as the day you made the BIG mistake. .

    • skinministries

      Kim, this is my third attempt to reply and hopefully my last. Each one disappeared…POOF!
      It is good to hear from you and I appreciate your comments. You bring up some points that I did not have the space to address. My point is simply that one the whole, many of our problems can be worked through rather than run from. We quit too easily.
      Perhaps another post is in order.

      Thank you for getting my thinking hat adjusted by taking the time to respond. Once again, I appreciate it…truly.

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