Marriage and my Vows
From John Lennox’s book, ‘God’s Undertaker – Has science buried God?’ – p. 40,41
“Let us imagine that my Aunt Matilda had baked a beautiful cake and we take it along to be analyzed by a group of the world’s top scientists. I, as master of ceremonies, ask them for an explanation of the cake and they go to work. The nutrition scientists will tell us about the number of calories in the cake an its nutritional effect; the biochemists will inform us about the structure of the proteins, fats etc. in the cake; the chemists, about the elements involved and their bonding; the physicists will be able to analyze the cake in terms of fundamental particles; and the mathematicians will no doubt offer us a set of elegant equations to describe the behavior of those particles.
Now that these experts, each in terms of his or her scientific discipline have given us an exhaustive description of the cake, can we say that the cake is completely explained? We have certainly been given a description of how the cake was made and how its various constituent elements relate to each other, but suppose I now ask the assembled group of experts a final question: Why was the cake made? The grin on Aunt Matilda’s face shows she knows the answer, for she made the cake, and she made it for a purpose. But all the nutrition scientists, biochemists, chemists, physicists and mathematicians in the world will not be able to answer the question – and it is no insult to their disciplines to state their incapacity to answer it. Their disciplines, which can cope with questions about the nature and structure of the cake, that is, answering the ‘how’ questions, cannot answer the ‘why’ questions connected with the purpose for which the cake was made. In fact, the only way we shall ever get an answer is if Aunt Matilda reveals it to us. But if she does not disclose the answer to us, the plain fact is that no amount of scientific analysis will enlighten us.”
If there is anything worth learning, it’s that we DO NOT know everything, and no single system of understanding will EVER give us such knowledge. The above example stuck to my mind as I was about to be married, not only as a powerful refutation to the validity of scientism (” the dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measurable”), but I was imagining someone attempting to give such a comprehensive explanation of my love and commitment, laying it all out…in the hopes of removing any spirituality behind it, just trying to make it all physics and biology…just imagine this: A man in a nice suit shows up, a very well educated person who just ran all of the correct tests on the subject, and he’s going to break it all down for me and explain every physical molecule and how they moved and interacted to make this all possible, and the thought made me want to laugh. How much more mysterious, complex and glorious is this human life, and so much more then what we give it credit.
Marichu and I was married on October 5th and we are now a happier couple. Personal Vows were exchanged. Shiny gold rings now adorn us, and I kissed my lovely bride with a mild tipping motion which officially sealed it.
I think about what this all means, these VOWS we give during a wedding in particular…and the first thing that seems obvious about any marriage, (regardless of it’s actual love-content) is that a person gets to have less taxes taken out of their paycheck, as the law recognizes me as a married man (cool, I guess, but not motivating at all to me as a REASON to marry)…beyond the legal ramifications involved in no longer being ‘single’ according to the law, what does this union of two lives really mean? In particular, Why do we humans take the time to give vows at all? Certainly these deep assurances being spoken are already understood at some point during the relationship, in order for it to be agreed that we should be standing there in the first place, getting married, and words can hardly be considered the most reliable and sincere vehicle of human intention (as the saying goes: “put your money where your mouth is”), and not all (I’d guess very few) people cling to HONESTY as an actual Principle..it’s something you “try” to live up to, sure…because like the golden rule, “you treat others as you would have them treat you back”, (but only when the risk is low enough) …certainly for most HONESTLY is not something so important you’d do virtually anything to avoid damaging it, but yet here we are, getting married and speaking the most meaningful words we can bring forth in our life that we have ever spoken (and getting very emotional over them), to that one special person that completes us. We make bold promises about our future, hoping against all odds that our ability to be honest IS seriously valued by our special someone as something more than a pragmatic “best attempt”.
Most people highly regard the sincerity and integrity in others (even those that lack it them-self), and they do so regardless if such things are weighed against any divine judgment that can later make amends of any falsehoods, or by weighing it more tenuously against the opinions of men/women they respect; but there is something about words so wrought (in VOWS) that brings about a very profound trust that as human beings, we can rise above the base animal-physical-mammalian level of merely existing, procreating, evolving, exploiting for gain, etc.. so much so that perhaps even the most adamant materialist among us can for a moment experience something akin to the non-physical (God), something transcending the “random unguided/undirected process of life” that is so blindly (pun-intended) championed by such a purely humanistic person. As humans we enjoy much phenomena that exists beyond mere physicality, these experiences and choices that MAKE us distinctly human are not something any other creature can partake in. Human choices and relationships not driven by a blind mechanical process, but rather a designed, intelligent, intentional one. What OUGHT TO BE (vs. what IS) is not easily decided by those that would demand and insist to measure it with their already intelligently-designed instruments before coming to terms with the answer.
Any methodological human system (science, philosophy, religion, etc) that is divorced from the entire scope of humanity and it’s experiences (and ALL that it includes, EX: that data which falls outside of it’s purview), will never be able to prove or explain my love and my conviction to Marichu on our wedding day, of how much she matters to me, of what this commitment we are making means; forever these things are powerfully subjectively mine and uniquely human. Because I have come to accept there is something higher, something more perfect, something of which my perfection tries to mimic and clearly never WILL match (at least in this life) as a standard for myself, this will motivate me and inspire me to continue to improve myself for her, and for us. Our willingness to make such vows during a ceremony and subject it to the criticisms and evaluation of others, all while existing in a less than stellar level of perfection than the ideals we hope to achieve, acts as a promise to one another (in the most sincere way) that we believe it’s possible to exceed what it means to be human, and any limits the world or others would place upon us in the future; and I believe that level of excellence is worth fighting for.
these are vows I spoke to Marichu on Oct 5th, 2013, they are what I’m fighting for, and always will:
“How do I express the depth of my heart for you with mere words, to speak so briefly and somehow do it justice? It’s just that I know how easy it is to merely say words of love and commitment, how little effort it takes a person to merely open their mouth and form words, but…
My love, if ever the strength of my words should be lacking, now or years from now; or if my ability to even speak someday be compromised, I vow that my heart would still beat just for you, and as strong as it does right now, standing here, in the witness of God and family, and friends, and I vow to you that it will never fail to find its most sincere expression, in some way, perhaps where words can be discarded as useless or irrelevant, because whether it be in light or darkness, in sunshine or rain; I vow that THIS love will always be for you, and you alone.
Even if the world should crumble around us, I vow that I will commit myself to keeping us both safe in the arms of God, always focused on our joy and passion, always aiming for greater sincerity and truth. My resolve to love you, protect you, keep you, and to cherish you every day of your life is beyond reproach. I vow with not only these words, but also with every deed of my life from this day forward, that I will stay true in my love to you, until my very last breath, and if God would see fit, if He would bless me so abundantly yet again, I will find you even when all the lights go out, to continue loving you beyond death, even beyond time itself.
I have been blessed to learn from a wisdom far, far greater than my own, a profound truth, and that truth is this: that, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails, and I vow that our love will never fail.
All of this and so much more I vow to you, my only love. Now, and forever. ”
I love you Marichu!