Friday, April 7, 2017

The Vow of Faithfulness

   The vow “till death do us part”, in any language or version, originated from the Book of Common Prayer, published in 1549, an upshot of King Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic Church.  For centuries, the phrase “till death do us part” has been unconsciously borrowed and used as part of the marriage vow that we were all led to believe came from the Bible.  It is ironic that the vow was created owing to a king’s desire for divorce and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleynthe wife he  later ordered beheaded

My Philippine Marriage Contract
   The Philippines has no divorce law.  No matter how long or what circumstance the married couples have been separated, they are forbidden by the Catholic Church and law of the land to remarry.  However, the Bible’s stand on divorce is, as Jesus, himself had spoken, “However, I say to you that everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of sexual immorality, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Matthew 5:32)  This explicitly mean that Jehovah, the God of the Bible, allowed for divorce if sexual immorality has been committed.

   In their adherence to Bible principles, Jehovah’s Witness in the Philippines have something called Vow of Faithfulness.  This Vow of Faithfulness is not legally binding.  It can’t be used for any legal claim of benefits.  This is a three way vow between Jehovah God and the couple.  The only purpose is to make the marriage honorable in the sight of Jehovah.  The vow does not say “till death do us part”, rather it says “I recognize this relationship as a binding tie before Jehovah…to be held to and honored in full accord with the principles of God’s word” referring to 1 Corinthians 7:11-12, “To the married people I give instructions, not I but the Lord, that a wife should not separate from her husband.  But if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled with her husband; and a husband should not leave his wife.”  A break of the relationship could result in disfellowshipping of one or both.


My US Marriage Certificate
   Whether the nuptial document used  is a marriage contract, a marriage certificate or a vow of faithfulness, in the final analysis they are all made of paper and ink.  Love and commitment is written in the heart where it lives until the last beat.  

My Vow of Faithfulness
   The love of my life came home to the Philippines from the US in 1996.  The two of us met with Bethel authorities (Philippine Branch Office of Jehovah's Witnesses) to request the privilege to do the vow.  We said our vows.  He left me the morning after  without saying goodbye.  He stayed with me a total of three days.  It was like he came home only to have the Vow of Faithfulness with me.  He died in the US 18 months later.  By that vow, I know in my heart this is the man I will be with in paradise.
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