In our culture marriage is a fantasy of romance and bliss. In the Christian subculture we make it even more unreachable ... Soul mates, perfect union of agape love and all. I think the mark of the BEST possible marriage is kindness. That is the summary of almost 40 years of monogamy.
I once sat through a two hour ceremony with a pastor and two "prophets" who spoke all kinds of words over the couple, including that their marriage would be a sign to the nations, would touch the whole world etc. I knew the couple. I sat there thinking, just tell them to be kind to one another. Please! Within two months the couple were at war, calling down curses on each other, phoning the police and reporting alternate abuses, etc. So much for being a sign to the nations.
I am practicing yoga these days. Say what you like, it is a practice that helps my body and also engages my mind and life intention and fits very well with what deep spirituality I may have. The problem I have with it is that I have poor balance. It will get better.
The other day I was standing in the kitchen with my right foot against my left calf and my hands above my head, working on concentrated balance. Big Steve came into the kitchen carrying a large pair of scissors. I laughed, fell out of balance and said to him, " You missed your moment! You could have stabbed me! "
He did not smile or joke with me. This is what he said. " Marilyn, the very last thing I could or would ever do, after I had done the absolutely most impossible thing I could think of - ( pause) like kissing satan! - would be to hurt you." Then he turned and put the scissors in the drawer and walked out of the room.
That, my friends, is the best marriage vow or declaration of love I have ever heard. Maybe we need to change our marriage ceremonies and say things like that instead of grand declarations of love. Just saying.