Do people understand the vows they make?

Saturday March 14 2020


By Christine Katende

When Simon decided to marry Ritah, the love of his life, everything moved on smoothly right from their wedding day. It is that couple every one admired but when things turned sour, the beauty of the love they initially portrayed disappeared.
“I loved my husband so much. He is the only man I had even known. He made me believe that he would stand with me no matter the challenges that would come my way. Unfortunately, things changed when I lost our baby and failed to conceive again,” she painfully narrates.
Ritah adds that life became a living hell when her husband started womanising and withdrew from all his roles as a husband. No matter how hard the situation became, Ritah vowed to stick to him because she remembered she swore before the priest, her parents, family and loved ones ‘for better for worse’. It took the man about five years to change but Rita was patient with him and kept praying for him. Do people take time to comprehend the vows before they make them in church or court?
Have you ever wondered if you would stick to your husband if he ran mad? What if he got an accident and he stopped working? Imagine he took on another woman and sired children out of wedlock? Would you stay?
Are we blinded by the love and nice moments that we forget how worse it could get at some point in marriage? We sought the views of women on whether ‘for better for worse’ still holds water.

Peterson Walube,
Head teacher
We fell in love many years ago when we did not have much. Today, through patience, God has immeasurably blessed our marriage. In our world, the word divorce does not exist. Even when we get a misunderstanding, we have resolved that none of us should ever mention the word divorce. We are holding onto our vows until the end of time. If your goal is to impress people with a luxurious wedding, you will be disappointed. Marriage is work. For better for worse can work if both partners choose to commit to making it work. There is no shortcut. When you meet a good person who understands God, your marriage will work out.

Jacqueline Erinyo,
Hospital administrator
In this generation, couples wed and six months later, one of them is filing for divorce. Marriage is no longer an institution we used to revere back in the day. There are not many marriage role models out there. If you do not have money or you are not making her happy, she will let go. Some people enter into marriage because of pressure from parents. When that happens, infidelity will set in, hence divorce.

Diana Chemutai Ojaka,
For many, when storms come, they veer off the marriage path. Marriage is about perseverance, sticking to each other in good and even the worst times such as sickness and lack of finances. Many couples have stayed in marriage for over 30 years and are still going strong.

Alisha Nakitto Mpajji,
Many are carried away by money and material things to an extent that if at one time the partner fails to meet her expectations, she will walk away. Such people cannot accommodate any worse moments. However, a person who understands the meaning of marriage will stick no matter how bad the situation gets. Even the couples we admire have their low moments but they stick together not because they have no option of moving on but because they respect their vows- ‘until death do us apart.’

Betty Namakula,
Human resource manager
Today, many girls get married for the sake of show biz and fulfilling their parents’ dreams. These vows are not mere words. It takes patience and maturity to live up to the expectations of these vows. In some instances, women report their husbands to their parents in case of marital challenges such as financial constraints. The shameless parents will happily welcome their child back home, instead of supporting the couple to weather marital storms. How I wish we would be allowed to make personalised vows that are sure we we can commit ourselves to because most people never fulfil the vows.


Deo Ssekakoni,
Today, marriage is commercial. Consider the amount of money people inject into introduction ceremonies, proposals or engagement parties and weddings. At the end of the day, a man looks at his wife as an investment but not a partner. This, perhaps, explains why young people today fear getting married because of exorbitant budgets involved in the process of finding a loved one. So such a marriage whose roots are built on money cannot stand when the money disappears.

Kenneth Buyinza,
Medical doctor
This is the ideal, but in real life, we hear couples pledging “for better and for worse” but in the actual sense, they only expect “for better.” Many couples are always happy when finances are stable and children are healthy. The moment the opposite sets in such as failure to concieve, a man will quickly move out in search for a baby. And the moment finances or health get compromised, the woman will search of a better life. Even if she stays, her behaviour will change. Priests and pastors have to take time to explain to the couple intending to get married what the vows actually mean.

Simon Ogwal,
Commercial farmer
Marriage is a covenant between the couple and God witnessed by people. That is a bond which must be kept sacred. The couple invest time knowing each other, their tastes and differences and fostering healthy relations between the two families and clans brought together by the matrimony. It takes a lot of wisdom, patience and economic resources to build a relationship. It is easy to make the vows but when eventually love wears off, very many bridges will be burnt and some will threaten the relationship. Before you decide to quit, consider the time and resources you have invested in that relationship and the hustle of starting another one, plus the effect it will have on your children.

Counselor’s take
Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, a counselling psychologist at Talk Therapy Uganda, says a vow is an agreement between two parties. It creates a sense of trust, responsibility and accountability to the parties. The vows are still very necessary. Marriage is a journey with bumpy roads and in this, a couple needs to have continuous marriage coaching to cope with the changing patterns. Marriage is affected by economic, spiritual, cultural and social factors. It is not the vows that are a problem, it is the individuals that need to embrace the vows and keep learning the meaning and also learn to address the current issues affecting their marriage.