What Do Marriage Vows Mean?

wedding cake topperI was raised without religion. I was not raised to think that marriage vows meant anything. Really, I had no idea what marriage was or what it meant. If anything, I thought it was something I should avoid. I had no earthly clue as to how marriage might be beneficial or in any way, important.

My childhood was unusual at the time. But now, I think that most (American) kids grow up, ignorant of how marriage might enhance their life. I’ve been thinking about this because my marriage has been exceptionally challenging lately.

If you’re an old-timer, you may recall I wrote about how difficult my husband’s chart is and how difficult our composite chart is. Back when we were courting, he warned me up and down.  He told me how his luck was very bad. He told me how no one ever wanted to be in a foxhole with him..because they knew that whatever was coming would hit him first and worst. Wanting to survive the war(s) and all, they avoided him like the plague, if at all possible.

He wanted me to know what I was getting into.  He was serious and I took him serious because he’s a serious man and I had the charts, yes?

I thought, long and hard before committing to him. I talked to people. satori was one of the people I talked to…

“If I put myself in proximity, I will be impacted by this,” I explained.  “I will not have an easy life…”

My husband wanted to me think about the situation, carefully. I took several weeks to mull it all angles. His offer. Ultimately, I opted in.

Unsurprisingly, my husband (and astrology) was right.  He’s got that Mars, Mercury, Saturn T-square that constantly grinds. His life is cruel and grueling. Living near him, I witness this, daily. DAILY.

So today, I was thinking about my marriage vows, “for better or worse”. There is no limit on the “worse”.  And that’s good. Because the “worse” can come down on either side.

I don’t think many people treat marriage this way anymore. They’re married until it’s not fun anymore or until they’re bored or until they think they see something better out there, or whatever. I understand this, because I was taught the same thing.  There is no reason to put up with anything, it’s all about yourself as an individual. I sure am glad I learned otherwise.

I got married with Saturn (exalted) in Libra. I did it on purpose. I told the astrologer who elected our wedding day, that our relationship was serious. We wanted this bond to last.

I’m hoping when Jupiter enters Libra, people might view marriage differently. Because if you just keep dumping everyone, you wind up with nothing in the end.

What are your views of marriage? How did you come about them? Have they changed over the years?

37 thoughts on “What Do Marriage Vows Mean?”

  1. Before I got married I looked at the relationships around me. Relatives who were married a long time but would go weeks without talking, another one married 4 times. Having a Libra moon, Venus & Jupiter I had an idea of how I wanted my marriage to be. But of course it wasn’t just my marriage, it was our marriage. There were times I wanted to quit, and we were separated for 3 months around our 3rd year. We’ve had our ups & downs but we’ve been married 33 years in December. I wouldn’t do anything differently.

  2. I come from a family where marriage vows are sacred. My maternal grandfather left my grandma for another woman and my grandma never remarried. Dedicated herself to church and her kids. My mom and aunts all are married to their only husbands. They have forgiven affairs and money troubles and husbands who hardly spent time with them in their younger years while raising the kids practically alone. I’m married but I love my husband with conditions. Those conditions have more to do with loyalty than anything else. We have been struggling with money for a while now and though I do sometimes feel like “why am I putting up with this?” I don’t see it as a reason to leave because he’s great to me and he’s a great dad to my kids. I want/need a family and I’ll try my best to keep mine in tact.

  3. I was brought up Southern Baptist. I’ve been romantic and marriage minded since I was a child. I pined for love before I even knew what it was. My maternal and paternal grandparents never divorced but my mom is on her third and final marriage and my dad is going for #5 this summer. I was a wimp in both of my marriages. I’m not proud of myself but I do hope to marry a third and final time. I’ve had plenty of alone time to do inventory and implement changes. Still learning at 43.

  4. I know that “romantic” and “marriage minded” are often mutually exclusive but they don’t have to be! I have a tight Neptune moon square but I also have a tenth house Saturn that trines my sixth house Venus.

  5. When I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, marriage was very traditional. As a woman, you lived to get married one day and have children. It was a “Father Know’s Best” society. Religion was part of it, but it was mostly societal pressure. Growing up I felt being married with children was the “right” way to live. I would get married one day and live happily ever after like everyone else. It was all just a fairy tale.

    I got married at 19 and he was 21. We were just two kids that weren’t ready to settle down, so we separated when I was 22. I just picked up and left one day and never went back – Uranus in the 10th house style. The families were both way upset with me. They were expecting grandchildren, not divorce. My mother told me I ruined the family and didn’t talk to me for a year. At the time in my chart I had Pluto in the 1st house when it was in Libra, so you can imagine the flack I got. Looking back, I was so strong with that Pluto energy, but it was a very tough time.

    That experience really shaped my view of marriage. I wanted nothing to do with traditional marriage, I wanted to live my life my way and no one would tell me otherwise. I didn’t want to make a mistake again about a life partner, so I “lived in sin” with my now husband. It was not an acceptable lifestyle in the 70’s, but it worked for us. We had a good life together, so after 15 years, we decided to get married and eloped. Nothing changed between us after that.

    My view of marriage is that you have to have love. Not just sex, you have to love the way he is because life throws lots of curve balls. You can work through all of them if you have real love. It takes work sometimes and there are times when you want to end it, but if you stay and you can talk with each other you can work your problems out.

    I’ve been with the same man for almost 40 years, my whole life, and we’ve gone through thick and thin together. I still love his sense of humor even though he’s 63 and getting crotchety. I am too. We’re like a comfortable pair of old shoes.

    1. Nice JoFrance, I grew up in the 50s and60s also. Lived w/my now husband in the early 70s. You’re right…love, respect and compromise. All that came natural to me watching my parents, however.

      1. The 50’s and 60’s was really a pleasant time to grow up in, in a lot of ways. Families didn’t live so far away from each other. There was a very traditional lifestyle that was community oriented.

        My family environment wasn’t good a lot of the time because my father was an alcoholic, so I spent a lot of time with other families that didn’t have those issues. It really helped me emotionally and was very nurturing.

        1. My mother and father who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s both had cruel, negligent, abusive parents as did many others so the postwar family values era sure didn’t prevent it fro happening. My mother did find some solace with the parents of her friends who were kinder.

  6. I knew from day one my husband would never make a million dollars, and that he would struggle all his life to earn while other men with the same experience always out earn him.

    I knew that our life together would be a series of ups and downs financially. And, it has been.

    I was married to two men that made exceptional livings. Only problem was – what I didn’t know before I married them was that they were shady at best. I could have continued to live with both of them. They didn’t leave me, I left them. I left a new house and car, pool in the back yard and my kids and I wanted for nothing material at all. I didn’t have to work either. I could have gone to the gym and the spa, and lived with either of them.

    They were liars, cheaters and always gone. I now a lot of women right now that have that life and are completely happy that way. They don’t care what their men are doing. They have a lifestyle and they will keep it even if he is sleeping with god knows who.

    There was no way I could do it. Both times I left with the clothes on my back in near poverty trying to raise my kids alone. But I wasn’t living with a lying cheat.

    My husband is honest and good. His heart is good. He always sets out to do the right thing. He is good to people. He has been good to my children, my family, our animals, the neighbors.

    We may someday end up in a one room house ….I don’t care. I am in it to win it. I would stay with him if he had no arms or legs and push him in a wheelchair up hill in 5 feet of snow. I love the loyalty. I love his good heart and good intentions. I don’t worry what he ‘might’ be up to and I know he loves me. Just plain old me. And that is all I have ever wanted in a marriage.

    The only reason I would ever leave would be if he proved that all I think I know about him is wrong. I waited…. 9-10 years. There was no way I was going to end up with another roaming Sag.

    Scorpio does good with Pisces…. his Cap moon does well with my Taurus moon. We fit.

    It’s rare that we come to blows. I may fuss….’go pick your shit up please’ or he may ask ‘what in the hell did you do to that” ??? (silly stuff) but crazy fit throwing fights….NO, we don’t have them. We have really come to understand each others need for down time…. Pisces needs to be left alone sometimes but so does Scorpio and neither of us care about that.

    The others….nothing but friction, eye rolling, coffee mug throwing, tantrums on both ends, screaming…. Sag turning up missing … (forget it) and finally me hating both of them.

    I could never go back to that. I would rather be alone.

    I did give up on marriage at one time. I swore it off. My grandparents were married all their lives to the same person and my mother was with my step dad for 45 years until he passed. Still, I saw no proof it was good from my POV.

    I plan to be married to this man until I die. Or until he dies. And should he go first I am not sure I would live though it. I barely made it through losing the dog. I am not sure he would live through my loss either. I guess we say things like that and do go on, but I know for a fact that should he go first I will NEVER marry again. I could never find another one like him. He is really the best (for me)

    It sounds mushy and sickening to some when I speak of it. I have friends that laugh when I go on about how good he is. And NO its not always easy. What is? But, when I was just sick last fall – really sick – he was all in it… fighting right along side me. Every step of the way. He took care of me like a child. He was loving, loyal and good through the whole thing…and I was handful.

    He is a blessing to me. My best friend and my life really…. I believe in him. And, I respect him.

    We will never be wealthy. I don’t give a crap about that. I hit the lotto with heart. And that is all that matters to me.

    We wrote our own vows. We went alone to a little church and read our vows to each other and then went to dinner…then went home. No one was there with us. It was private, no witness. Just us. We don’t even have a picture of it. We didn’t need one. Not one member of our families supported our marriage. In fact his parents are still pissed 20 years later (????) They had another person in mind for him and his mother is still best friends with her. They haven’t spoken to him since 2006 I think. They love what’s-her-name. They still do things with her (eye roll) My parents said he was too young (he is 10 plus years younger than me) and they feared he would leave as I got older (trust me ….that Cap moon of his MUCH older than me hahaha) (He is like old man river some times)

    Because of our marriage his family wont speak to him…and here we are still going strong 20 years later. The shame is, if his mother could see how I take care of him…. but Aqua women hate me…and she is one….and she does. Not that I have ever lost a moment of sleep over it. (we have never had words between us, I don’t know what her problem is)

    1. That was beautiful soup!
      My husband is a Pisces too. Cancer Mars.?❤️❤️

      Though my husband and I get into heated fights…too much Aries energy I guess. I think we both secretly like it. It’s keeps things interesting. ? Aqua moon n his Aries moon. ????

    2. Nice to read your marriage has been a strong one. My husband is Pisces and I’m a Gemini; we both have earth moons. I think that’s what makes it work. Although his Mars is conjunct my Venus.

  7. I was told many times in my life, not to marry if I wanted to be happy. People said they did not know even one person who was happily married.

    I wasn’t sophisticated enough to consider the source.

    1. I can see the reason behind that argument. Marriage is not easy sometimes. I’ve been married 12 years and I really wanted to quit once but I’m glad I didn’t.

      I feel I’m happily married but my marriage is also not perfect. We both want this and sometimes it takes work.

  8. I have never been married. But when I do get married, I want it to be once … I would hope most people thought that way.

    Elsa has written a lot about commitment that has been very illuminating for me. I think before, I thought that you’d just get married and it would be easy … or easy-ish … or something you had to deal with … I don’t think I thought it through that much, honestly. Now it’s much more clear for me.

    I think that when you get married, you should try and inoculate yourself against whatever foreseeable problems you can think of, and have a discussion about them. Because a lifetime’s a long time. Issues about sex, work, time spent together, children, families, sexy coworkers … illnesses … I think there’s something really lovely about commitment, knowing there’s one person in the world who’s in your corner and wants you to do your best. Someone who will try to be their best, and expect that you will be your best too, but if you’re not … you’re in it together.

  9. anonymoushermit

    Venus in Aquarius. I might never get married, might feel tied down. Not judging those who are married, or whom want to get married, I’m judging myself. I wish I wasn’t so wild. Scared lots of other men off because I have commitment issues.

  10. I think marriage vows are very serious, I come from a catholic background and saw the pain of both my grandmother and beloved mother when their husbands (bound in Holy matrimony) wandered off, leaving the kids, debt and burden on them. Neither of them remarried and carried their responsibilities (my mother died early and her pain is always with me, she didn’t want to divorce and loved him to the end.)I swore to God that I would never leave my future husband, since it’s truly devastating for the children. Life scarring – so I take vows very seriously (I even moved abroad to a Catholic country to marry my husband and bring up my sons.) I’m extreme – mainly because of the pain I saw and lived with through three generations and I see the benefits of Holy Matrimony. You’ve got God on your side and this helps win through all the challenges, conflicts and difficulties. I’ve been married to my loyal husband for 22 years and I’m staying the course. Death do us part….for better and for worse. We want to be an example to our sons, it’s not just about one marriage but larger family, grandmothers and grandfathers, peace in the exteneded family, future generations and legacy. It’s a hard ideal but someone has to try to make it real. I admire and thank you Elsa for sharing so openly your difficulties and successes in marriage. Marriage should be given the thumbs up , we’re all so vulnerable and marriage is the cornerstone of a healthy society.

  11. This is an area that really shows you’re a product of your times…an environment.

    That I changed course may be explained by my 7th house Uranus. To be in a sacramental marriage is to rebel against the norm of my era / time and place.

  12. I am a sag with the moon and Saturn in the 7th, (with Venus in the 8th sitting right with Pluto). Marriage is probably the one thing I’ve wanted most in this life but at 40 still haven’t gotten there.

  13. I believe marriage should be reserved for those people who are serious about it, like you. Or my parents, who are still together. I would never get married unless I was absolutely sure, without a doubt, this was a lifelong commitment I wanted to make. I have no particular expectation of finding a commitment like this, because I haven’t even had a successful long-term relationship. But getting married just because “it’s the thing to do” seems like foolishness to me, and it seems to be the reason behind most marriages.

  14. I am finally going to be married next August and I am ecstatic over the fact because with a Venus Saturn opposition I never even expected to achieve this!! We both have Scorpio Moons conjunct each other and I can’t remember what else. Elsa you did a composite report already for me and it looked really good. He proposed on the day before Valentines day and neither one of us gas ever been married

  15. It sounds like you were very well prepared and, maybe because this was a later marriage, considered it very seriously before committing. I think that may be the difference. I don’t think people get married with the intent of bailing as soon as it gets tough, I think most people who marry early in life simply have no clue what tough entails or how to choose someone you can go the distance with. People marry because they look nice together and have good careers and everybody things they should, or because they’ve been dating a long time and it seems like the next logical step, or because they have kids, or because one of them needs citizenship. Like you, whether due to my upbringing or whatever, I never valued marriage or felt any great need to do it. Not surprisingly mine didn’t last and couldn’t have. I still am not certain that I see the value but if I ever change my mind I will definitely be way better prepared.

  16. I have Aqua on the 7th house cusp and it’s also unoccupied so I didn’t think I would get married nor really had the desire to growing up. I only saw a series of divorces in my family, including my parents. (Uranus in the 4th) My mother was deeply in love with my father and never recovered from their divorce and refused to date whereas my father was an alcoholic womanizer and philanderer who has now been married 4 times. His current wife is only a few years older than me! His longest marriage while I was a child was 4 years and 3 of those were spent separated!

    Now after 2 marriages, the first right out of high school was very short-lived, abusive, tumultuous, and deeply regrettable and the second-quite peaceful and long-standing, I will only say that marriage shouldn’t be taken as lightly as society tries to make it. All these tabloids these days are full of articles like “So and so are divorcing after 14 months of marriage due to ‘irreconcilable differences’…” After 14 months, you can honestly say you didn’t even try!

    Marriage isn’t about a fabulous wedding or about “me getting mine” –it’s about serving your partner and your family. It’s a contract that says you will uphold your partnership during the hardest times, whether that means relentless boredom, fighting, chaos, sexlessness, illness, job loss, infidelity, weight gain, personality changes, drug/alcohol addictions, kid issues, foreclosure, etc. The vows are clear: “through thick and thin..” and some of those years are reeeeeeeallly thin. If only people really understood those words before jumping into a marriage in haste.

    I just watched a former, much younger colleague go through a two year ordeal where his wife was involved in an accident while heavily pregnant. She was put into a medical coma and delivered the baby by C-section while unconscious. Mind you, they’d already been put the wringer with IVF treatments to even get pregnant and here he is scrambling with a new baby and wife with an unknown outcome. Whether she would live or die and what her quality of life would be if she made it. At his age, most guys would have walked away or not cared as much. But he never, ever gave up on her, he kept the most positive and prayerful attitude through everything. She came out of the coma and has been in an ongoing intensive therapy and surgeries since. Due to some brain damage, she lost 3 years of memories and her personality changed. She woke up with scars and anger and is still struggling to deal with the things we take for granted. Like walking, caring for their daughter, even making a simple meal. She doesn’t remember her pregnancy. But he has been so patient and loving during this entire thing and I really believe that his love for her is what brought about her miraculous healing. I’ve never seen so much unconditional love in action. That, to me, is what marriage is about!

  17. Currently divorcing 38 years he left me for money, two three years ago it started, now woman # 6 , I am trying to stay positive. When children are the reason to try harder , for me, I started to never ask never want and I realize today I should have said this is soooo unfair, so if it is good say thank god if it’s bad get the heck out of dodge!

  18. Avatar

    I know I am a bit skittish in terms of marriage and I would have to be very sure if I took that step. I am far from a ‘player’, and am very committed in a relationship (plus very loving and a lot of fun). But I saw a lot of people trapped in unhappy relationships from an early age (due to cultural and religious beliefs as well as financial dependency) and it took me a long time to understand that I had a way out if I wanted it, that I wasn’t trapped if I was in an unhappy relationship. I’m simply not living in the same world.

    I’ll fully admit I’m not even sure how to judge if I’m truly compatible with someone over the long haul (3 planets in 5th, 5th house ruler in the 5th as well, 2 of those including Venus square Neptune in the 7th). Pluto bashing my Moon and Saturn’s square to Venus in the past few years have given me a more realistic attitude. I think the toughest aspect in my chart is by far the Venus/Neptune square. I had THICK coke bottle rose-colored glasses for a lot of my life.

  19. My husband and I have a strong Saturn signature in our Composite chart we have staying power for sure we gain strength and solid foundation from our partnership and both know now that as great as we each are on our own we are better together in everyway. It took a long time and serious testing to get us to agree to the seriousness of the bond between us. He married and divorced 2 other women before he was willing to accept the reponsibilty of our partnership. He thought he could have the upper hand control in those relationships (hes Scorpio rising) where as with me he knew it was more an equal match and required him to be a better man than he initially wanted to have to be. I on the other hand had to be willing to be attached and not feel shackeled or burdened tied down or fenced in(I’m a Sag rising) But when Saturn means business boy oh boy does he mean business and he and I have that strong Saturn bond that told us both no matter what our immature, self driven desired we were better together. Once we both accepted the Saturn lesson as is Saturn’s way we were rewarded with a rock solid foundation partnership. First there was the restriction caused by our mutual immaturity then the reward for accepting the lesson doing the work and reaping the solid reward all in classic Saturn fashion. 24 years strong and growing stronger everyday.

    1. I really appreciate what you have written about Saturn. People see that in synestry or composite charts and they freak. Yes there will be obstacles and tests. But it also means endurance and longevity. And commitment. Good for you !

  20. Good article. My views have changed. I have been witness to two solid unions that had ups and downs – but were the bedrock of family. (one for 55 years, the other 60 years and counting).

  21. I have a marker in my hand that indicates a very idealize romantic marriage. It’s a soulmate signature. I was told the people with this marker often find Mr. right late in life.

    I was married young and divorced young, have had many lovers and long periods alone ( and fine) and now just coming out of a four year relationship that I never really saw as long term, yet it’s still hard.Still wondering about it all.

    I find it hard to Imagine being with the same person for a whole lifetime. Maybe it’s taken me a long time to grow up. Or maybe I just like my freedom!!!

    I have wonderful three grown children, four beautiful grandchildren, on good terms with my ex. No complaints.

    Uranus Sun, Sag moon, Venus and Gemini

  22. They’re married until it’s not fun anymore

    Sounds like a very Pluto in Libr idea. I grew up when the family portrayed on screen was a dysfunctional one.

    I have a don’t look under the hood attitude about my parents marriage.

    Surprisingly, many people in my generation have been getting married, fairly on time in their mid to late twenties. Sure they had been getting married in barns or whatever but it is traditional enough.

    I thought we were leery of marriage, waiting til the real thing but I think we’re doing traditional marriage just trying to make it hip and modern if you will, you know in a barn on a bike with a sleeve of tattoos.
    We know the hazards. What I’m really curious about is how our generation will do parenting

    I think the best representation of cross generational relationships is a play called humans. I really recommend it it’s very Pluto in Capricorn.

  23. One thing I can say is I do not idealize marriage or celebrity relationships. The dramatic arc of romantic comedies and celebrity relationships made me feel leery when things get quiet. This relationships become boring and people cheat model on TV and in comedy has been proven bullshit by my relationships.

    I grew up apprehensive of Chris rocks married and bored or single and lonely ain’t no happiness nowhere dictum. But he’s an Aquarian.

    What I was taught about marriage is if it works don’t jinx it, also that the woman has to be the clever one and trick a man into thinking he’s boss.

    I think our culture doesn’t prepare us for real relationships until late . Until after college when we learn the nightmare of dating then when we get the hang of it all the sudden we have to pop out babies and aren’t wanted

    My problem is I idealize bohemianism and flings or a very teenage love style. I still kind of wanted the experience of dating a boy in a band or having some sort of romantic summer. I want to be protected from boredom rejection disappointment. Pretending and isolating myself from competition protected me in my teenage years. Having no barrier from wanting to be wanted when I started dating made me bitter against men quickly.

  24. I’ve a stellium in the ziggly lines, marriage seems like the scariest courtroom to me, not a jail though. What you’ve written, and what make-up artist, Zukreat, and her husband said about marriage working if you Always think of the other person in every decision you make, really helped me to understand what level you have to be functioning at to have a chance of lasting in one.

  25. If I met someone who was well-spoken, well-endowed and well-off, and marrying him meant I didn’t have to work, I could see myself perfectly content wed to a guy who’s a bit of a tomcat as long as we were good friends and had great chemistry and he treated me well. My Venus in Cap doesn’t mind transactional relationships and on some level I prefer them. Like works better for me than love, it has all the benefits and none of the pain. And if I got lonely, I’d have the option to seek solace elsewhere as well as needed.

  26. To not give a damn what a guy I’m with is doing with some other woman as long as I have a comfortable life feels completely right to me. He’s my friend, he’s getting laid, good for him, I’ll be doing the same later too. High five.

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