As I was writing Wednesday’s post, I thought of The Vow. The movie opened last week. I have not seen it, so this is neither a review nor a recommendation. I am, however, familiar with the story behind it, the story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. I don’t know if the movie accurately recreates their story, but the book written by the Carpenters themselves is available for anyone who wants a more accurate representation.
This is their story in a nutshell. Kim and Krickitt met over the phone, got to know each other, fell in love and got married. Ten weeks after their wedding they were driving to Krickitt’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving. She was at the wheel. There was a terrible car accident and Krickitt went into a coma. When she awoke four months later, Kim was by her side. She didn’t know him. She didn’t have any memory of the previous 18 months, and she still doesn’t. She didn’t know that she was married. When she saw her wedding pictures, she recognized herself as the bride, but she had no memories of that day or any part of the relationship that she had built with Kim. So many things could have happened at this point. Krickitt didn’t remember Kim, and she wasn’t the same woman that Kim had married. The accident had changed her personality, and she had to relearn the most basic things. For many couples, this would be enough to justify divorce. Okay, it didn’t work out. You go your way, and I’ll go mine. That was not the case for the Carpenters. Kim and Krickitt stayed together, not because they were experiencing the warm and loving relationship that prompted them to get married in the first place, but because they had made a vow. Kim honoured the vow that he had made to Krickitt and before God even though Krickitt was not the same woman that he had married. Krickitt made the choice to learn to love Kim again, not because she felt the emotions, but because she had made a commitment.
God intended for marriage to be a serious commitment. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce, (Mark 10:1-9) Jesus explained that divorce was never God’s intention. Moses allowed divorce because he was dealing with humans in a fallen world, and insisted on the provision of a certificate of divorce to protect the woman who was deserted by her husband. A woman would be in a very vulnerable position in that society if she could not be married. Today, as then, the point is not what the legal documents say; it is the condition of your heart that matters to God. Marriage is a symbol of Christ’s relationship to His people. We are His bride. How would we feel if He didn’t take His commitment to us any more seriously than we take our commitment to each other? What if He decided to leave us because He just didn’t feel the love anymore? We can be thankful that God is more loving and forgiving than we are, but we should also strive to be keep our vows.