Have you ever wondered where the lines “until death do us part” or “to love, honor, and cherish” come from? Well, today we have a short little answer for you!
In England, the church required that marriages be authorized through the Church of England (or other selected authorities, such as Quakers or Jewish). Within these civil ceremonies, the couple could provide their own vows, but most often they were taken from The Booke of Common Prayer.
The Booke of Common Prayer was first published in 1549, as a result of the break from Rome during the English Reformation. The Booke of Prayer is a prayer book that was used as a guide for structured services during worship. The book included the services for Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, funeral services, and marriage vows, among many other things.
The original vows read –
Groom: I,____, take thee,_____, to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.
Bride: I,_____, take thee,_____, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.
However, in 1928 a new version of The Book of Common Prayer was published, and the brides vows changed from “to love, cherish, and to obey” to exclude “and to obey”. This has become widely accepted use.
While the traditional vows still sound a bit different, this where they took root!