Five Reasons Marriage Rings and Vows Don’t Work

If you find the title of the article a bit odd, it is a response to (and somewhat a parody of) an article posted by CovenantEyes blogger, Jessica Harris. In it, she mercilessly beats down several strawman arguments with the ferocity of an NFL linebacker. Her article is entitled, “Five Reasons Purity Rings an Pledges Don’t Work.” To demonstrate the absurdity of her criticisms of a program that has helped countless teens uphold the biblical mandate of sexual purity, I have substituted the concepts of the purity ring and purity pledge with the marriage ring and wedding vows.

1. Marriage Is A Heart Choice

With the emphasis placed on adultery avoidance, the wedding ring might as well be renamed to the no-cheating ring. When men place themselves in precarious situations, they think they can just glance down at that little round thing on their left ring finger and “snap out of it.” Wrong. Marriage is about the heart; therefore, wedding rings don’t work.

2. Marriage Requires God’s Strength

Since cheating involves physical interactions with others, it can be accomplished through sheer girt, determination, etc. People have obviously forgotten about relying on God’s strength for remaining faithful; therefore, marriage ceremonies don’t work.

3. Marriage Is Not A One-Time Choice

Marriage is an important decision, but it’s also a daily decision. People obviously do not realize the seriousness of the wedding commitment; therefore, wedding vows don’t work.

4. Marriage Is Ultimately Their Decision

We can be guilty of arranging marriages without regard to the couples who must ultimately make that decision and commitment. Parents drag kids down the aisle kicking and screaming and force ignorant adolescents into betrothal; therefore, marriage ceremonies don’t work.

5. Marriage Is A Lifestyle, Not Simply A Part of Your Life

It’s a cultural thing. You’re supposed to graduate high school and college and then get married. People have treated marriage as a status symbol; therefore, wedding vows don’t work.


Let’s be clear. CovenantEyes has a great thing going on. It helps couples deal with (and overcome) the very real issues of pornography addiction. I have no doubt that Ms. Harris has plenty to offer to youth and young adults concerning the topic of purity. Her arguments fall flat when she dismisses the True Love Waits program in its entirety based solely on her own personal experience. If Ms. Harris has empirical evidence offer that shows this program to be wholly ineffective, then by all means, she ought to bring this evidence to light. But all she has is weak anecdotal evidence which leads to huge logical holes in all of her assertions.

Do you have a personal story about how the True Love Waits program has helped or hindered your goal of being sexually pure until marriage (and beyond)? Share in the comments section below.

Further Reading:

“Five Reasons Purity Rings and Pledges Don’t Work” (Jessica Harris)

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1 Comment

  1. Luke Gilkerson

     /  September 17, 2012

    Great critique!

    I will say, however, that I believe your parody actually goes to enforce the value of Ms. Harris\’ statements, not their absurdity. I’ll explain…

    You said wedding rings don’t work as a means to help people to not commit adultery because adultery is a heart choice. I would actually agree with this statement: simply having a ring on your finger does not change a heart that wants to be unfaithful.

    You said marriage ceremonies alone don’t work: people must reply on God\’s strength to be faithful in heart and body. I actually agree with this statement: simply going through a ceremony does not make one a faithful spouse.

    I can go on, but you get the point. Rings and pledges \”don\’t work,\” and by this Jessica is not saying they aren\’t valuable at all. She actually clarifies this at the end of the article: ”That being said, purity rings can be a great reminder of a choice to remain pure, but are by no means a prerequisite for purity. Choosing to wear a purity ring or choosing to sign a pledge is not the same as choosing to be pure.” In the same way, I would also say a marriage ceremony, though valuable, is not equal to a daily commitment to fidelity, and a wedding ring, though a valuable reminder, is not equal to the daily commitment to love your spouse with sincerity.

    The title of the article was obviously meant as a hook, not a definitive statement about the complete worthlessness of purity rings and vows.

    I agree, however, that it would be good to follow up this article with some empirical evidence about the ineffectiveness of the ”true love waits” movement. Perhaps that will be Part 2.

    Luke Gilkerson
    CovenantEyes.com

    Reply

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