Mary Poppin’s comeback, “That’s a pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken,” echoes in my head as I listen to partners repeat marriage vows to one another. Weddings may be impressive, but statistics have it; human beings are not good at keeping their promises. The divorce rate is such that almost every person now-a-days has been affected, directly or indirectly, by broken vows. How do we experience a promise fulfilled?

A vow is a declaration made by one person to another, binding the person who makes the promise to do, or not do, a specified act. Vows are important. Promises can reveal expectations. The problem is, human vows are frequently presumptuous, preposterous, or naïve.

It is almost comical as I look back and picture my then fiancé, and I, in church, making promises to one another at our wedding. To put it bluntly, I was young and stupid! The expectation of “happily ever after” was tantalizing, yet fragile; mainly because life is not a fantasy.

So, the first year of our marriage was dicey. Settling into the practical aspects of life with a mate seemed tedious. But, instead of pushing myself, or my husband, to keep the euphoria of our relationship going, I pushed myself to sit down and be reasonable. And then, a few light bulbs went off in my head.

Light bulb number one was, no more promising (swearing) to do something I’ve never done before, or vowing not to do something I’ve done already. Action speaks louder than words.

Light bulb number two was, set practical, yet satisfying expectations.
Here is a pertinent example, on the subject of intimacy, of how those light bulbs shed light on spiritual unity within our marriage.

“Making love” is common verbiage. The cliché “making love” is repeated in movies, on the radio, and out on the streets. We’ve probably said it ourselves. And, we are trained to know very well “making love” means having sex.

However, this framework is problematic.

In all reasonableness, how can “making love” produce a world full of disease, abortion, and unwanted children? Why does rape exist, if sex has to do with love? Why do we innately cringe when infidelity occurs? And, why are ex-partners, who previously made love, now sending out high frequencies of resentment, lies, and spite, and polluting our mental milieu?

Basically, sex is overrated, but I didn’t want to underrate it either. So, I reasoned, starting with love.

Due to my religious background, the phrase, God is Love, came to mind.

So, God isn’t only loving, but God is Love itself? Infinite Love.
I ribbed myself. The idea of “making God, Love,” was so preposterous that from then on my definition of sex was no longer overrated or underrated. My husband and I became honest about sex. When we want to have sex, for the purposes of either multiplication or birth-controlled devotion, we say just that to one another. Sometimes conversation will follow the request, usually not, but our sexual activity is respectful, spontaneous, and satisfying.

Sex is only one part of our relationship. After twenty six years of raising children, fostering children, financial ups-and-downs, career changes, traveling, family deaths, moving, anger, forgiveness, crying, laughing, having sex—human life experiences—it is apparent that, thoughtful affirmations experience a fulfilled promise. Let me explain.

Every day, my husband tells me I am beautiful. Well, maybe not every day, but it feels like it. I never expect him to say I am beautiful. I don’t anticipate it. He will declare beauty even when I am sick and distraught. And, after his affirmation, I affirm to him, A beautiful person sees beauty. And, we mean it. We feel it. They are not words filling dead air. They are profound promises manifest, coming from something greater than ourselves; coming from God, Love. It is similar to saying, It is snowing outside. And, it IS snowing outside. No stopping the promise fulfilled. We don’t do anything to fulfill the declaration, but we acknowledge what is done.

Human vows won’t make goodness, or love, happen. So, don’t work so hard to make something happen. Right now, the promise of Love is fulfilled. As we act on the spiritual truth of Love’s fulfilled promises, our expectations become reasonable and we inevitably experience unbroken vows. From 21st Century Science and Health, “Love is reflected in love.”

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl Petersen revised and updated Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health. Petersen's book, 21st Century Science and Health offers spiritual counsel on relationships, healing, and religion. Her book can be found online at