In my faith, I am taught that marriage, as we see it, is an affair of the state, a creation of the collective reality of a society that encourages monogamous commitments between adults with the intention of raising a family and continuing the population flow. On an angelic level, no such concept exists. The idea of marriage is what would be considered a marriage of souls, when two souls become so well matched, so entwined with each other, and so completing of the other that no other soul may take a higher place in the hierarchy of either's personal mythology.
What is more frequently practiced, as ceremony is something that seems to be enjoyed almost universally, is a vow of love, two souls coming together and making a commitment to each other of unconditional love. Some parts are omitted in the angelic version, as angels do not reproduce and cannot hurt each other. They can only be led to hurt themselves.
The Convergent Vow of Love
I vow to love you unconditionally for all eternity, for as long as you need that love.
I vow to be honest and to trust. I vow to have faith in you. Even when I cannot be there for you in body, I will be with you in spirit and that spirit will never abandon you. In your times of need you may call upon that spirit and you will find my strength.
I vow to honor all commitments we promise to each other and to never break a promise unless it is impossible not to do so, and I will work to avoid making promises I cannot keep, under all circumstances and the changing tides of time. I vow to share and to be open, and when I find I can trust you and know you will not turn me away for doing the same, then we will become one in spirit.
I vow not to judge, but to listen, and to offer everything I can to you. I vow to understand when we cannot be together in body and mind, and to be honest when I know I must go and to understand when the same is true of you. I vow to never do anything with the intention of hurting you, and will be honest when pain cannot be avoided.
I vow to give everything I can for the benefit, health and growth, of any children born of our love and that my vow of unconditional love will extend to them and that I will never deny them. Beyond that, their lives will always be more important than my own.
I vow to ask for nothing more than what you can give, and I will give everything I can to you. I vow never to try to give more than I can give and not to mislead you about what I can give. I vow to believe in you and ask that you believe in me.
What happens if someone breaks their vow? People break their marital vows on a wholesale basis. In the love vow, if you break your vows, you break the connection between you. What is lost is not in a physical sense, it is in a spiritual sense. You had a connection of unconditional love with a person that was honored. There is no greater spiritual high other than achieving a marriage of souls. You wasted it. There is no separation and no divorce. It just ends. You can't do a damned thing about it.
The vow of love does not replace marriage in the strictest sense. It is a different foundation in the relationship between two matched souls. From the foundation, one defines the nature of one's relationship. If desired, a traditional marriage vow can follow after the love vow is taken and followed. The gender of the people involved in the vow is irrelevant. The vow can be taken by people living on opposite sides of the globe or within the same household.
In able to follow the principles of "Give everything you can to everyone you know," one must avoid making vows and promises one cannot follow or keep. The love vow provides the foundation as well as a test of the love between two independent souls. If the vow cannot be followed, such things as marriage and promises of livelong fidelity and commitment are devalued and meaningless. Two people who took a vow of marriage after taking and following the vow of love will see marriage in a different, higher light than those who take it lightly.
Your own personal beliefs and those shared with the person with whom you take the vow become the structure built upon the foundation of the vow of love. It can be honored by monogamous couples as well as those who are polyamorous or cannot bring themselves to lock into the type of relationship supported by traditional marriage. It allows for the sometimes transitory nature of physical relationships by allowing them to change by supporting the honesty shared between two people. Those changes must be negotiated between the two people involved and must take into account all promises made through the vow. You are not deserting your love, you are allowing it to change and evolve and are avoiding placing roadblocks and walls between you. It accepts that the nature of relationships, of the orbiting of two souls, will change over time and rather than fight against that tide, accepting change with honesty and honor.
Forgiveness is also key, as it is central to convergent belief. One cannot maintain an evolving relationship with a foundation in the vow without learning to forgive and accept. Some things can be forgiven, but the alter the nature of the soul orbit dramatically. If one takes an additional vow of fidelity and then breaks that vow, the love vow command forgiveness, as well as honesty. The love vow continues if honesty and forgiveness is given by both persons, but their positioning in each other's lives may change. The love vow is based in understanding, acceptance, forgiveness and unconditional love. It is not an easy vow to honor under many circumstances, but if you allow the relationship, the orbit, to change then the vow can be followed. The love remains, it is everything else that changes, if you understand the vow and the nature of souls.
I have taken the vow five times. Two times the vow was broken. Two times it was not. I've never broken the vow. I just took the vow for the fifth time tonight.