“Public promises make a marriage. Marriages are founded on promises of lifelong, exclusive bonding. Provided that the promises commit both man and woman in good times and in bad ‘till death do us part‘, and that both intend to relate only to each other, the promises are effective in creating the marriage. Husband and wife can certainly make identical promises.
“But promises can reflect something even more profound. Since they unite not simply two people but a man and a woman – two different bodies for whom marriage holds different consequences, needs, expectations and emotions – the promises can express these differences, and traditionally have done so.”
These are paragraphs from an excellent article by Archbishop Peter Jensen in the Sydney Morning Herald.