Here's an excerpt from a new book by Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller entitled The Meaning of Marriage. Enjoy!
Wedding vows are not a declaration of present love but a mutually binding promise of future love. A wedding should not be primarily a celebration of how loving you feel now that can be safely assumed. Rather, in a wedding you stand up before God, your family, and all the main institutions of society, and you promise to be loving, faithful, and true to the other person in the future, regardless of undulating internal feelings or external circumstances.
When Ulysses was traveling to the island of the Sirens, he knew that he would go mad when he heard the voices of the women on the rocks. He also learned that the insanity would be temporary, lasting until he could get out of earshot. He didn't want to do something while temporarily insane that would have permanent bad consequences. So he put wax in the ears of his sailors, tied himself to the mast, and told his men to keep him on course no matter what he yelled.
What can keep marriages together during the rough patches? The vows. A public oath, made to the world, keeps you "tied to the mast" until your mind clears and you begin to understand things better. It keeps you in the relationship when you're feelings flag, and flag they will. By contrast, consumer relationships cannot possibly endure these inevitable tests of life, because neither party is "tied to the mast."
This is good stuff!