Couples are abandoning "till death do us part" wedding vows

AUSTRALIAN COUPLES are abandoning "till death do us part" wedding vows in favour of those with a get-out clause, just in case their love "shall falter or fail".

Celebrants claim that only one in five couples from almost 40,000 marriages in NSW last year stuck to traditional vows.

Instead, some are dropping phrases about lifelong commitment, replacing them with finite pledges including "as long as our love lasts''.

A few even make agreements to review their marriage after as little as five years.

Divorce rates have dipped slightly, but one in three marriages ends in divorce and celebrants say the trend is acknowledged in ceremonies.

Celebrant Coral Kortlepel said many newlyweds had accepted "if you're not happy, you don't have to stay together'' and some were writing it into their wedding vows.

"I actually had a couple recently that said: `I will love you today, I will love you tomorrow and if our love shall falter or fail, I will respect you for the period of time that you were in my life','' she said.

"People are starting to think that you're not meant to be with one person your whole life and perhaps they needed to learn a lesson from a marriage, but then move on, if they're not happy.''

Celebrant Michael Teulon said he presided over a couple who made a ``three-to-five year agreement, plus options'', instead of committing for life.

But others said they refused to oversee marriages not entered into "for life'', arguing that these were not valid.

"The way the laws are, a marriage must be voluntarily entered into by a man and a woman for life, so I wouldn't actually perform a marriage, if the couple were putting a clause into their vows saying it might not be for life,'' celebrant Elaine Searle said.

Newlyweds Abbey and Rick Steadman dropped "till death do us part'', but replaced it with a promise to commit to each other for life.

Mrs Steadman said she thought it was wrong for couples to enter into marriage, if they thought it might not last forever.

"When you get married, you should be with that person your whole life. What is the point of doing it, if you're not?'' she said.


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