Till Death Do Us Part: The story of The Vow



Irreconcilable differences is the most common reason listed in divorce filings. People fall in and out of love faster than they fall in and out of bed… and that is pretty fast. Most believe love, romance, and marriages are like in fairytales: the Prince and Princess fall head over heels and live happily ever after with no problems. But when in real life a couple encounter difficulties, it’s like cold water is being dumped all over them. They didn’t think marriage was messy! It’s easier to throw in the towel then to work through issues and conflict. But there are people who’ve done just that. They’ve gone through inexplicable hardships yet have endured. They understand and recognize that when they said, “’til death do us part,” those weren’t just hollow words; they meant something of great importance.

Picture this: it’s 1993. Ten weeks earlier, you married the love of your life. It was a long haul in getting her interested but between your bond of sports and your love of the Lord, you knew you were right for each other. And then… it happens: a freak car accident. Kim has to watch as his wife, Krickett, battle for her life in a hospital bed. That alone is a lot for people to swallow. It doesn’t stop there. When Krickett wakes up from her state of a coma, she doesn’t recognize her husband’s face or voice. She doesn’t remember Kim at all! The last eighteen months of her life have disappeared; where Kim is concerned, that means the time they met, fell in love, and got married. Kim was devastated. All the memories they made together were now one-sided. His wife didn’t recall anything.  He was still a newlywed and madly in love, but to Krickett, he was a stranger. The photos of their time together, even their wedding video… none of it registered in Krickett’s mind.

At this stage of the game, a lot of people would bail. After all, who wants to keep having their efforts rejected over and over again? Who wants to be married to someone who doesn’t even know who they are? Kim did; his faith in God wouldn’t let him do otherwise. He was resolved to make his wife fall in love with him all over again. It happened once before, it could happen again. He had a chance to start over with Krickett and even if she didn’t remember their beginnings, they could have this time.

This is how their story ends: Krickett never did recover her memories, but she and Kim are married to this day. They are the proud parents of two beautiful children and have a love story that takes a lot of people by surprise. It is extraordinary, after all. So much so that they wrote a book to share with others. Once news of a movie starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdam hit, it was repackaged by publishers and labeled “The Book That Inspired The Vow.

It makes sense that Hollywood would want to get its hands on the story. But changes were made, changes the Carpenter’s wish hadn’t been made so drastically. The entire premise of “why” Kricket and Kim stayed together (their faith) isn’t mentioned. The film has many good qualities, but sadly, the faith that makes true love possible a second time is something Hollywood didn’t want, which means the ending is also different. Outside of a spiritual reason to make a marriage work, people don’t really stay together when your spouse doesn’t remember you.

The Vow, despite its issues, is really quite good. The names are different (this time Leo and Paige Collins) but many of the same character traits hold true. Channing Tatum is positively fantastic as Leo, the man desperately trying to make his wife fall for him all over again. Your heart breaks for him as he goes through agony, especially when Paige remembers her old boyfriend and not Leo. He does everything he can to trigger the past and even though it doesn’t work, Paige can’t help but see the kind of man Leo is.

One of the subplots involves Paige’s relationship with her parents (played superbly by Sam Neil and Jessica Lange). She was estranged from them until her accident. Once that happens, they are all she remembers, but as life goes on, Paige remembers why they went through moments of difficulty—her dad had had an affair. That’s hard for any girl to process. In one conversation with her mom, Paige asks her mother what she said. That’s when one of the most remembered lines of the movie—for me—came. She says, “I wasn’t going to leave him for the one thing he did wrong; I stayed because all of the things that he did right.”

Marriage is a dicey, messy affair. It always will be. Who knows what situations any of our marriages will encounter as the years pass by. Kim and Krickett’s story should linger with us no matter where we go. Work for your marriage. Act in such a way that your spouse will fall in love with you all over again. It will be a story others will enjoy hearing someday. That is the happily ever after one should shoot for. ■



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