A vow is a weightier promise, a solemn pledge dedicating oneself to an act, service, or way of life. Vows must be taken completely voluntarily and are spoken in the presence of others who act as witnesses both to the taking and the fulfillment of the vows. This phenomenon is not unique to a specific culture or creed; it can be found across the globe in religious and secular contexts. Christian vows are made to God or in the presence of God. A vow forms a relationship between the person making the vow and God, as well as with the others in the community. But do vows work? What gives us confidence that we are going to be able to keep them, any more than the promises people make and break on a daily basis?

Vows are not about how strong of will we are.