Sample Ceremony 1: Being in Love, Revised 9-29-2016
Being in love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just “being in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
We have been invited here today by NAME and NAME to share with them this very personal, very significant moment in their lives. In the time they have been together, their friendship, love and understanding of each other have continued to grow, and now they have decided to live their lives together as a married couple.
Many people get married believing a myth that marriage will bring them all the things they have longed for in life: companionship, romance, friendship, fulfillment and laughter, financial security, joys doubled and burdens lessened with someone else to help shoulder them.
But the truth is that a marriage is only as good or as great as people make it. When the excitement of being in love and the rush of the wedding and the honeymoon wear off, there has to be something more to draw from. Each partner must give to the relationship, each must continue to add kindness, love, appreciation, compassion, sharing and all the other virtues they imagine a marriage must include.
There is no love in marriage. Love is in people. And people must choose to put love in their marriage. If they don’t, love will get left out.
There is no romance in marriage; people have to add romance and passion to their marriage, and stay interested in each other. If they don’t, romance will get left out, too.
To make a good marriage last requires that you be willing to work at your relationship: that you give as much as, if not more than, you take; that you try to leave things as good as, if not better than, you found them; and that you bring a healthy version of your “self” to the relationship.
When you love someone, you put things into the relationship, you give, you invest, you nurture, you build. You don’t just put in what is meaningful to you: you put in what is meaningful to the other person, what speaks love to the other person.
To make a great marriage grow, you have to treat your relationship like a living thing, nurture and tend to it and invest in it. You have to see your partner as a real person, as someone with tastes and preferences different than your own, with ways of wanting to be loved and cared for that are different from how you want to be loved and cared for. You learn to compromise, to communicate, and to give of yourself.
An author once wrote:
“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater … The love you have for each other is bigger than those small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.” (This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen)
When you love someone, you make the other person and his or her well-being and happiness just as important as your own. You have internalized them and their best interests so much that they have become a part of you, inseparable from you. This is not merging with them or forgetting yourself; this is self-extension. This is what real love is all about: knowing another person well enough that you have come to naturally desire to fulfill their needs as if they were your own.
Each of you is influenced by your upbringing, parents and family, your dna, your culture, friends, your past choices and your own self esteem — through all of these things, and sometimes in spite of these things, you each have grown enough to recognize the value in yourselves and your relationship, that you are both deserving of love and worth the effort that goes into loving and caring for each other. If you make the effort, you will make your marriage a great marriage that will grow and last for all the years you will be together.
Before you say your vows, NAME and NAME, look at one another, and remember that your love – rooted in respect, trust, and acceptance – is the foundation of an enduring and deepening relationship.
You are here today together, not because of any religious or civic law, but out of a desire to love and be loved by another person fully, without limitation. No other ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those you now assume.
Do you, NAME and NAME, desire to be married? Do you promise to love, comfort, respect and be faithful to each other, for as long as you both live? “We do.” [Note, this is said together.]
Please repeat after me.
“I, NAME, take you, NAME, to be my wife/husband.
I love you for who you you are,
and for who I am when you are with me.
I love you for who we are together,
and all that we have yet to become.
My promise is:
to continue to love and care for you,
to trust and respect you,
to share all of myself with you,
and continue to grow with you,
as I stand by your side today, tomorrow, and forever.”
As a symbol of the promises you have made, each of you have brought a ring to give as a gift.
NAME, do you have the ring? As you place the ring on NAME’s finger, please repeat:
“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love.”
May these rings be a reminder of your love, and a reminder to live that love each day.
Nothing is easier than saying words, and nothing harder than living them day by day. What you have promised today must be renewed and re-decided tomorrow. You must still decide, each day that stretches out before you, that you want to be married, that you want to keep the love between you growing.
Someone once said, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
Love makes burdens lighter; because you divide them. It makes joys more intense because you share them. Love makes you stronger, so you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another!
NAME and NAME, it is my honor, in the presence of these witnesses, to now pronounce you married/husband and wife.
Congratulations! You may kiss!