Ceremony Sample: Love & Marriage, Revised 8-26-2022
An author once wrote: 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. They have found their lives to be so entwined, that they have decided to live from this day on as a married couple.
Some people get married believing that marriage will magically bring them all the joys in life: endless love, built-in happiness and romance; eternal fulfillment; financial security and equality in housework. It would be great if it worked that way!
The truth is that marriage does not bring any of those things – a marriage is only as good as people make it. Each of you must add the love, kindness, appreciation, romance and all the other virtues you imagine your marriage should include. To be clear, you also have to decide that you will divide the chores as much as you share in the fruits of your labor.
Love, in a marriage that is a mature partnership between equals, fosters honest communication and a mutual sense of well-being. It is a promise to demonstrate your commitment, both expressing your love for each other, and being open to experiencing the love you receive. When you really listen, you learn what speaks love to each other in the things you do and say. Expressions of love might be as simple as daily morning hugs before work, small but meaningful compliments, playing a board game together, or whatever it is that lets you know they care. Love is often described as many different things to many different people, and it is. Love is what you make of it, by being together.
If you make the effort, you will find yourselves in a marriage that will grow and last for all of your years together.
2nd Reading or Poem (Optional or choose another)
I’d now like to share a poem which speaks to equality, by 20th century author and church reformer James Kavanaugh:
“To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.”
Declaration of Intent
Before you say your vows, NAME and NAME, look at one another. Take a mental picture of this moment. You each have come to recognize the value in yourselves and your relationship – that you are both deserving of love and worth the effort that goes into loving each other. You will share a few words here today that will transform your lives. It is not the words themselves that hold power, but your intentions that give those words meaning as vows to one another. You approached this ceremony as two people who love each other. When you step away, it will be as a married couple, and you’ll call each other husband and wife (or partner/husband/wife).
With that in mind, I ask:
Do you, NAME and NAME, desire to be married? Do you intend to make the effort to keep the love between you growing, for as long as you are together?
“I do/We do.”
Do you have the ring? As you place the ring on NAME’s finger, please repeat:
“I, NAME, want you, NAME, to be my husband/wife/partner.
I will always be open and honest with you,
I will respect and care for you,
I promise to cherish our love and our friendship,
and to share my life with you from this day forward.”
“I give you this ring
as a symbol of my commitment
because I love you.”
(Repeat for other partner)
May you always find happiness abundant in your marriage because you choose actions and words that make one another happy.
May you always find love abundant in your marriage because you choose to love one another.
NAME and NAME, it is my honor, in the presence of these witnesses, to now pronounce you officially married/husband and wife.
Congratulations! You may kiss!