Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous union of two people whose comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered in romance. Today Bride and Groom proclaim their love and commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for them, in the new life they now undertake together.
The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires “love,” a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our natural state of being.
So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities which make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty . And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other. One who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a piece of ourselves, but a piece that only they could give us.
The secret of love and marriage is similar to that of religion itself. It is the emergence of the larger self. It is the finding of one’s life by losing it. Such is the privilege of husband and wife – to be each himself, herself and yet another; to face the world strong, with the courage of two.
To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes faith, to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey.
The true art of married life is in this an inner spiritual journey. It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two endowments which diminishes neither, but enhances both.
Marriage is a mutual dedication, a cooperative venture in every sense. It is a relationship based on love, respect, and a determination by both partners to adjust to each other and support one another, in health and in sickness, in joy and in sadness, in ease and in hardship.
Through this co-operation, we give ourselves, our lives and love. into the hands of the one we love. We do so trustingly and generously. And so, each of us receives a gift: the life and love of the other. We receive this gift, not only from the one we love, but also from the children who we brought into the world, and from our friends and families as well.
And so as Bride and Groom's friends and family, we are here to share with them this joy and hope, and to see them off on the path they will walk together. May it be a path of blessedness, bright with flowers of prosperity and spiritual awakening; a path of ever deepening, ever broadening love that they will travel, arm in arm. throughout eternity.
Bride and Groom this celebration is the outward token of your sacred and inward union of hearts, which the church and temple may bless, and the state make legal, but which neither state nor church can create nor annul. It is a union created by your loving purpose and kept by your abiding will. It is in this spirit and for this purpose that you have come here to be joined together.
Groom, will you have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together in marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, and honor her, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live?
Groom: I Will!
Bride, do you take this man to be thy wedded husband, to live together in marriage? Will you love him, comfort him. and honor him, in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, so long as you both shall live?
Bride: I Will!
Traditionally, the passage to the status of husband and wife is marked by the exchange of rings. These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love. Love freely given has no beginning and no end, no giver and no receiver for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken.
Groom, please repeat after me while you place the ring on Bride's finger:
Bride, I give this ring to you in token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.
Bride, please repeat after me while you place the ring on Groom's finger:
Groom, I give this ring to you in token and pledge of my constant faith and abiding love.
Bride and Groom, remember to treat both yourself and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
I now pronounce you husband and wife!
You may kiss your bride!