January 1, 2000

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Wedding Vows (with choices)

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GREETING (Choose one)

A.            Dearly beloved we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony; an honorable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union which exists between Christ and his Church; whose holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence in Cana of Galilee. It is not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons come now to be joined.

B.          We gather to acknowledge and to bless a marriage that has arisen. We come together to celebrate a discovery and to record in the minds and hearts of all present the ripe event of a love that has bloomed. We gather also to mark the reality that marriage must overcome many forces that would destroy it. Love is an act of creation; a direct sharing of a process. Love can survive only by being born again and again. Love is dynamic and will fly away from a marriage which has become static and unbending. When love lives, as it does here today it reflects the deepest and most tender secrets of the universe.

C.         We are gathered here together in the sight of God to witness and celebrate the marriage of _____ and _____ who have committed themselves to an everlasting bond of mutual love and who now wish to formalize and ask God’s blessing on their union. Mutual love is one of the richest experiences and most precious gifts we know. Marriage is both a threshold and a continuing process in that experience. The relationship must continue to grow with care, nurture, and an unending awareness of each others’ needs and feelings. It requires a solemn commitment which is to be entered into reverently, advisedly, soberly, and in love of God. It is also to be entered into with joy and celebration. In this we now share.

D.          We welcome _____ and _____, their families, and their friends to this celebration of their love and blessing of their new life. _____ and _____ have asked you to share this moment when they bring the fullness of their hearts together in the presence of God and the gathered community. This is a joyful time — for now their love will have taken a great step forward to fulfillment. And a pattern of living will be developed between these two, whereby their response to God’s love may be worked out to please God in all the ways that marriage can bring.

E.           Friends, we are gathered here at this hour to witness and to celebrate the coming together of two separate lives. We have come to join this man _____, and this woman _____, in marriage, to be with them and rejoice with them in the making of this important commitment. The essence of this commitment is the taking of another person in their entirety, as lover, companion, and friend. It is therefore a decision which is not to be entered into lightly, but rather undertaken with great consideration and respect for both the other person and oneself.

F.           Love is one of the highest experiences that we human beings can have, and it can add depth of meaning to our lives. The sensual part of love is one of life’s greatest joys, and when this is combined with real friendship both are infinitely enhanced. The day to day companionship — the pleasure of doing things together, or doing separate things but in delighting to exchange experiences — is a continuous and central ?part of what a woman and man who love one another can share.

THE RESPONSE OF THE FAMILIES

The marriage of _____ and _____ unites their families and creates a new one. They ask for your blessing as you rejoice in this union. Will all of you, by God’s grace, do everything in your power to uphold and care for these, _____ and _____ in their marriage? We will.

DECLARATION BY THE MAN AND WOMAN

A.            I require and charge you both, as you stand in the presence of God, before whom the secrets of all hearts are disclosed, that having fully considered the holy covenant you are about to make, you do now declare before this company your pledge of faith, each to the other. Be well assured that if these solemn vows are kept inviolate, as God’s word demands, and if steadfastly you endeavor to do the will of your heavenly Father, God will bless your marriage, will grant you fulfillment in it, and will establish your home in peace.

B. _____ and _____, I charge you with the responsibility to keep alive; to grow, to change, to maintain the capacity for wonder, for spontaneity, for humor; to remain pliable, warm and sensitive. I charge you to give fully; to show your real feelings, to save time for each other, no matter what demands are made upon your day. I charge you to see the meaning of life through the changing prism of your love; to nurture each other to fullness and wholeness, and in learning to love each other more deeply, learn to love the creation in which the mystery of your love has happened..

C.  _____ and _____, out of the awesome process of creation throughout millions of years, you two have appeared. ~ each of you unique, distinctive, wondrously personal. You have chosen to journey together down this earth valley in the brief moment of time that is yours. From this day forward, you will become a unit of life that will bring forth futures. You are both called into a new existence. The old things have passed away; a new heaven and a new earth is now your dwelling place. For the whole universe has come to each of you in the form of a particular person who has a unique love for you and is love by you. Therefore, I charge you…(one of the other charges here listed.

D.   _____ and _____, I require and charge you both before God and these gathered friends to cherish and nurture your precious gifts of love and deep sharing. I charge you also with the responsibility for continued growth in love, both mutual and outward reaching; to worship and celebrate; to be warm, caring, and sensitive; to maintain a balance between the foolish and the solemn. Live by your consciences with the teachings of Christ as guide. Save time for each other. Be ever and daily aware of the fullness and beauty of life and nature as God has provided.

E. _____, you are now entering a relationship with many privileges, but also many obligations. The man you love is about to become your husband. In no way could he tell of his love for you as by his willingness to make his home with you. Your joys will be his joys and your sorrows his sorrows. Your people will be his people and your God his God.
_____, you too, are entering into a relationship with many privileges and obligations. The woman you love is about to become your wife. She tells the world not only of her willingness but out of her express desire to turn from all others and to you for all of her life ahead. Your love will become her inspiration and your prayers, her tower of strength. Your people will be her people and your God, her God.

THE EXAMINATION
And now, in the presence of God and all these witnesses,
A.            _____, will you have this man/woman to be your wedded husband, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor him/her; in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, keep only unto him/her as long as you both shall live? (I will)

B. And now _____, do you, here today in the presence of God and all these witnesses, take _____ to be your husband/wife, agreeing to love him/her, and to promote his/her joy and happiness as long as you both shall live? (I do)

C. _____, do you find within you a love that has united you and _____? (I do)  Do you find within you the courage to resist the many deaths by which love can die? (I do)

D. Are you willing to love _____ into her/his unique fullness, and to take the risk and the vulnerability of love again and again and again? (I am)

E. _____, will you take _____ to be your wife/husband, to live together in matrimony? Will you draw her/him to your very being to share life’s sorrows and joys? Will you promise to respect her/him and be respected by her/him, to install hope in her/him and be given hope by her/him? Will you promise to accept the mystery of your uniqueness, still merging into a unity with her/him? Will you, through acts of teaching and learning, grow toward _____? (I do so promise.)
F. _____ will you have this man/woman to be your husband/wife, to live together in the holy covenant of marriage? Will you be honest with him/her, share your feelings, events of your life and plans for the future so that you may be understood? Will you protect him/her, keeping him/her from the pain or discomfort of your anger, annoying behavior and selfish demands? Will you care for him/her, learning to meet his/her most important marital needs? Will you reserve time to give him/her enough undivided attention so that his/her marital needs can be met? Will you do this as long as you remain in this covenant of marriage?  (I/we will)

PRESENTATION  (optional)

Who presents this woman to be married to this man?
We do or Her Mother and I do.

THE VOWS
A.            (Traditional) I, _____, take thee _____,to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.

B. I, _____, ask you, _____, to be my husband as my friend and my love. On this day I affirm the relationship we have enjoyed, looking to the future to deepen and strengthen it. I will be yours in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, in failure and in triumph. Together we will dream, will stumble but restore each other, we will share all things, serving each other and our fellow humanity. I will cherish and respect you, comfort and encourage you, be open with you, and stay with you as long as we shall Live, freed and bound by our Love.

C. _____, I offer you my Love I offer you my strength I offer you my weaknesses I offer you my support I offer you my loyalty I offer you my faithFor as long as we both shall Live.

D. _____, I take you to be my wife/husband from this time onward, to join with you and to share all that is to come, to be your faithful husband/wife, to give and to receive, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond; a commitment made in love, kept in faith, and eternally made new.

E. _____, I take you to be my wife/husband. I pledge you the rest of my life, as your partner and your friend. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

(See other ideas article in the next blog)

BLESSING AND EXCHANGE OF THE RINGS

The wedding ring is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual Grace, signifying to all the uniting of this man and woman in holy matrimony, through the Church of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us pray. Bless, O Lord, the giving of this ring, that he/she who gives it and she/he who wears it may abide forever in Thy peace, and continue in Thy favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A. Groom/Bride: repeat to each other: “In token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love, with this ring I thee wed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Gracious God, bless these rings which are symbols of the vows taken, circles of wholeness. They are symbols of the sun and the earth and the universe, of perfection and peace. These rings mark the beginning of a long journey together, filled with wonder, surprises, laughter, tears, celebration, grief and joy. May these rings glow in reflection of the warmth and the life which flow through the wearers today.
B. _____, I give you this sign of my love, knowing that love is precious and fragile, yet strong. I give you this sign of our love, an ever-present symbol of the vows we make this day. I give you this ring as I give you my love.

For centuries the perfect symbol for eternity has been a circle. A wedding ring in shape is a perfect circle. It is our prayer that it may symbolize love, complete and beautiful, whenever your eye is cast upon it.

C. _____, with this ring I wed you. All that I am, and all that I have, I give to you. Amen.
_____, with this ring I wed you.  All that I am, and all that I have, I give to you. Amen.
_____, in giving/receiving this ring I make a covenant of love with to share my strengths and weaknesses and to become increasingly aware open to ways of expressing love for you and receiving your love for me. I myself to you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE

A.           Forasmuch as _____ and _____ have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have pledged their faith each to the other, and have declared the same by joining hands and by giving and receiving rings; I pronounce that they are husband and wife together, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Amen.

B. _____ and _____ you have exchanged statements and vows here before God and all the witnesses…some verbally and some non-verbally. You have, through speaking, through the gift of rings, through prayers. We here declare what we have seen and heard to be good. I pronounce that now, and you are husband and wife.
In recognition of the marriage between you, accomplished in the uniting of your hearts by mutual love and confidence, and in conformity to the laws of this state by whose sanctions these visible expressions of your pledged fidelity have been given and received, as a minister acknowledged by the church, I do pronounce you to be husband and wife. May you together bring a new creative spirit to a world in need of renewal.

C. Because _____ and _____ have sought each other in marriage and have witnessed this before God and our gathering, affirming their acceptance of the responsibilities of such a union, and have pledged their love and faith to each other, sealing their vows in the giving and receiving of rings, I do proclaim that they are husband and wife in the sight of God. Let all people everywhere recognize and respect this holy union now and forever, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

D. That which was just with you has now been shared with all. Explore it well, explore it deeply and reverently. Explore it with joy and with hope and with perseverance. I now pronounce you husband and wife in just accord with the laws of God in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. What God has united, let no one separate. Amen.

LIGHTING OF THE UNITY CANDLE (if used)
BLESSING OF THE MARRIAGE
A.            Let us pray. O eternal God, creator and preserver of all humanity, giver of all spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life; send Thy blessing on this couple, whom we bless in Thy name; that they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant between them, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, living according to Thy laws. Look graciously upon them that they may love, honor and cherish each other and live together in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing and a threshold of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

B. Lord, we hear thee in the silence. We stand before thee knowing and not knowing; afraid and not afraid. We hear the silence. We hear words unspoken; dreams not yet dreamt; pain not yet known; fullness not yet felt. We hear the silence; babies crying not yet born; children reaching for and touching what is real in life. We hear this silence and somehow know in this Moment that we join with all those who have made this journey and with all those who will. We somehow know we can trust in you along the way. We hear and trust and I love. Amen.

C. Lord, grant that _____ and _____, now married, may keep this covenant which they have made. May they be a blessing and a comfort to each other, sharers of each others joys, consolers in each other’s sorrows, helpers to each other in all the vicissitudes of life. May they encourage each other in whatever they set out to achieve. May they, trusting each other, trust life and you and not be afraid. May they not only accept and give affection between themselves, but also together have affection and consideration for others. We who are here present, and those who are absent thinking of these two people, pray that the inspiration of this hour will not be forgotten. May they continue to love one another forever. Amen.

D. Hear the voices of wonder, joy, and hope. Hear those who stand before thee saying, “I am,” “We are,” “Thou art.” Hear the joy they have with them now and the inner wonder that trembles at the beauty of it all. Hear the hope that strains to stretch around whatever may befall them. Hear the strength and the conflict. Hear the passion offered to thee; ripe, alive, warm. Come to this union like fire; fuse, warm, ignite…Come like water; cool, quench, cleanse… Come like wind; clear, caress and lift…Thou whose face we see where life shows… Thou whose rhythm we see in the dance and in the heartbeat… Thou whose mystery we sense in colors… Thou whose meaning bubbles from the heart of love itself… Emblazon and wash and caress this new love. Amen.

E. Eternal God, whom we come to know and understand through the experience of love, we give thanks for the joy of this occasion and the love between _____ and _____ who have pledge themselves to each other. May they, this day and in the days to come, be the recipients of your blessing. Bestow upon them the gift of your presence, that the love which they hold for each other and the commitments they have made may endure forever. Keep them ever faithful to their holy covenant, and may they live together all their days in true love and peace. In the spirit of Christ, which is love, we pray. Amen.

PRAYER
A. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

B. __ write your own.
DISMISSAL WITH BLESSING

A.            God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord graciously with his favor look upon you, and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and love that you may so live together in this life that in the world to come you may have life everlasting. Amen.

B. An now may the courage of the early morning’s dawning, the strength of eternal hills, and wide open fields, the joy of silent streams and gentle wind, the beauty of flowered gardens and the song of the birds, the faith of youth be in your heart; And the love of God that alone can make happiness, that makes family love flourish with the radiance of great joy, be with you always. May the peace of a quiet evening’s ending and of the midnight, Be yours now and forever. Amen.
C. Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender. Be on good terms with all persons. speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others for they too have their story. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Do not be cynical about love for it is perennial as the grass. Nurture strength of the spirit to shield you from sudden misfortune. Do not distress yourself with imaginings, for many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe; the universe is unfolding as it should. therefore be at peace with God. In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. Go in peace. Amen.

D. Father, bless the bond which is sealed today between these two who love, for by loving each other they will become closer to you. May your guidance and unchanging love lead them down all the pathways of marriage in joy and light and love. Amen.

E. _____ and _____ have just professed and confirmed what is real to them. It is our hope and prayer that each of us has been reminded and renewed as to what is real in our lives. Relationships – those times of intertwining and intermingling with one another, and with God – they’re all we have that is real. And I hope we can live accordingly, living first out of love, at peace with yourself and with God. Now go in peace, renewed in your relationships.

The KISS