Friends, welcome to Groom and Bride’s wedding! They have asked me to tell you how very precious you are to them and how very much they appreciate your willingness to be here, coming, as many of you have, great distances. They are also profoundly moved by your expressed and, sometimes, unspoken support of them as they embark on this new adventure together.
Love is a miraculous gift, and a wedding is a celebration of that magic, and that’s what we’re doing here today. We are gathered together to be overjoyed for and with Groom and Bride who are so wonderfully suited to one another. When we think of love, we sometimes talk about people who “deserve” one another. Not only do Groom and Bride deserve one another, but they are a perfect match and their marriage, far from being something they have had to work hard to achieve, was purely inevitable. They are the embodiment of true romance, which matured, becomes true love. They are the example of love that in its lightheartedness dissolves the notion of love as hard work. They are the promise of possibility, the expectation of joyful surprise.
Marriage is the joining of two lives, the union of two human beings who have separate families and histories, separate destinies and tragedies. It is the merging and intermeshing not only of two bodies and two personalities, but also of two life stories. Two individuals, each of whom has a unique and life shaping past, willingly choose to set aside a solitary exploration of themselves to discover who they are in the presence of one another.
In marrying, we promise to love not only as we feel right now, but also as we intend. In marriage we say not only, “I love you today”, but also, “I promise to love you tomorrow, the next day, and always.” In promising always, we promise each other time. We promise to exercise our love, to stretch it out large enough to embrace the unforeseen realities of the future. We promise to learn to love beyond the level of our instincts and inclinations, to love in foul weather as well as good, in hard times as well as when we are exhilarated by the pleasures of romance.
We change because of these promises. We shape ourselves according to them; we live in their midst and live differently because of them. We try some things and resist trying others because, having promised, we feel secure. Marriage, the bond, makes us free – to see, to be, to love.
Your wedding is an unmitigatedly happy occasion, but your marriage will be a many-textured thing. In it, both magic and sorrows will befall you. You will intend one thing and end up doing another. You will imagine your mate to be a certain way and discover that he is not, that she is a person unto herself. You will have clashes and discover things you did and did not want to know. You will rumple each other’s spirits as well as bedclothes and hair. You may say mean and hurtful words, and, for love, be able to forget them. Above all, remember that love is what matters. Love will prevail. It is the love you feel for one another that will be the answer to all your difficulties. Love will be stronger than any conflicts, bigger than all the changes. Love will be the miracle always inviting you to learn, to blossom, to expand. And it is to love – to the love you are celebrating, embodying, and radiating on this special day – that you must return.
So remember these things, my dear ones, as you go out into the world as a married couple: that your love will have seasons, that your relationship is a progression, and that love will prevail. Remembering them, holding them in your hearts and in your minds, will give you a marriage that is as deep in its joy as your courtship has been in its magic.
Will you now make your vows to one another?
Groom: “From this day on I most choose you, my beloved Bride, to be my wife, to live with you and laugh with you; to stand by your side and sleep in your arms; to be joy to your heart and food to your soul; to bring out the best in you always; and, for you, to be the most that I can.”
Bride: “From this day on I most choose you, my beloved Groom, to be my husband, to laugh with you in the good times; to struggle with you in the bad; to solace you when you are downhearted; to wipe your tears with my hands; to comfort you with my body; to mirror you with my soul; to share with you all my riches and honors; to play with you as much as I can until we grow old, and still loving each other sweetly and gladly, our lives shall come to the end.”
What symbols do you bring of this commitment? (These rings.)
These rings are made of precious metals, a symbol of the riches that reside in each of you; and as any metal is purified by the white heat of testing, so will your love be purified by the tests that are given to you through the many seasons of your marriage. They also include precious jewels; and as the elements from which these jewels are formed are ancient as the stars, as mysterious as moonlight, and as shining as the miracle of your new-bonded radiance, wear them as the shine of the love ignited between you, the love unquenchable which now your hearts embody and your words express.
As you place this ring on the third finger of your bride’s left hand, do you Groom want to marry Bride, to happily hold her above all and have her as your wife? (I do)
As you place this ring on the third finger of your groom’s left hand, do you Bride want to marry Groom, to happily hold him above all and have him as your husband? (I do)
Would you join with me in a moment of prayer? Infinite God: Bless these two that stand before us now, as they have committed their love and their lives to one another. Be with them in their thoughts, their words and their deeds. Bless their lives with health, with happiness, with peace and prosperity, and with a love that continues to grow and to endure. I give thanks that it is already done. And so it is! Amen.
Groom and Bride, you have heard about the magic and the mysteries of marriage, the way it will continuously surprise you, the strength and wisdom it will everlastingly ask of you, and you have chosen still and happily and in our midst to make the promises of marriage. You have shown us the example of your love and celebrated your union by giving each other these beautiful rings, and so, it is with great joy that I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss each other!