For all you married folk, do you remember your marriage vows? I am serious, do you actually remember the words you said and the promises you made? I thought I knew, but when I got out our marriage DVD, I found I was a little off the mark.
Looking back, I don’t think I really understood my marriage vows or the real implications of what I was saying. To me, it was like, “ I promise to love this man and stay married until death,” while I secretly feared it would end like all my parents’ marriages. Yes, it is true; I didn’t put much stock in marriage. At the time I got married, my mom was on her fourth marriage and my dad on his third. Most of my other relatives were divorced. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a great family, but the women in my family have lousy taste in men (with a few exceptions).
I think brides get so caught up in the “wedding” they don’t really appreciate the beauty and the sanctity of the vows. I know you all know the traditional vows, but I encourage you all to read them again and try to take in the deep significance of the words.
Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sign of God – and in the face of this company – to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore – is not by any – to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly – but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy – and for the help and comfort given on another in prosperity and adversity. But more importantly – it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained.
Through marriage, GROOM’S NAME and BRIDE’S NAME make a commitment together to face their disappointments – embrace their dreams – realize their hopes – and accept each other’s failures. GROOM’S NAME and BRIDE’S NAME will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together – through mutual understanding – openness – and sensitivity to each other.
We are here today – before God – because marriage is one of His most sacred wishes – to witness the joining in marriage of GROOM’S NAME and BRIDE’S NAME. This occasion marks the celebration of love and commitment with which this man and this woman begin their life together. And now – through me – He joins you together in one of the holiest bonds.
Who gives this woman in marriage to this man?
BRIDE’S FATHER OR ESCORT:
Her family and friends gathered here today do.
This is a beginning and a continuation of their growth as individuals. With mutual care, respect, responsibility and knowledge comes the affirmation of each one’s own life happiness, growth and freedom. With respect for individual boundaries comes the freedom to love unconditionally. Within the emotional safety of a loving relationship – the knowledge self-offered one another becomes the fertile soil for continued growth. With care and responsibility towards self and one another comes the potential for full and happy lives.
By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for GROOM’S NAME and BRIDE’S NAME from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. These moments are so meaningful to all of us, for “what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together – to strengthen each other in all labor – to minister to each other in all sorrow – to share with each other in all gladness.
This relationship stands for love, loyalty, honesty and trust, but most of all for friendship. Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny. Do not think that you can direct the course of love – for love, if it finds you worthy, shall direct you.
Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between them. It is the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life. It is amoral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention. Marriage should be a life long consecration of the ideal of loving kindness – backed with the will to make it last.
Exchange of Vows
MINISTER TO GROOM:
Do you GROOM’S NAME take BRIDE’S NAME to be your wife – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?
MINISTER TO BRIDE:
Do you BRIDE’S NAME) take GROOM’S NAME to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?
I, (Groom’s First Name)_______________________ take you (Bride’s First Name)_______________________ to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to
love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
(Groom places ring on Bride’s finger and repeats after Judge) (Bride’s First Name)_______________________ take this
ring as a sign of my commitment and fidelity to you.
I, (Bride’s First Name)_______________________ take you (Groom’s First Name)_______________________ to be my
husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.
Exchange of Wedding Rings
What token of your love do you offer? Would you place the ring(s) in my hand?
May this/these ring(s) be blessed as the symbol of this affectionate unity. These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go – may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women year. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place that many will find there a friend. May this/these ring(s) on her/their finger(s) symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts.
Handing ring to the Groom
MINISTER TO GROOM:
GROOM’S NAME, in placing this ring on BRIDE’S NAME finger, repeat after me: BRIDE’S NAME), you are now consecrated to me as my wife from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed.
Handing ring to the Bride
MINISTER TO BRIDE:
BRIDE’S NAME, in placing this ring on GROOM’S NAME finger, repeat after me: GROOM’S NAME, you are now consecrate to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed.
May you always share with each other the gifts of love – be one in heart and in mind – may you always create a home together that puts in your hearts – love – generosity and kindness.
In as much as GROOM’S NAME and BRIDE’S NAME have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family and have pledged their faith – and declared their unity by giving and receiving a ring – are now joined.
You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife but remember to always be each other’s best friend.
What – therefore – God has joined together – let no man put asunder.
And so, by the power vested in me by the State of ______ and Almighty God, I now pronounce you man and wife – and may your days be good and long upon the earth.
You may now kiss the bride.
Wow, it simply takes my breath away. It is so inspiring! I know, I know, easier said than done, but we have to know it is possible to have this kind of marriage. I think the world wants to tell us this kind of love no longer exists, but it does. Love is not a feeling; love is an attitude; it is a choice. If you want that kind of marriage, you have to make the choices that bring about the circumstances you want. There is a reason for:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV): Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When you are patient, kind, and humble, it promotes the same in your spouse. Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, but we can’t control our spouses’ actions, we can only control ours. I believe God will honor your faithfulness, so do not give up before he has had a chance to do a work in your husband.
If I had to do it all again, with my new understanding of God’s design for marriage, I would incorporate a lot of the ceremony from above, but I would change our vows to be a little more something like this:
I, Scott, take you, Melissa, to be my wedded wife. With deepest joy I receive you into my life that together we may be one. As is Christ to His body, the church, so I will be to you a loving and faithful husband. I promise you my deepest love, my fullest devotion, my tenderest care. I promise I will live first unto God and I will lead our lives into a life of faith and hope in Christ Jesus. Ever honoring God’s guidance by His spirit through the Word, And so throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband.
I,Melissa, take you, Scott, to be my wedded husband. With deepest joy I come into my new life with you. As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord. As is the church in her relationship to Christ, so I will be to you. I will live first unto our God and then unto you, loving you,submitting to you, and respecting you. God has prepared me for you and so I will ever strengthen, help, comfort, and encourage you. Therefore, throughout life, no matter what may be ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a submissive and faithful wife.
For those of you with wedding videos and/or pictures, get them out today and reminisce. Remember, the feelings of love you had for your spouse, remember the vows you took, and evaluate where you are today compared to where you were then. Are you still in love? Are you living your vows? If not, what can you do to change it?
We are fast approaching the end of this study, and I feel like I am running way to short on time. For our remaining time, we will be looking at ways to avoid being a marital statistic and I will be including a letter to my daughters with all the things I had wish I had known before I got married.
Have a great weekend and God bless!