Family and friends, from near and far, you traveled to witness this couple finally promise publicly to be life-long partners.
Before we continue, I would like to express warm appreciation to each of you for freeing yourselves from busy lives, including text messaging addictions, to offer this couple well-wishes. Since we find the meaning of life by learning from one another, the gracious company of all here now is a precious gift that this couple promises to cherish always. In your own ways, you each fill this couple with the warm glow of love. You represent the fortunes brought by guidance: your clever words and gestures convey the importance of acting benevolently. For this and much more, this couple expresses their deepest gratitude.
And N. and N., on behalf of your family and friends, I must declare: you honored us with invitations to witness these vows today; your love gathers us into a community. We are here to celebrate experiences from which you matured in knowledge and love. These accumulated memories reveal how much you can depend upon each other. We also celebrate future possibilities because they remain unforeseen: we know that you will continue to cherish your union no matter what may emerge. When fatigue and obstacles do come, be assured that we are confident in you as individuals and as a couple. We are your steadfast allies.
We congratulate you on the brilliant individuals you have become; you make us proud to complete the charmed circle surrounding you. This hour is one of genuine exuberance because sentiments of affinity fill both. Yet the decision to marry is also solemn. The act of exchanging vows is not alchemy. It requires painstaking planning. It is the culmination of attraction, ongoing discussions, promises fulfilled, and practicing poise. Accompanying marriage are legal and personal responsibilities, which compel both to entrust future happiness each to the other. These shared obligations and rights reveal the interdependence of individuals and families. To create enduring prosperity and tranquility, we must faithfully give support; we must work daily to enhance the joy and lessen the tensions of those unreservedly received into our care.
First Declaration of Consent: Do you come here without duress or reservation with the intent to enter marriage together?
Reflections on Love
We gather here to witness this couple join their lives together into marriage. Today, they transform a vibrant friendship into marriage. They inspire us to consider the core of the most ideal relationships….and that is love.
Love is the most enduring expression of the human condition. It embraces and accepts the heroic and the odd in all their forms, which makes love the most intimately progressive human bond as well. In these ways, sincere love fills us with faith even during anxiety. It inspires us to learn and thereby keeps us committed when difficulties arise. When we love and feel loved, we become brave enough to make all differences and changes into opportunities for growth. Since it is so enduring, intimate, and hopeful, love makes life all the more meaningful, wondrous, and beautiful.
When individuals fall in love and consent without any doubts to share their lives together, they become the most ideal expression of a family. Their freely given consent reflects the importance of a community of equals. Bound together by commitment, a couple ideally feels love filling them with a sense of transcendence. Out of all possibilities, they choose one another because they have enough confidence to know they can surmount any trials together.
You have acted with love towards each other in the past; today, by this ceremony, you promise to polish and augment your love even further. You will come to more fully realize the splendid potential emanating from this seemingly simple word. On a practical note, love needs at least two thankful, sweet, and witty brains to mature. It admits itself through constant exercise. When one forgets, the other reminds; should one fall sick, the other comforts; and if one feels stress, the other cares. Since they grow through each other, two in love have dual everything….
Love is feigning the desire to kiss before teeth greet toothpaste in the morning, and giving the gift of remembering to buy the right bread and cheese. It is washing the floor, cleaning another’s hair from the drain, and taking out the trash for the 100th straight time with minor whining. Although love is forgetful—dates, places, and bits of information fade—it never forgets to update lists of likes and loathes. It teases yet shelters from outside ridicule. Love is mindful of favorite foods, T.V. shows, and eccentric moods. It recalls with the perfect balance of good humor and sympathy odd eating habits, bizarre music and movie inclinations, misused words, creaking joints, ill-fated attempts, and every wrinkle while it strokes gently stray wisps of hair….
Love asks questions and listens to the answers. It seeks out knowledge of books, the news, and in the everyday. It responsibly pays the bills and saves for the future. Even in the company of crankiness, it dreams of finding more time with loved ones. Love christens through optimism. It is loyal despite feeling abandoned at times, and makes amends with big and small gestures. Because it works and plays in equal measure, it understands real messiness. Because it is patient during difficulties, it has a refined spirit. It is smart enough to know any moments to be silent. Love is an ongoing alliance between companions committed for life. It equally consists of honor and joy. Above all, love is a haven of harmony….
May you work to nourish your bond with all such graces of love.
You both know and feel a connection so profound that you wish to make known to the world your loving commitment. In a world where many relationships are fragile, friendships fade, nations rely upon wars, and neighbors argue, you are willing to trust one another. This is an act inspired by a love that is courageous and true. When you agreed to marry, you risked losing yourselves in the oceanic waves of emotion yielded by love. Still, you propose marriage. You seek to fuse your lives together despite recognizing the heartbreaks and misfortunes life may bring. From the beginning, your marriage thus rests on the strongest foundation possible. From your tenacious bond emerges hope.
Second Declaration of Intent: Having listened to these words about the meaning of love, do you both promise to work towards becoming more loving individuals as you mature in this union?
Reflections about Life
As you admire each other, we admire how much your devotion strengthens with the passing of time. Whether life be auspicious or difficult, your lives interweave. Before this day, you stitched together your work and pleasures, as well as independent and common backgrounds, interests, talents, and even recognized potential areas of conflict. You came to the decision that you feel the most delight when together. Having chosen the person beside you as your love and friend for all your days, you will marry for life.
In spirit, you are already a couple who offers one another consistent friendship. Since you met, you created private jokes and perhaps a few pet names. You learned the right time to be a quiet companion and the right time to make your partner laugh. In the early months, the idea of having found someone with whom you might grow old impressed you most. The novelty itself was an adventure. As this stage ended and you gained more insights about each other, you found yourselves in love. More than attraction lingered once you became more well-versed about one another. Your relationship became more tangible; you became increasingly able to articulate the qualities of your new close friend and the character of your bond.
Experiences transformed into memories recounted and refreshed with tender regard. Even time apart only proved further an evolving connection that could withstand any frustrations and shortcomings. While values may diverge in some areas, differences overall are complementary. Sensitivity and humor are the means to manage moments of insanity. You are able to tackle problems with understanding . You soothe each other’s worries. In the chronicles of everyday affairs, you find balance. Each to the other has become unique in all the world. Your relationship is distinctively different from all others ever achieved.
You rejoice in your relationship on plain, ordinary days and spirited, winged days. You carefully deliberated on the inducements provoking you to marry. You no longer feel the need to pretend because your partner does not seek to extinguish your sense of self. Rather, you draw out each other’s potentials by vigilantly fostering confidence. You feel secure enough to let go of keeping score on who wins and who loses an argument…or at least you almost do. These outcomes are immaterial: the rewards the come with joint growth are more amazing. As a result of the fortitude of your relationship, you will both become hybrid inventions molded for the better by the experiences to come.
And so the depth of your relationship has already united you. When together or thinking about each other, you feel fluttering thrills. But your bond also has a deeper meaning. Your relationship originates in honest friendship. Out of compassion and esteem, each speaks with admiration about the other. You know when to intrude with concern and when to grant solace. Each day, both are great listeners whether the stories be mundane or interesting. Past experiences taught you to compromise to respect your partner’s needs. You extend to each other unconditional comfort. When alone together, you feel content enough to really be yourselves. Only with each other do you find someone who accepts your genius and faults. As you experience the happiness and hardships of everyday life, you acquire more knowledge to mature as a couple and individuals.
In all these ways and more, you proved to be not merely two loving friends. You are a wonderful couple with the skills needed to commit. You do not wish to wait much longer to begin that true adventure of scoping out the myriad journeys you will take to realize all hopes. In each other, you see so much talent and feel such a calm refuge that you wish to blend your lives to build a family formally.
Your relationship, in sum, is already genuine and poised beautifully to convert into a marriage. It is reciprocal and very real. Although this might seem unimaginable now, your union will develop even more with time: as you draw out each other’s potentials, your world views will intermingle and progress. With the insights of two, you will be wiser; with the courage of two, you will be braver; and with the sympathy of two, you will be gentler.
Third Declaration of Intent: Is it true that each shared the secrets of you hearts and minds with the other so both may make a wise decision about whether or not to be partners-for-life?
Couple may also want to exchange personal vows.
The Meaning of Marriage
Of course, marriage is as much as about managing daily life as romance. Life is unpredictable: the world changes because we are “so” brilliantly creative and eccentric. Each day can hold an adventure, even if small, as we learn and grow in tandem. Put another way, while you know each other’s flairs and flaws generally, you are also a bit of an enigma to one another. This bond consequently will give you a deeper appreciation of the concept of “surprise.” Your self-awareness will become enhanced as you become intimately accountable for your words, gestures, and actions. Your wisdom will expand as your experiences in work and play broaden. Likewise, your understanding of marriage will adjust. It will become a composite designed from your precious beliefs.
Therefore, understand the rights and responsibilities of marriage – its sentimental and practical sides. Though you know each other well, mysteries also await. Do not assume that becoming more prudent, judicious,and sensible will prove straightforward and easy. The pendulum, the balance you feel right now, can swing softly or swiftly. What makes sense to one may be irrational to the other. What works one day may fail next week. Endearing habits may become irritating. The volatility of everyday affairs may become overwhelmingly exhausting. Yet communicating, forgiving without retaining too many grudges, uncovering the new together, cherishing memories, and holding onto hope will certainly help intimacy to thrive.
Should discontent sneak into daily life, restore peace. While it is true that your partner may need to adjust, sometimes you will need to be the one to compromise. Yet, amid the unexpected, you have each other. Because your hearts are true, motives pure, and tempers overall sweet, you will become even more thoughtful as the years go by.
You will belong to each other from this day onwards. Appreciate your bond. Since you will join into a family today, you will carry each other in your hearts always. In all you do and wherever you go, you will feel the company of one another. In all your daily decisions from this day forward, you must consider your partner’s perspective. But, together, you can make your marriage a medium for wisdom and joy. You will pledge to walk along paths as a family so you may realize inner potential while also helping others in loving-kindness. Indeed, each great philosophy shares a common thread of advice: every law should commence from and result in kindness. Anytime you feel wary of life, pause to focus on all that is good in the world.
Fourth Declaration: Knowing that the future may hold surprises and changes, do you promise to remain married no matter what may come?
As a constant public symbol of these promises, you will now exchange rings.
At this time, witness(es) and couple may sign the license.
When we touch each other with respectful amazement, we offer support without expectations. You interlocked your hands and lives today. The hands now united with yours will offer you unwavering depth of feeling. These hands are also symbols of the labor you will produce together and separately for a durable marriage. Joining them is a sign of your willingness to cooperate – to tame or at least channel the wild inherent in you both – so you may attain a sense of balance. Since you have twenty fingers together, every twenty days try to adopt a new habit, pursue an adventure, or gain knowledge to become more erudite to strengthen your marriage.
Your vows bind you in an unending, shared cycle of life. Keep in mind that you hold in your hands the making and breaking of this union. Share your secrets, fears, all you have, all you are, and all to which you aspire with each other. In all endeavors from this day onwards, seek to become a more intelligent and a more creative companion. Hold each other close with the passion of empathy, and your marriage will surely abide in harmony. Either accept or ignore those strange things that annoy you. Try to forget complaints. Convey encouragement in word and deed. Make each other laugh. Keep each other company when one feels lonely or tragedies come. In essence, improve your partner’s life with each passing anniversary.
Today, you marry your close friend – the one who makes you smile and hugs you tight when problems come every once in a while. Around each other your future now bends – the days will be brightened by the help you give and the dreams you will live. Dirty laundry, weird eating habits, unwanted house guests, bad t.v., and wrinkles are sure to come. When they do, don’t slip into a slump. Be nice, polite, forgiving and stay together. You have agreed to stand by each other throughout big and small – and exciting and tiresome – adventures in all types of weather: nothing is stronger than those loving ties that tether.
May you be granted equal parts contentment and new thrills in your shared future, as you help bring these qualities to each other, your families, and the world. On each day, may you spend time nurturing yourselves in all ways; sharing yourself with others; learning something new; and working for the happiness of others. May you both remember to show affection.
Last Declaration: Is it still your wish to be married?
Officiant signs the license
Then I now pronounce you….
You may seal this marriage with a kiss.
This marriage ceremony is copyright protected by Judie L. Guild; all rights reserved.