I am definitely appending the Swan Club in Roslyn, Long Island to the list of catering / reception halls in which I sincerely enjoy officiating! The Swan Club is part of an older Spanish-esque designed estate overlooking or adjacent to a tiny inlet that gives way to the Long Island Sound. The specially designated ceremony room has windows all around; it feels similar to a sunroom. It is cozy ….with nice restrooms!
Also, below is a “wedding sermon” used a few time recently for my spiritual couples. It is not traditionally religious, but certainly pantheistic. Do I need to repeat…no, you cannot cut and paste this for your own purposes: it is copyright protected.
Loving someone for the sake of love itself suggests a commitment transcending friendly companionship. It recovers the importance of reverence for someone because they share the same pure heart as you rather than because you’ve calculated the probability that you can deal with their eccentricities. Threaded throughout the meaning of love is a reliance on faith.
You already know I am not a priest. If I were, I would not be able to commiserate as sincerely with married couples. I am married, an occasional scholar and minister, and I admit wholeheartedly that my spouse, the one present next to us as your witness, drives me crazy. A lot. Which is perfectly fine to announce because I admit I drive him crazy too. A lot.
A few habits viewed as charming before marriage became irritating after five years; our dreams and values did not exactly remain in sync. Many of my couples declare proudly that their commitment originates in mutual honesty. Yet while honesty is certainly vital on the big issues, pausing before complaining (which is too honest) is often desirable. I am inclined to believe in faithfulness as the foundation of thriving relationships. Love is the prize. We reach it through faithfulness.
Faith is an ancient, almost archaic concept with a rich history that is also a concept still in infancy: for uncountable centuries, we have tried to comprehend this illusive, yet enduringly symbolic word. Although its essence may seem orthodox in the bad way, it is not. Faith is the promise of attaining an ultimate purpose: it gives character to the insipid, courage in despair, security in fear, and company in loneliness. It is a way of living that yokes together pieces of life to ensure we work in consonance with the most praiseworthy ideals.
When we have faith, we liberate and refine our imaginations; we hold onto reason in chaos and sympathy in apathy. The values pursued by the faithful include charity, which reminds us to be generously affectionate; peace, which reminds us to be gentle; and mercy, which reminds to remain kind in affliction.
Faith is not as intangible as it first appears. Oddly enough, I propose that this quote pinpoints the concept: “Marriage is the only war where you get to sleep with the enemy.” This quote we find both humorous and inspiring. It lights our faces with smiles because we recognize the unromantic, unpoetic side of marriage: any two individuals who live together too frequently become very demanding of each other, withdrawn, apt to hold grudges, or all of the above. However, it is also uplifting. When we quarrel, we get to know more about ourselves and each other: even the process of fighting and making up can help us reach true intimacy. This is faith in action.
Having faith is trusting in the profoundly amazing gifts of life. It is a commitment to stay loyal because you know wisdom will indeed emerge. It is the ambition to overcome doubts and obstacles because we perceive potentials. It is believing in the beyond. It is believing in the ability to rediscover and experience genuine connections with the most universally divine of all sentiments – love.
By all means, be caring, patient, compassionate, helpful, sensitive, and trustworthy. As confidants, share hopes. As allies, protect each other. As best friends, laugh often. Explore. Learn. When drama comes, though, you may need a bit more. You may need to meditate or pause. If you do pause thoughtfully, this will be the first step towards renewing your faithfulness to yourselves, each other, and all such promises to contribute to a more harmonious and just world.
Let the vows you will exchange be mini prayers; let them reflect boundless faith in the possibilities of the future. You may not know which country will finally be known as “home.” You do know the adventures in discovering “home” will not be enjoyable unless sought together.