Marriage is scared and strong. The love that inspires marriage is cyclical and linear; resilient and unwavering; conquering and rejuvenating; peaceful and passionate. Because love can manifest itself in so many ways, it is able to evolve into what we need even as our needs change and grow. We outgrow many things and must leave them behind, but love grows with us so that we may not leave it behind. Marriage is a union built on this type of love.
The importance of marriage, once accepted, supercedes our daily activities. Marriage is a commitment to understanding perfectly each other's imperfections; to behaving flawlessly towards each other, with full knowledge of each other's greatest flaws; to being invulnerable though embracing each other's vulnerabilities. What an enormous undertaking! In order to enter such a union you have to make a bold, brave promise. Still, many have had the inclination and courage to commit to marriage, and even more amazing, many have succeeded.
_________&__________, want to take this moment to honor their parents, whose example in this regard has been an inspiration to them. They are who they are because you, their parents, are who you are.
This day is an important one. This ceremony an irreplaceable event. These activities of which all of you are a part, marks one of the greatest commitments to love, thought, truth and honesty in this couples' life. It is the first day of a new type of existence for ______&______: a better and more worthwhile one. On this day, in this setting, they will put one plus, one together to make a union that has greater value than simply two together. They have asked each of you here to witness this event, because you have played a part in who they are and are part of the reason that they are standing here today. In their memories, you will each be tied to this day and its meaning. Therefore, ______&______ wish to honor each of you, to thank you for being here and for the contributions you have made to their lives. They are who they are because you are who you are. And at last but not least, ______&______, want to thank their daughter/son,_________, who has delighted their lives, and to thank her/him for being present on this day. She/he blesses them in more ways than they can yet imagine, for which each passing day they learn ever new ways to be in love with her/him. They are who they are because you, dear_______, are who you are.
(Groom), do you come
to this marriage freely and of your own choosing? (I do)
Throughout the passage of history, tradition, and time, the faces of the couples entering into the marriage union have changed, the details have varied, and the circumstances have differed. But in spite of these evolving elements, the core of a successful marriage has not wavered. To love, support and respect each other is a resonating theme. Voices from the past and present echo this advice.
"A good marriage
is that in which each appoints the other the guardian of his solitude."
Khalil Gibran said,
Charles Dickens said,
Lucretia Mott said,
Nancy Rose Southern
has written, (1995)
________&_______, will you remember to speak, listen, uphold and embrace one another in truth and love? (I will)
George Bernard Shaw
of marriage that,
Do you each swear to remain in this excited, abnormal and exhausting condition continuously until death do you part? (I do)
In the tradition that spans the ages, _____&_____have chosen to exchange rings as an outer symbol of this commitment. Indeed, rings are an ancient symbol; beloved, blessed and simple. Round like the sun, like the eye, like arms that embrace. Circles, for love that is given comes back round again and again. Therefore, may these rings remind you that your love, like the sun, illumines; that your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and that your love, like arms that embrace, is grace upon this world.
repeat after me:
Love alone is capable in uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. Now as you, _____and you, ____, have consented together in matrimony and have pledged your faith to each other, I pronounce that you are now husband and wife. You may seal your vows with a kiss.
(This ceremony created by Amal Bisharat Gunderson, married 7/21/2001)
Please call or e-mail me regarding the different services available.
For those of you who are planning your wedding somewhere besides the San Juan Islands, and would like a complete ceremony packet sent to you, I would be happy to share it with you. Please send a $10 check or money order to me, with a return address, and I will send a complete packet to you with blessings for you and your marriage.
Nancy Rose Southern