Truth About Love//Wedding service language - 7/01
cmfce at his.com
Tue Jul 3 12:50:43 EDT 2001
subject: Truth About Love//Wedding service language - 7/01
from: smart marriages
SET YOUR VCRs:
Pat Love will be on the Today Show on Sunday July 15th on her book, "The
Truth About Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever"
and some of the wonderful chapters - "The Frozen Image - the Ultimate Form
of Contempt"; "Tips for the Lagging Libido"; "Expanding Commitment";
"Creating a Haven"....and so on.
The book, perfect for wedding stocking stuffers - or for anyone who says
I still love him, but I'm not IN LOVE with him anymore - is in paperback
and only $13 on amazon.com - click to order:
WEDDING SERVICE LANGUAGE:
Ray Vaughan wrote:
I am performing my son's wedding at the end of the month and wondered if you
have any language you have seen that you like to help focus the participants
on the task that lies ahead of them? Who has suggestions for wedding
Regarding Ray Vaughan's request for wedding language, I have done a number
of weddings over the past 25 years and have included vows not only for the
couple, but for the parents of the couple. In my premarital counseling I
usually meet and talk with parents and stress their important role in
strengthening their children's marriage. In my remarks during the wedding I
say that this is marriage is not just a union of two individuals, but of two
families and stress the importance of the merging of the two family groups
together to help provide part of the "glue" for this new marriage. Then,
after the couple recites their vows, I turn to the bride's parents and say,
"Will you, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, take Bob to be your son-in-law, will you love
him, care for him, treat him as your own son, and do all you can to
strengthen and encourage his marriage to your daughter? (They answer "I
do." ) "Will you, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, take Jennie to be your
daughter-in-law, will you love her, care for her, treat her as your own
daughter, and do all you can to strengthen and encourage her marriage to
your son?" (They answer "I do.")
Bill Beahm, Ph.D.
Vice President of Education
National Center for Fathering
The new Church of England marriage service provides for two important
changes: both sets of parents may answer, "We will" to the question, "Will
you now entrust your son and daughter to one another as they come to be
married?". And the whole congregation is also invited to respond, "We will"
to another question, "Will you the families and friends .... support and
uphold them in their marriage now and in the years to come?"
Full details of the services at
http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship/index.html . These may be
downloaded in pdf format.
Regarding language for wedding ceremonies (from church based perspective),
I'd recommend two recent resources: The Two Shall Become One: A Wedding
Manual by Jim Henry (Broadman, 2000) and The Complete Book of Christian
Wedding Vows by H. Norman Wright (Bethany House, 2001).
George Fessler, D.Min.
Santa Ana, CA
Several years ago, the late Dennis Guernsey (MFT and, I believe, ordained
minister) spoke at our church on the subject of marriage. I can' t quote
(though Lucy, his wife, probably can) but in his remarks he said something
like the following:
When I'm asked to perform a wedding ceremony, I encourage
the couple to include in their comments to one another mutual
affirmations to the effect, "I know that before our lives are
will hurt and disappoint you many times, and you will do the
same to me--because we are each human and imperfect. But,
even knowing this ahead of time, I commit to love, forgive, and
accept you till death do us part."
I haven't done justice to the power of the wording that Dennis used. He may
have even added a more jolting phrase to the sequence like, ". . .
and, perhaps, even betray". (Again, Lucy Guernsey can quote him better than
I) In reading his statement, some might argue it doesn't seem to add
anything beyond the traditional, "for better or worse"; however, I believe
that by being more specific about the "worse"--taking off the rose-colored
lenses and spelling out the unthinkable---a significant reality element is
added to the ceremony, at a time when couples would prefer to think and
only of the "better . . . richer . . . and health" part.
And, of course, simply having such a statement on the record doesn't mean
happy couple will remember the words 15 seconds later. But, Dennis
contextualized the statement as the culmination of pre-marital work in which
he would have previously counseled the couple in depth about the challenges
of marriage like it really is--or "Real Life Marriage", the title of the
Since his statement has stuck with me for 15 years or so, I count it as one
of the more meaningful marriage-launching vows I have ever heard. I would
encourage all pastors to consider nudging couples to incorporate a similar
eyes-wide-open affirmation into their wedding ceremony.
I have been reflecting on how to strengthen marriage as an institution that
raises the next generation. So far the only reform that I am totally
confident of is: we should make it a part of the marriage ceremony that the
couple explicitly promises to raise to adulthood all children born to the
I learned from Popenoe and Whitehead at the Smart Marriages conference that
couples are less child-centered than ever--yet of course all children are
born of two parents and research shows that being raised by both biological
parents greatly reduces risks of harm and improves prospects for children.
So this would be my suggestion to Mr. Vaughan: include in the ceremony the
"I, (name), promise that I will wholeheartedly devote myself to raising to
honorable adulthood every child that issues from our marriage."
Director, the Jewish Institute for Youth and Family
Here is a marriage blessing we use in marriage preparation programs that has
perhaps some language Ray Vaughan can use for his son's wedding:
Commit yourselves, body and spirit, to God and to each other.
Always try to make your relationship grow through open communication,
through trust in each other's willingness to work toward your mutual good,
and through faith in your love for God, God's love for you, and your love
for each other, even when that love seems hidden for the moment.
Give each other the freedom and encouragement to grow and develop your
individual talents and capabilities. Rejoice in that growth and work through
any problems that it may entail.
Be a prayerful couple that recognizes God as an active member of your
family, the center and the source of your love.
At your wedding, ask everyone present, your family and friends, to witness
your commitment and take a stake in your marriage. Ask for their support to
help you live your commitment to God and to each other. In return, you must
strive to be a beacon of light for all to see the glory of God through your
We ask Almighty God to bless you during your times of romance, guide you
through your periods of disillusionment, and dance with you in your moments
And may Almighty God grant you all these blessings in the name of the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Coordinator of Marriage Ministry
Archdiocese of Chicago
Hi Diane; we are hearing more and more that ministers and judges are using
words from the book "Older Love" in their marriage "sermons" as a way to
instill the idea that love goes on and on, changing as the couple changes
Waldman House Press
>From a biblical viewpoint, I have often found Pauls letter to the
Colossians(3:12-17) helpful in describing the virtues that married couples
are invited to work on and perfect.
Deacon Tim Helmeke
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