Introduction to the Exchange of Vows

introduction-to-the-exchange-of-vowsThe introduction to the wedding vows is when the officiant prepares the bride and groom for the promises they are about to make.

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The formal exchange of your wedding vows is the most ancient part of a wedding ceremony.

These are the words that couples for centuries have spoken to one another and, while they are very simple words, they have extraordinary meaning and importance.

As you speak them to one another, you will discover that these are truly sacred promises, and sacred promises must be kept forever.

I am going to speak these words to you now, and ask that you speak them to each other.

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you.

For after these vows, you shall say to the world, GROOM is my husband, BRIDE  is my wife.

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BRIDE and GROOM are here to marry each other. No one else’s will can create such a union.

It is their words, their intentions, their vision, that must define and shape this marriage.

So I call upon them now to state their promise before this group: the pledges that will bind them together.

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You have known each other for years, through the first glance of acquaintance to this moment of commitment.

At some moment, you decided to marry.

From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.

Just two people working out what they want, what they believe, what they hope for each other.

All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

Look at one another and remember this moment in time.

Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years.

You have learned that good company and friendship count for more than wealth, good looks or position.

And you’ve learned that marriage is a maze into which we wander – a maze that is best got through with a great companion.

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you.

For after these vows, you shall say to the world, GROOM is my husband, BRIDE is my wife.

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BRIDE and GROOM, as you stand here today, I remind you of the serious nature of the relationship you are about to enter.

Marriage is the voluntary and full commitment of two consenting adults to love each other for a lifetime.

For a marriage to be successful, you must each be loyal to the other, stand firm in your defense of each other and be supportive of one another’s life goals and dreams.

It is a solemn, binding, yet challenging relationship.

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Often people feel that religious differences between two people who are about to marry may be an obstacle to their happiness.

BRIDE and GROOM disagree.

They believe that all marriages are mixed marriages.

They may differ in the way they spend money or the way they resolve conflicts or in their sleeping patterns.

There is not one couple on this earth that would say that they agree on everything.

Couples, who come together from different religious, cultural, or ethnic backgrounds acknowledge their differences immediately.

They learn skills of negotiation to cope with their differences. And these are the exact skills that are needed in all marriages.

Intercultural couples can be stronger than other couples who share similar backgrounds.

Often couples who share their ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds can be lulled into a kind of complacency because their differences may not be so obvious.

The cultural life of an inter-faith married couple can also be more enriched than those who share the same backgrounds.

Diversity keeps life interesting. We can always enjoy the things we share.

It takes special people who can learn to celebrate their differences — special people like the two of you.

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BRIDE and GROOM by coming here today, you have now taken the initial step in what hopefully will be a wonderful and lasting life together.

Understand, that a union between two people takes work.

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is a relationship ever complete. It needs constant nurturing.

A good marriage is one that fosters respect, a devoted love, and a willingness to make sacrifices for each other.

These are the foundation blocks of a newly formed union.

Symbolically you have been brought together as one, yet are still two separate entities with unique ideas, talents and ways of being.

Respect and value those differences, and your relationship will flourish.

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BRIDE and GROOM, as you stand here in the presence of God and these witnesses, I remind you, that love, loyalty and trust are the basis of a mature and fulfilling relationship.

Marriage is a serious undertaking; it is intended to bind your lives together forever and is not to be taken lightly.

Your engagement set into motion the interweaving of your lives – and we hope that you will continue to grow closer throughout your years together.

None of us knows what the future will bring.

Yet your love for one another, and trust in the strength of your union makes possible the act of faith you are making today.

As you exchange the vows, which will start you on your journey together, know that our love and support go with you.

As you make your promises to each other, we will remember promises we too have made and take this opportunity to make new our own.

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This is a new beginning for both of you and I’d like to offer some gentle reminders to ease your life-long task of living and growing together.

Be kind to each other.

And, when you disagree, do it respectfully.

Be gentle and forgiving with each other.

When you forgive, your hearts make room for a little more love, a little more understanding and a little more compassion.

Communicate with each other.

Share the joy that’s in your heart and the sorrow that burdens your soul.

Open your hearts to each other and find the love.

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A Holy Union between two people is a beautiful thing indeed.

Something to be thankful for and something to never take for granted.

Each morning when you awaken give thanks for the gift that you have been given in each other and for your willingness to receive it.

A Holy Union is a sacred trust given to you by God. God says, “Here.

Here is my beloved Child, and I am entrusting YOU with their care.

I am entrusting you to love them, honor them, support them, cherish them, and hold their hand through thick and thin as I cannot do in human form except through you.

You are being asked to serve in this capacity because you are willing, and able, and desiring of it.

Let it always remind you that God answers all prayers eventually.”

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Marriage is not a legal document.

No pastor or priest or justice of the peace can create a marriage because a marriage, truly, is nothing except the promises made and kept by two individuals.

Today BRIDE and GROOM, your wedding day, is one brief day in time, and although your vows are spoken in a matter of minutes, they are promises that will last a lifetime.

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Marriage is not a legal document.

No pastor or priest or justice of the peace can create a marriage because a marriage, truly, is nothing except the promises made and kept by two individuals.

Today bride and groom stand before us to publicly declare their love and to share with us their marriage promises.

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Today, your wedding day, is one brief day in time, and although your vows are spoken in a matter of minutes, they are promises that will last a lifetime.

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This moment is the anchor that holds your past and your future together.

Tonight you are beginning a journey together that will last the rest of your lives.

And like any journey, there will be amazing experiences on mountaintops, today hopefully being one such experience.

Sometimes you will walk through valleys and have trouble finding your way.

But no matter where you go, and no matter how long the journey is or how difficult, the person beside you will make your journey worthwhile.

And let me just remind you that love and loyalty are the essence of a happy and enduring marriage.

No other human ties are more tender, and certainly none are more sacred than those that you share with each other now.

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The formal exchange of your wedding vows is the most ancient part of a wedding ceremony.

These are the words that couples for centuries have spoken to one another and, while they are very simple words, they have extraordinary meaning and importance.

As you speak them to one another, you will discover that these are truly sacred promises, and sacred promises must be kept forever.

I am going to speak these words to you now, and ask that you speak them to each other.

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Bride and Groom, life is given to each of us as individuals, and yet we must learn to live together.

Love is given to us by our family or by our friends.

We learn to love by being loved. Learning to love and living together is one of the greatest challenges of life – and is the shared goal of a married life.

You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in all the world whom you love best.

You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well.

You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and to share love.

Today, your wedding day, is one brief day in time, and although your vows are spoken in a matter of minutes, they are promises that will last a lifetime.

The formal exchange of your wedding vows is the most ancient part of a wedding ceremony.

These are the words that couples for centuries have spoken to one another and, while they are very simple words, they have extraordinary meaning and importance.

As you speak them to one another, you will discover that these are truly sacred promises, and sacred promises must be kept forever.

I am going to speak these words to you now, and ask that you speak them to each other.

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Bride and Groom, the vows that you are about to exchange serve as a verbal representation of the love you have promised to each other.

For it is not the words that you speak today which will unite you together as one, but the inner sense of love and commitment that each of you feels within your soul.

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BRIDE and GROOM , I counsel you, as husband and wife, to always give respect to one another even when you disagree, to bear with each other’s weaknesses, to comfort each other in times of trouble or sorrow, to work with generous hearts to provide for the material needs of each other and the household, and to help one another experience spiritual, mental, emotional and physical comfort.

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This wedding ceremony is the public recognition of a commitment that BRIDE and GROOM have already made privately in their hearts.

But it’s also their commitment to all of you who know and love them.

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By inviting you to bear witness to their vows this day, they have chosen to take you with them on the first step of their journey into marriage.

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BRIDE and GROOM know that this wedding is a celebration of the marriage that has already occurred in their hearts, a marriage that will grow, not without challenge and adversity, but with patience, love, and the belief that they have chosen wisely in choosing one another.

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We’ve come to the point of your ceremony where you’re going to say your vows to one another.

But before you do that, I ask you to remember that love – which is rooted in faith, trust, and acceptance – will be the foundation of an abiding and deepening relationship.

No other ties are more tender, no other vows more sacred than those you now assume.

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If you are able to keep the vows you take here today, not because of any religious or civic law, but out of a desire to love and be loved by another person fully, without limitation, then your life will have joy and the home you establish will be a place in which you both will find the direction of your growth, your freedom, and your responsibility

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BRIDE and GROOM want this day to mean something special to you as guests.

Those who are married may want to silently renew and reaffirm your vows today by gently taking the hand of your partner during this ceremony.

Others may want to also join hands and think about what it means to be a friend, for marriage is built first on friendship.

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There are no ties on earth so sweet, none so tender as those you are about to assume. There are no vows so solemn as those you are about to make.

There is no institution of earth so sacred as that of the union you will form, for the true home is not only the place in which you will live, but is also the dwelling place where each lives in the heart and mind of the other.

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You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice.

You both are choosing each other.

You’ve chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.

You’re about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep.

You’re going to vow to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in the other.

There’s a simple premise to each of these promises: you’re vowing to be there.

You’re teaming up and saying to the other, “Every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of.”

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BRIDE and GROOM, in a moment you will exchange your vows with each other.

These promises are meant to be a beautiful and sacred expression of your love for each other.

The beauty of these vows lie in the unknown.

For you will be making promises about a future that you can’t be sure of, a life that you don’t know how it will turn out, and a marriage that you don’t know what it’ll face.

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Your marriage is the coming together of your two souls for the purpose of manifesting your hearts’ desires and the truth of your being with one another.

Marriage will bring to you all of the unlimited possibilities of consciously choosing to become all that you desire, giving you the opportunity to become your highest vision of your Self.

This path is not only incredibly challenging but very rewarding as well; it brings to each of you the choices that you want to have for your own growth as well as the wonderful moments of diving blessing that you yearn for in your lives.

Marriage is a path of divine humanness.

It takes great courage and commitment to continue a conscious and loving union with one other.

Through your commitment, the breath of human experience will be born, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

This level of commitment to yourself and each other will open the door to receiving all that you desire, from the conscious to the unconscious.

The very act of joining with each other will increase your potential for self knowledge, joy, fulfillment, peace, and growth a hundred fold because until you have fully committed to each other, the well spring of God’s gifts have only a small river in which to flow through you.

Marriage is the union of your souls, a divine process that your essence longs to experience.

It is your nature, and the truth of who you are.

By committing to each other, you commit to life more intimately.

You no longer have the luxury of leaving when the going gets tough and the ugliness comes to the surface.

Your lifelong commitment brings to you an opportunity for joy that would be unparalleled for each of you alone.

The joys are that much stronger and the happiness that much richer.

The wisdom is deeper and more developed, and the journey itself fuller and more beautiful.

The path of true marriage is not for the meek.

It requires courage and strength, as well as an open mind and a heart filled with hope and joy.

Through the mirror of each other, marriage teaches you compassion, understanding, trust, commitment, love, gentleness, and patience.

Within your marriage, all things are possible; all dreams, goals, and visions are possible within your Holy Union.

Marriage denies you nothing, and only gives to you that which you truly desire.

Your marriage is the coming together of friends into Union.

It requires you to soften, enjoying the special qualities of your present moments.

It can bring you comfort in times of need, solace when you despair, and safety when you are afraid.

A lifelong, loving marriage brings to you more peace than a life filled with quietude and solitary meditation.

It takes the peace of your connection with God into your relationship and into all that you say, think, and do.

Because you have prayed for every gift available to you, your marriage leaves no stone unturned, enriching your lives beyond your wildest dreams, and making you greater than you ever imagined.