Welcome, to all of you who have gathered today to share in this ceremony with Neil and Jennifer. The words which will be spoken here today are sacred, although these words are not what joins these two. Indeed, it is not I who is joining these two today at all, nor is it this ceremony.
We are not here to mark the start of a relationship; we are here to recognize a bond that already exists. Neil and Jennifer have joined themselves together, and we have gathered so that they might bear witness before us of the oneness that has grown up between them. Here, they will affirm this oneness and this dedication formally and publicly, as they have already affirmed it to each other. As they now exist as one in their own eyes; so may they exist in yours.
This union has already occurred in the giving and receiving of their love and in the myriad ways in which they have entwined their lives together.
We are here to witness their statement of love and commitment. This is an act as ancient as the human race, and as new as each morning, for it speaks of the past and of the future, of the life of the individual and the existence of the community.
Marriage is a going forth, a giving up of one way in search of a greater fulfillment than either can achieve alone, risking what they are for what they might be.
Neil and Jennifer come now to declare their love and solemnize their commitment. Today we celebrate their faith in the continuance of that growth as they come to be united in marriage.
MaryAnn and Norman, Jill and Chris: Jennifer and Neil come out of your family circles. They are living expressions of your love; they have been nurtured in your affections and guided by your personal counsel.
It is now their desire to broaden their family circles, maintaining the heritage with which you have provided them. They will explore new directions, but keep also the tried and tested lessons of their earlier years.
As you have brought Jennifer and Neil thus far in life, they ask for your affectionate blessings upon them, for the future they have chosen. Do you give this blessing? (They Do.)
Neil and Jennifer, you have carefully considered the beauty of the obligations assumed when lives are wed. Are you now prepared to enter into this covenant of love, marriage? (We are.)
In the journey of marriage, the little things are the big things; like having the capacity to forgive and forget; not taking the other for granted and doing things for each other, not out of a sense of duty but in a spirit of joy and happiness. Above all else, the true art of marriage is not only in marrying the right partner it is being the right partner.
For those of us blessed by a true partnership of love, we feel safe in the presence of our loved one. There is no need to hide any part of ourselves for fear of being judged or rejected. We can just be together from moment to moment, fully recognizing that by freeing one another to be truly who they are, we are loving each other more.
A true spiritual marriage is a journey of transformation. In marriage, we do not give ourselves to another, but rather surrender into something greater while maintaining our well-being as individuals. A truly sacred marriage union is a vehicle that allows us to know our true selves by reflection through our loved one.
Neil, do you take Jennifer to be your wife, through all of the days of your life, to love her and to cherish her, to help her and to honour her, and to give her understanding and comfort in whatever the future may bring in confidence that together you are responsible for your destiny? (He does.)
Jennifer, do you take Neil to be your husband, through all of the days of your life, to love him and to cherish him, to help him and to honour him, and to give him understanding and comfort in whatever the future may bring in confidence that together you are responsible for your destiny? (I do.)
I, Neil, take you, Jennifer, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.
I, Jennifer, take you, Neil, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us.
The circle of the ring speaks of love freely given: it has no beginning and it has no end. The circle of the ring declares the unity and the oneness of your two lives, which shall contain your devotion beyond every journey, that you may always return again to your togetherness.
(Neil) I offer this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.
(Jennifer) I offer this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.
May we who are here present, hold the inspiration of this hour alive in our hearts and memories, as Neil and Jennifer will hold it as a symbol of their love and commitment.
Through your statements of common spirit and commitment, and the exchange of rings, you have done what in truth neither province nor church can do: you have joined yourselves in a shared destiny.
For as much as Neil and Jennifer have consented together in marriage, declaring their love for each other, I, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the province of British Columbia, hereby pronounce you, Neil and Jennifer to be husband and wife.
You may kiss the bride.
And as I am so very privileged to bring you together in marriage today, I have a wish for both of you. My wish is that many, many years from now you are able to look back on your life together – pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled – and that you are able to look at one another and say: “Because of you, I have lived the life I’ve always wanted to live – because of you, I have become the person I always longed to be.”