wedding readings and vows not fixated on individual romantic love?
September 15, 2018 1:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm participating in a U.S.-style wedding soon and my fiancee wants me to find a meaningful passage and a vow to read aloud during the ceremony. I'm looking for something which speaks of marriage as a alliance of two families, as a partnership in the work of caring for ourselves and our parents and our children, as a considered union of our previously separate prospects, skills, and desires. Hope me?

There are lots of examples on the internet, and I'm really put off by how they speak of marriage as if it affected only two individuals, and as if love were some irresistible external force which seizes two people and drags them to the altar. It's...weird, and not the way I want to speak of my marriage.
posted by meaty shoe puppet to Human Relations (5 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
On Marriage
Kahlil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
posted by kudra23 at 1:41 PM on September 15, 2018 [7 favorites]

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things. They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. These lovers, pledging themselves to one another 'until death,' are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could join them. And so here, at the very heart of community life, we find not something to sell as in the public market but this momentous giving. If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing."

Wendell Berry
posted by permiechickie at 2:24 PM on September 15, 2018 [15 favorites]

I perform weddings in the US and one thing you may also want to consider (if you're not already doing it) is whether you want the attending community to be part of your vows. That is you say "I do" your partner says "I do" and then the community is asked if they will likewise support you etc etc (this can be phrased many different ways) and they say "We do" Here's one set of declarations I've used for that sort of thing.

As family and friends, you form the community of support that surrounds A. and S.. Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in honoring and loving each other.

It is you to whom they’ll turn in the coming years, whether in joy or in sorrow. Always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and support, not your judgment. They ask that you commit to them, as they are committing to one another. That just as they pledge to support and protect the other, you pledge to support and protect their relationship, today and always. Help them to keep their hearts open, full of forgiveness and compassion.

posted by jessamyn at 2:58 PM on September 15, 2018 [7 favorites]

Your ideas sound so clear, and you have expressed them so definitely, that I wonder if you might write more about what you mean, and make the text that is precisely what you intend.
posted by amtho at 4:15 PM on September 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm also an Officiant, and I use something like The Hands Ceremony, and people love it.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 3:41 AM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

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