Non-Religious With Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet"

MARRIAGE CEREMONY #4
(Non-religious with Kahlil Gilbran’s “The Prophet)

Friends, we are gathered at this hour to witness and to celebrate the drawing together of two separate lives. We have come so that this man _________ and this woman ________ may be joined in marriage. It is not to be entered into lightly, but with certainty, with mutual respect, and with a sense of reverence which does not preclude beauty, humor, or happiness.

Love can be one of the highest experiences that comes to mankind. At its best it reduces our selfishness, deepens our personalities, and makes life more meaningful. The day-to-day companionship, the pleasure in doing things together, or in doing separate things is a central part of what a man and woman who love each other can share.

All significant experiences are of concern to our fellow men and women. Two people in love do not live in isolation from the wider embraces of humanity for love is a way of being with the world. So it is, that the institution of marriage is a public recognition of the private experience of love and a sanctifying of its greatest purposes.

Matrimony symbolizes the ultimate intimacy between a man and a woman; this closeness does not diminish but rather strengthens the individuality of each partner. It is said that a marriage which lasts is one that always has a little more to grow.

These sentiments are echoed in Kahlil Gilbran’s “The Prophet.”

“Sing and dance together and be joyous,
But let each one of you be alone.
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.”

Thus it is out of the resonance between individuality and union that love, whose incredible strength is equal only to its incredible fragility, is born and reborn.

Today’s celebration of human affection is the outward sign of a sacred and inward commitment which religious societies consecrate and states legalize, but which neither can create. Each union can only be created by loving purpose, maintained by willpower and renewed by human feelings and intentions. In this spirit these two persons stand before us.

______________ Will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her and honor her, forsaking all others, so long as you live?

____________ Will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him and honor him, forsaking all others, so long as you live?

Have the couples join right hands and repeat

I, ______________ take you ______________ to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

I, _____________ take you _____________ to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

Exchange of Rings

“Take and wear this ring as a symbol of our marriage vows.”

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the hardest of all tasks, the ultimate test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation…love….is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in themselves, to become…a world to themselves for another’s sake…human love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.

May these two people fulfill this covenant which they have made. May they openly give and take from each other, encouraging each other in whatever trials befall them, sharing in each other’s joys, helping each other as each occasion requires.

Those whom God has joined together let no person asunder. For as much as __________________ and __________________ have consented together in wedlock before this company and have given and pledged themselves to the other by giving and receiving rings and by joining hands, I now pronounce that they are husband and wife.

You may now kiss the bride.