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George & Kristin’s Wedding Ceremony

“Mawidge…mawidge is what bwings us togewer today.” (sorry, I had to do that)

The State of Texas, in its infinite wisdom, doesn’t really care who performs a wedding ceremony, just so long as you have the marriage certificate and paid your fee. Sure, they require it to be performed by a licensed clergyman, but any joker can now get ordained online at ulc.org for free, and so George and Kristin have asked me to be that joker today.

But what is a marriage? What turns two otherwise single people into a “Hymenially coupled, conjugally matrimonified” pair? It isn’t the piece of paper from the state that they’ve signed; it isn’t the magic incantation “I now pronounce you man and wife” that I’ll intone in a minute or so.

It is the trust and commitment that each has placed in the other.

Too many people get married with the best of intentions, but end up treating it as an arrangement of convenience, a business partnership with fringe benefits, that, like a business, is simply dissolved if the going gets tough. But that is not a true marriage.

In traditional ceremonies they use the phrase “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, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live .”

Let’s analyze that:

“To have and to hold” – that’s to provide, well…there are children present, so I’ll skip that one for now.

“from this day forward” – meaning without end. Point of no return. Crossing the Rubicon, the line in the sand, the final frontier….you get the idea.

“for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health” (strict parallelism would dictate keeping the good thing:bad thing going by saying “in health and in sickness,” but I digress) – they say it three different ways, because it is that important: It’s not always gonna be happy, happy, joy, joy. Sometimes it’s gonna be rough. But you are now telling each other “I’m going to be there for you, no matter what.” And knowing that you will be there for each other will help you to weather the tough times.

“to love and to cherish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.” That’s like the first part…it’s repeated, so it must be important, too.

“Forsaking all others” – abandonar todos los otros; geben herauf alle andere; abandon de tous les autres; capisce? That’s just another way of saying the second part.

“as long as you both shall live” – and yet another way of saying the second part…I don’t think those church guys ever read Strunk and White.

What does it all mean?

It means that we are just acknowledging something that God has already done. We are celebrating today what took place in Kristin and George’s hearts long ago. Kristin and George (and Rain!) have found what they’ve been looking for.

George, take the ring, place it on Kristin’s finger, and repeat after me:

I, George, take you Kristin to be my wife, my partner, and my truest friend.
I promise to love, comfort and encourage you.
I promise to be open and honest with you.
I promise to stay with you through the happiness and the pain, seeing you through the tides of this life.
I will trust and honor you.
From this day forward, your people will be my people.
And as I have given you my hand to hold – so I give you my life to keep.

Kristin, take the ring, place it on George’s finger, and repeat after me:

I, Kristin, take you George to be my husband, my partner, and my truest friend.
I promise to love, comfort and encourage you.
I promise to be open and honest with you.
I promise to stay with you through the happiness and the pain, seeing you through the tides of this life.
I will trust and honor you.
From this day forward, your people will be my people.
And as I have given you my hand to hold – so I give you my life to keep.

Now George has something for Rain:

[gives Rain necklace and waxes poetic]

Then, by the power vested in me by the Great State of TEXAS, I now pronounce you husband and wife. What God has joined together, let no one put asunder. “Ven wuv, twoo wuv, wiw fowwow you fowever.” You may kiss the bride.