My Wedding Vows

Originally my thinking about wedding vows ran like this: The Bible doesn’t require a church wedding; it’s more the best of my cultural tradition that I’m honoring when I don a tux and Laura a white gown. That cultural tradition is primarily English, as are the vows which in various mangled forms survive to the present: “for richer, for poorer,” etc. Why not, then, go ad fontes and use the original Church of England vows?

I discovered why not when I looked:

  1. Many contemporary audiences of good Christian people would be confused by the wording.
  2. Thinking Christian people will object to the phrase “with my body I thee worship.”
  3. Admittedly, using the antiquated English of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer sounds elitist, hoity-toity, or even silly in the wrong context.
  4. Non-Christians, inured by custom, will hear only religious drivel.

So I updated some of the language and changed some more. For your perusal, I submit my vows (for comparison to the original, click here). The last vows, the “further pledge,” are the place where I made the most changes. Apparently the Puritans didn’t like “with my body I thee worship” any more than I did, but their replacement was wordy and I wanted to include some Bible truths especially precious to Laura and me.

Ward Wedding Vows

Mark, will you have this woman as your wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of marriage? Will you love her, lead her, comfort, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, cleave only to her, as long as you both shall live?

The Man shall answer, I will.

Then he shall say unto the Woman,

Laura, will you have this man as your wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you obey him, follow him, help him, love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, cleave only to him, as long as you both shall live?

The Woman shall answer, I will.

Then shall the Minister say,

Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

Father:

Her mother and I do.

Then shall they pledge their faithfulness to each other in this manner.

The Minister, receiving the Woman at her father’s hands, shall cause the Man with his right hand to take the Woman by her right hand, and to say after him as follows.

I, Mark, take you, Laura, as my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance. This I pledge in a covenant of love.

Then shall they loose their hands; and the Woman, with her right hand taking the Man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the Minister,

I, Laura, take you, Mark, as my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, respect, and to obey, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance. This I pledge in a covenant of love.

Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Man shall give unto the Woman a ring. And the Man holding the ring there, and taught by the Preacher, shall say,

By this ring I make a further pledge: by the grace of our God I will love you with the true love of delight. I will love you as my own body, for we today become one. With joy I take my role as head. This I declare in the presence of the eternally rejoicing triune God. Amen.

Then the Man leaving the ring upon the fourth finger of the Woman’s left hand.

Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Woman shall give unto the Man a ring. And the Woman holding the ring there, and taught by the Preacher, shall say,

By this ring I make a further pledge: by the grace of our God I will love you with the true love of delight. I will honor you as my head, for we today become one. With joy I take my role as helper. This I declare in the presence of the eternally rejoicing triune God. Amen.