Traditional Marriage Vows

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The choice to recite traditional marriage vows or write one's own is strictly personal but may coincide with a couple's religious beliefs. A vow is a solemn promise made between a man and a woman as part of the wedding ceremony. The words spoken alternatively by bride and groom are meant to solidify and publicly attest to the couple's love, devotion, and expressed intention to work towards a lifelong monogamous relationship. Traditional wording is often chosen by Christians or couples who want to celebrate the sacredness of the institution of holy wedlock. The realization that marriage is a sacred and binding union ordained by God may be the impetus for engaged couples to keep customary wording as part of the nuptials. "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:23-24).

Certain denominations also dictate words spoken by a bride and groom at the altar, along with the "script" spoken by the pastor or minister who officiates the ceremony. As part of a Catholic, Christian, or Jewish wedding, ceremonial wedding vows are facilitated by a priest, pastor or rabbi contain basically three parts: the officiating minister's questions addressed to the groom and the bride; the groom's response, and the bride's response followed by a pronunciation of the union, which is sealed with a token of love, the kiss! Traditional marriage vows may include standard wording or slight variations. For example, when Kate marries Johnny, the preacher may begin by asking, "Do you, Johnny, take Kate to be your lawfully wedded wife; to love and to cherish, to have and to hold from this day forward, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, until death do you part?" Johnny will answer, "Yes." The officiating minister then turns to Kate and asks, "Do you, Kate, take Johnny to be your lawfully wedded husband; to have and to hold...to cherish and obey as long as you both shall live?" Kate's answer should be yes. After exchanging these traditional marriage vows, the preacher then pronounces the couple man and wife, giving the groom permission to kiss his bride.

Many modern brides choose to eliminate the promise to obey the husband because of a belief that such a vow makes females subservient to males. In 1922, the Episcopal Church abolished the word "obey" from the promises traditionally recited by brides. But according to the Word of God, the wife's submissiveness to the husband is part and parcel of the institution of marriage. Brides who are reluctant to reverence the husband as authoritative head of household might have a tendency to usurp authority later in the relationship. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church: and He is the Savior of the Body. Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing" (Ephesians 5:22-24). The Bible also admonishes husbands to love and cherish the wife. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it;". . . "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself" (Ephesians 5:25 and 28). Thus, traditional marriage vows in which brides promise to obey and grooms promise to "love and to cherish" are biblically sound.

Many couples may wonder if reciting traditional marriage vows makes the union any more sacred than writing one's own words. But we must remember that a vow is a solemn promise; and the joining together of a man and a woman in holy matrimony is not to be taken lightly. By reciting those promises before God, the priest or pastor, and a room full of witnesses, husbands and wives actually seal their fate as they begin a new life together. The promise to become a "lawfully" wedded husband or wife fulfills the law of the state in which they are married. "To have and to hold," is a promise to consummate the marriage through a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. "For richer or poorer," attests to a mutual commitment to stay married regardless of an abundance of financial wealth or lack of money. The phrase "in sickness and in health," is also an integral part of traditional marriage vows that indicates a couple's commitment not to divorce if one or both parties suffer from chronic illness. Especially important is the promise to "forsake all others." In light of the high percentage of divorces among Christians and non-Christians, making a verbal commitment to abstain from infidelity and remain faithful to one's spouse is of utmost importance. Last but certainly not least, the bride and groom pledge to stay married until one of them dies.

Every man or woman contemplating marriage should understand the ramifications of not only making traditional marriage vows but also the importance of endeavoring to keep them. In the last two decades, too little emphasis has been placed on honoring marriage vows. Instead, couples who choose matrimony do so with little thought to creating and preserving a lifelong relationship. The realization that reciting traditional marriage vows before God and man establishes a couple's mutual commitment and devotion to one another in the earth may serve as a deterrent to divorce. While traditional or non-traditional wording is a matter of choice, keeping the commitment after consummation to remain faithful in spite of the temptations of the flesh, sickness, or poverty until death is ultimately more important than the words spoken.

Traditional Wedding Vows

Traditional Wedding Vows are the choice of many couples who decide to get married today. Basically, the couple is stating before God, those present, and to each other that they choose to enter into a marriage covenant. Each promises to love, comfort, and honor each another no matter what the circumstances. They vow to forsake all others and to remain faithful. Some traditional wedding vows vary depending upon what the partners want to emphasize in the ceremony. One variation includes the declarations of the rings. The most popular version declares that the ring is bound to the heart and worn as a symbol of love. There are various versions of the marriage ceremony online. Some are broke out based upon religious affiliation. Poems, Bible Verses, and Quotes that can be used in a ceremony are shown as well. "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6).

Prayers and blessings are often a part of traditional wedding vows. Partners can choose to write their own prayer and have the pastor or officiator to pray over them. Some of the key words used in prayers and blessings during a marriage ceremony are love, hope, happiness, beauty, joy, unity, harmony, honor, kindness, understanding, and romance. Sentiments often include words about devotion, strength, comfort, companion, journey, togetherness, faith, and future. You will want to pray and do some research on what you want to be part of a traditional wedding vows ceremony. Perhaps you already know, maybe you have written your own vows and memorized them. Be sure and include God in this very important day and vow to put Him first everyday throughout your lives.

The Unity Candle is one way that partners can choose to join together in Holy Wedlock. Using the Unity Candle for a wedding ceremony is not recommended if the service is going to be held outdoors. However if the service is indoors traditional wedding vows along with unity candles can be very beautiful and symbolic. The candles are usually two slender taper candles and a larger one that goes in the center. The two on the outside are lit and represent the individual lives of the couple. During the service, the bride and groom light the center candle and extinguish the individual ones. This is symbolic of the unity of the two people. Soft music playing during the candle service is not uncommon. Also, the lights in the room should be very low to amplify the ambience in the room.

Couples have many choices when it comes to the service procession. This largely depends upon how many attendants are in the wedding party. The Groom takes his place at the front on the right before the service begins. The Best Man enters first and then the Maid of Honor follows. Normally younger children are used as the Ring Bearer and the Flower Girl. In most ceremonies where couples use traditional wedding vows the Ring Bearer will walk behind the Maid of Honor and the Flower Girl will follow. The Ring is often carried on a pillow and the Flower Girl drops petals of flowers as she walks towards the front. After the Flower Girl, the Bride starts down the aisle escorted by the person of her choice which is usually the Father of the Bride.

Some partners choose to have a wedding program highlighting their traditional wedding vows and other important parts of the ceremony. The program will be something that the guests can take with them as a keepsake. The program has the names of the couple, the wedding date, location, and time. Next on the program will be what happens during the service, the music, readings, prayers, vows, ring ceremony, and so on. If you have a unity candle service it normally takes place after the ring ceremony. The program should show the names of all those who were in the wedding party. Some partners choose to have the information on the recession which takes place after the service in the program. In some cases, it might be necessary to show a map and directions of where the reception will take place. Then the events of the reception can be included as well. Perhaps introducing the new Mr. and Mrs. to the crowd would be the best way to get it started. Some partners like to have a celebration that includes music and dancing. Other couples might want to keep it at just eating the wedding cake and punch.

Another big decision around the important day is the pictures. Much of the time pictures are taken after the traditional wedding vows and when the service is over. Usually this is done right after the ceremony when everyone is still in their wedding clothes. The partners will want to find a professional photographer so they can have beautiful memories of their important day. Taking pictures can last as long as an hour but usually no more than this unless the bride and groom want more. Sometimes the relatives will offer to pay for some so they can have them for their albums. Post ceremony photography may take some reenactments of the service and the wedding party along with the immediate family who will need to be available for shots. After the pictures, the couple can change into their going away clothes and enjoy spending time with family. Then off they go on the honeymoon.



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