We are gathered here in the presence of God to witness the exchanging of vows that will bind this couple together in the covenant relationship of marriage. When this ceremony has ended they will leave this place as husband and wife for the very first time having been joined together by their Creator, the God of heaven.
Who gives this daughter in marriage?
(Father of the bride) "Her mother and I."
Of the three institutions ordained of God the home, the church and the state, the home is the oldest. Since it had its design and origin with God, it is honorable.
Moses tells the story in the second and third chapters of Genesis. God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and passed all of the animals of the creation by him to see what he would name them. When Adam was finished, it was evident that for every beast of the field and every fowl of the air there was a mate, but Adam was alone. God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and from his side God took a rib and created the first woman, Eve. 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." Then God said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Gen. 2:23-24).
You will notice that Eve was made from the rib of Adam. She was not taken from his head that she should rule over him, nor from his foot that he should walk over her. She was taken from his side, near his heart, that hand in hand they could go together throughout life.
Christ honored the institution of marriage by performing His very first miracle at a joyous wedding feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2). The apostle Paul tells us that marriage is honorable in all (Heb. 13:4).
The institution of marriage is not a casual one. Since we live in an age where so many people have little or no respect for marriage, we need to constantly reassert that God ordained marriage for our good. So holy is this relationship that Paul likened it to Christ and His church.
Let us read from Ephesians 5, verses 22 through 33: "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
In the nineteenth chapter of Matthew the Pharisees questioned Jesus about the marriage relationship. They wanted to know whether marriage was an ambiguous relationship, one subject to dissolution by the whim of either party, or was it a permanent relationship, where the couple would be bound together till they parted in death.
They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" Jesus explained that God ordained marriage and said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Since God had joined them together, it must be a permanent bond.
They then asked, "Why then did Moses command a certificate of divorce?" Jesus responded by saying, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." (Name of groom) and (name of bride) it is still "not so" today. God hates divorce! Do you both understand this? (Wait for an affirmative response).
The marriage yoke is so binding that God has only allowed one reason for a man to put away his spouse, that being sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9).
When trouble comes, as it often does divorce is not an option.
The time might come when some of your friends who are present here today would urge you to get a divorce. These witnesses you both have chosen may forget the vows you make this day, but God will not forget them. He will hold you to them as long as you both shall live!
According to the laws of this State, there are several things necessary to constitute a marriage. A license must be obtained from the State and vows must be exchanged in a civil ceremony. Witnesses must sign the legal documents and records must be made in proper office. But marriage is far more than a piece of paper or ring of gold involves a new relationship between you both and brings many new responsibilities.
(Name of groom), when you leave this building, you will be the head of a new home, you will be the provider for (name of bride), and her protector. You must not only give your first loyalty to her, but also give her honor. Though you will be the head of the house, you would be foolish not to seek her council.
(Name of bride), when you leave here today, you will be the wife of this young man. You must be in submission to him and be his comforter throughout life. The wise King Solomon said, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Eccl. 4:9-11).
(Name of groom) will you have this woman to be your wedded wife? Will you love, honor, cherish and keep her as long as you both shall live?
(Name of bride) will you take this man to be your wedded husband? Will you love, honor and obey him as long as you live?
(Looking at the groom) Is there a ring? Please place it upon her hand.
The ring has long been the emblem of eternity symbolizing the endurance of the sacred covenant made this day.
(Name of groom) will you please repeat after me?
"I (name of groom) take thee (name of bride) to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till in death we part, and with this ring, I thee wed, and pledge my faithfulness."
(Name of bride) Is there another ring? Please place it upon his hand.
Please let this ring serve as a perpetual reminder of the love you both share this day.
"I (name of bride) take thee (name of groom) to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till in death we part, and with this ring, I thee wed, and pledge my faithfulness."
Let us go to God in prayer. O, Almighty God, Thou who art the giver of all good things, we beseech Thee to pour out Your richest blessings upon this couple who have here vowed their lives to each other. Please let them be happy in each other's companionship. Please let their quiver of children be full, and grant them the years to see their children grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let all those present here today remember Your great love for us. In Christ, our Redeemer's name. Amen.
Forasmuch as you two have consented together to be married, and have publicly declared it before God and these witnesses by the giving and exchanging of rings, now by the power vested in me by this State, I now pronounce you to be husband and wife.
From this day forward you will be one in mind, one in heart, and by the grace of God, one in eternal destiny. Believing it's God who truly joins a couple together in marriage, let no man put it asunder.
You may now kiss your bride.
I now present unto you Mr. and Mrs. (last name of groom).