Monday, February 9, 2015

An atheist wedding

I got married!  Here is the script of the wedding, in its entirety.

We have gathered here today to witness the union of Greg and Jeanie. Thanks to technology, we in this room bear witness to this ceremony along with people from all over the world. On six continents, people who have watched Greg and Jeanie grow in their love are now witnessing their pledge to a lifetime of love and commitment to each other and their children.

(Daniel reads the essay on marriage)
Why do people get married? What makes a couple sign a marriage license and legally bind one person to another?

Sure, there are benefits and protections involved. It’s easier to do things in the name of your spouse. It’s easier to get insurance, it protects the assets you’ve built together, it assures that you have a say in medical decisions, and it makes any process involving children easier. It makes your taxes slightly easier to do.

It’s more than that, though. It’s announcing to society that you are committed to building a life together, that you are on the same page, that you have the same goals, and you are going to spend your life working to achieve them. It says to everyone you meet that you’re proud to call your spouse your husband or your wife.

It’s no longer “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”. It’s no longer “significant other”. It’s not simply “partner”, “love interest”, or even “fianc√©”. You love each other enough to take the next step into the most challenging adventure of human relationships.

So what is marriage? It’s dedication and perseverance; it’s talking and listening; it’s helping and supporting and believing in each other; it’s intimacy and laugher; it’s learning to forgive, learning to appreciate your differences, and doing little things every day to build each other up. . As you begin your married life, it is my hope that your family gathered here, that your family not present today, and that your friends from all over the world will support your commitment and look to your love as an inspiration in their own lives.

Greg and Jeanie have prepared some words they would like to share with each other.

Greg, how can I express how happy you’ve made me?

You make me feel safe. You accept me with all of my weirdness. You and I have similar goals and ideas, and that’s important when we’re staring a life together. We can always be ourselves with each other.

You don’t just say you care about me; you show it, and it’s not with expensive presents or over the top displays, but with all of the little things you do every day.

It’s when you stroke my hair and hold me close when I come to sit down next to you. It’s the times you say “I love you” out of nowhere. It’s you taking care of me when I’m sick or have a headache, doing the dishes without a word when I’m in pain, and when you kiss my nose to make me smile. It’s when you write expressions of love for me out of the blue and make me so happy, it moves me to tears. It’s when you stop what you’re doing to spend time with me, not because I complained, but because that’s what you’d rather do.

It’s always the little things that matter the most.

I promise to love, honor, and cherish you, as long as we live.

Jeanie, I fell in love with you early on, within eight days of talking with you. We talked almost around the clock for all eight of those days, learning a great deal about each other. The more we spoke, the more I realized that I could not see a down side. There were only positives. On day nine, I told you that I love you. I can’t tell you how elated I was to hear you say you love me too.

Words are words, of course, and no one can be sure until those words are tested. Everything I learned about you in words passed each test with flying colors. It did not take long to learn that you are completely genuine.

I never knew I could be so happy with anyone. I thought I knew what love was, but you proved that everything I labeled “love” in the past was a shadow of the real experience.

Love is not just a feeling. Love is a blend of emotions, trust, cooperation, affection, intimacy, and bliss. It is holding hands on car trips, cuddling on the couch during a movie, getting lost in each other’s eyes, raising children together, making long-term goals, building each other up, and growing old together. It’s making each other laugh and supporting each other through both good times and more difficult ones.
I promise to love you, cherish you, adore you, and never take you for granted. You make life better, and I promise always to strive to make life better, too.

Dan: Do you, Greg, take Jeanie to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of your life?

Greg: I do.

Dan: Do you, Jeanie, take Greg to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of your life?
Jeanie: I do.

Dan: By the power vested in my by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.

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