(An author of Unseen was recently married. Following is a copy of the ceremony. You are welcome to modify and use it free of charge in a private ceremony. It is not necessary to give us credit. However, any commercial modification and/or sale of this ceremony is forbidden without express written permission from the owner of this website.)
A Covenant Wedding Ceremony
Welcome and good afternoon to all of you, our family and friends. It is with great pleasure that we gather today to witness the marriage covenant to which (Bride) and (Groom) are going to agree. They have chosen covenant, not a contract, in which they will give themselves and all they are and possess to each other. We are thrilled to have you here as witnesses.
Who is giving ___________ to be married?
What a joyous occasion. In a covenant marriage, a man and woman agree to die to their previous lives so they can become a new person, with a new identity. This new person will be comprised of two persons, each of whom has decided to no longer seek a full life apart from the other. As you continue to get to know each other over the years, you will be discovering a new self, which is a result of your union with each other. In a covenant marriage, each of you becomes your best when you give yourself completely to each other.
In this ceremony, you are going to express your love for one another, which is the reason you desire to establish a covenant. So, what is love? I recently asked God because He says He loves us, but what does that mean? Surely it means He has more than good feelings toward us, but I wanted a definition that is usable. His first response to me was, “Love does.” Then He gave me a picture of a mother gazing into the eyes of her infant as she ponders the wonders of its future while preparing to meet every need even before the child knows it has a need. And then I remembered, God so loved the world that He gave His only birthed Son for us before we were even born, before we even knew we had a need. He prepared for our futures, like many parents do, before we even had a future. The primary characteristic of God’s love is selfless giving, selfless doing. God has never and will never withhold what we need, nor does He even wait until we are in trouble before He has solved our problems.
(Bride, Groom), a covenant marriage requires grace, God’s grace, which is God selflessly giving Himself and all He is to us. And, He has given Himself to us with a covenant oath, which means that if He fails to be Himself and do all that love does He will cease being God. That is how serious He takes His blood oath. Since He has given Himself to each of us with such an oath, we can know in absolute terms that His love has and will meet every need. And, how has He done this? His covenant with us is very much like your covenant with each other. He has said that everything He is and everything He has is yours. He has given you His life. As the Apostle Paul said, “Christ is your life.” Which means He lives in us, for us, as us.
There are two keywords that are a part of this covenant. Expectation and Intention. Where do expectations come from? They come from what you believe. Whatever you believe creates what you expect and what you expect determines what you will see. Since your beliefs create your expectations, which will affect what you see in each other, what you believe about each other is critical. Ask God to show you the truth that is inside each other. And, God will never be judgmental, harsh, or mean. He is to you an encourager.
Expectations are so powerful that they can cause us to see things that aren’t real. So, if you expect based on a wrong belief about your spouse that you don’t know is wrong, what you are most likely to see will not be true and you will not know it. Since God is the only One Who knows the whole truth about anything, ask Him to teach you what He knows, and especially about one another. He loves to do it because if anything you believe isn’t true, He knows you will interpret everything through those wrong beliefs.
What about intention? When we declare our intentions in agreement with His intentions, He makes it happen by doing it from inside us. It is not your responsibility to make anything happen. It is your job to simply agree with God.
Just like God gives Himself to you, as you continue to give each other grace, that is to give each other yourselves, with intention, you will experience wonders. This is where you will find the love in store for you from each other.
All this means is that a covenant marriage is not just between two people. It is between you two and God. He is not just present here but involved as the third person of your marriage, today and every day. He is the one Who causes a covenant union to happen, and when He does, the treasures of who you are become available to each other. It is His joy to help you discover the priceless wealth inside each other. As a result of this, you will have His ability to make this a wonderful marriage. This does not mean there will not be problems. What it does mean is that you have His divine ability to work through the problems with success.
You are promising to always believe the best of each other and to live as though that best is true. A failure is to be treated with forgiveness, which does not mean saying a failure was okay. Rather, it means releasing one another from grudges so you may start afresh being who you really are. It also means you have committed to remembering this covenant.
You two have said you want a covenant marriage, right? Well, today is the official start. Today you establish the foundation of your expectations and intentions. I want to mention a passage from the Book of Ephesians where the Apostle Paul “supposedly” said wives are to submit to and/or obey their husbands. Many have unfortunately interpreted this to mean wives are to unquestionably do whatever the husband says to do. Actually, the Greek word which is commonly translated “obey” simply means to “submit to hearing” or, in other words, to listen. As for the word usually translated “submit,” it actually means to “under-arrange” or “organize under.”
In the first century, the husband was the sole breadwinner and he needed his wife to organize and run their home. Paul seemed to suggest that some wives failed to do so. For the man to properly fulfill his role in the family required the woman to fulfill hers, and vice versa. Women probably do a lot more now than they did back then, but what is still the same is that it is in most wives’ hearts to care for their families and make them the best possible. They want to create a family which is successful in every possible way. Paul goes on to tell husbands how to treat their wives so they can be the person they want to be. When a woman receives the love, respect, encouragement, and support which God intends husbands to give…, well it is nearly impossible to compare what a man will do with what a woman can and will do for her family. But, she can’t be that unless her husband knows who he is and is it! Paul said the husband is the head of the wife – not her ruler. Do you realize a head is worthless without its body?..... No man treats his body with disrespect but rather loves it and cares for it. That is the husband’s relationship with his wife.
So besides organizing her life for her family and listening to her husband, what else did Paul tell wives to do? Not a thing! That was the end of his instructions for women. But he had a boatload to say to husbands!
(25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for her.
Did you hear that, (Groom)? Your job as a husband is NOT first to give things to your wife but to give YOURSELF to her. If you provide for (Bride) financially without first giving her yourself, your heart, you would be failing as a husband.
(26) That he might sanctify and cleanse her by letting His spoken words wash her like water.
This means talking to (Bride), speaking words that tell her she is special, she is important. It means telling her about the things God is teaching you, what you are learning in life. Talk about it. It means speaking to her in ways that enable her to grow to be the woman she was created to be. To sanctify her means to treat her as very special and not common or ordinary. To cleanse her with the spoken word is to speak words that relieve her mind and thoughts so she knows she is right and good. And, these are the sorts of things that are good for wives to do to their husbands, too. So, to help (Bride) be a wonderful wife to you, you speak good words to her, words that will wash her of the crud that tries to stick in her mind. You are to protect your wife with words as she becomes the glorious creature she is.
When you add it all up, in the same way wives should hear their husbands, husbands should hear their wives. (Groom), listen to (Bride) and share her heart. Scripture is CLEAR that a husband is to prefer his wife above his own interests and desires. This way the husband’s decisions will be the best for the whole family. The covenant marriage relationship does not give the husband the rights of a dictator, rather, it gives both partners the obligation to serve one another. You’ll spend a lifetime learning how to do that. And, this is where you will find an unimaginable joy. Now, this by no means says husbands and wives cannot have their own interests. Just don’t let them come between you.
Regardless of who God says we really are, we live like who WE THINK we are. And, I don’t think anyone yet thinks of themselves with the same wonderful image that God has of them. As a wife is told by her husband the wonder of who she is and how she is loved, she will more and more believe it and automatically live more and more like the woman she was created to be.
(Bride), if (Groom) lets you down, don’t let your emotions control you. Rather listen to him. Seek to reason with him. Tell him to remember who he is and to be that. Ask God to keep showing you who you are and who (Groom) is in this marriage. There may be times when (Groom) will fail to act like who he is. In those times, as you “be” who you are, it will bring him back to sanity. Never forget how your words affect each other, and remember that God will put His ability into your words to cause things to happen.
You have prepared your own vows so please face each other.
(Bride's Full Name)
I can't specify the exact date or time that I fell in love with you, because it happens more and more every day. But from the beginning, I was determined to pursue you, and I can promise you that I'll continue to do so.
I know that as we grow, things about us will change. I promise you that I will always meet you exactly where you're at with love, grace, and open arms.
I promise to be loyal.
I promise to be loving.
I promise to be honest.
During both our best times, and in the face of adversity, I give you my word that I will let God guide this marriage, and love you through me. I will never go at it alone.
I love you and give myself wholly to you.
(Groom's full name),
Your heart and mine are a true reflection of what it means to be loved and to demonstrate your true identity. I’ve fallen in love with watching you strive to understand how to love even more and I’ve taken many lessons from watching you succeed. I will hold tight to the truths that you and I learn together while we grow in love. As you and I grow in love, and through love, I promise to remind you of the truths that you are worthy of. Truths that I want for you.
I want for you to have
Strength, so I will fight to be strong for you
Peace, so I will pray to be of sound mind for you
Joy, so I will encourage you in what fulfills you
And, Laughter, so I will continue to be a nutcase
(Groom), you are a man of so much worth and I am grateful to be the one who gets to spend my whole life showing you who you are.
I love you and give myself wholly to you.
EXCHANGE OF RINGS
You will now exchange rings as a symbol of the lifelong commitment and abiding love which you as husband and wife have promised to each other.
(Groom), please place the ring on (Bride)'s finger, and repeat after me.
“(Bride), I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness”
(Bride), please place the ring on (Groom)’s finger, and repeat after me.
“(Groom), I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness”
To guests: Before we conclude, (Bride) and (Groom) want to take their first communion as husband and wife.
(Bride, Groom), the communion was given to us by Jesus as a visible means of connecting us with something He did for each of us. He offered it as a special way of experiencing His death and resurrection by taking us back to when it happened where we can see ourselves inside Christ as he died and rose for us, as us. This is why He said to do it as often as you want. That’s why you keep taking it with understanding - so the realness of what it is grows inside you so it is more real than any problem or fear. This is what the Old Testament calls Shalom: peace and wholeness in every aspect of life.
In the night when Jesus was betrayed by a very close friend, He took bread and broke it. He said, “Take this and eat it because it is my body broken as yours, in every way that yours is broken. Do this as often as you want as a way of bringing the reality of what I have done for you into your present moments. When you understand what I have done, you will no longer fear anything because you have already died with me.” This is what Jesus discussed with them as they supped.
(Break the bread and give to them)
Then, Jesus blessed the wine and said, “This cup is the New Covenant inside my blood.” In the Old Testament, blood represented life. So, the blood of the New Covenant represented not only Jesus’ death but the life that God declared would follow. By drinking from this cup, you are literally pulling into this present moment that Christ not only became you on the cross but because His death was your death, so His life, health, and prosperity are now yours also. Now He just wants to teach you how to take what is yours. He will show you how to do it.
(Drink from the cup)
Father, God, help (Bride) and (Groom) fulfill the covenant promises they have made here today and to reflect your loving kindness in their commitment to each other. Christ inside them is their kindness and patience, affection and understanding, happiness and contentment. May their family and friends continue to support them always, and their love for each other continue to grow as long as they both shall live. AMEN
Now, I have the high privilege and honor of pronouncing you, husband and wife! And, if you will now turn and face your family and friends…Hey folks! I want you to meet a brand-new person, Mr. and Mrs. ____________________! They are now husband and wife. They are one.
(Groom), you can kiss your bride. (Music as they dance down the aisle.)