5. Marriage

5. Marriage




¶ The form presented here for the marriage service is preferred; however, any other form in harmony with the Word of God and Reformed practice is permitted. Weddings are under the jurisdiction of the Spiritual Council.

¶ At the time and place appointed for the solemnization of matrimony, the persons to be married shall take their places before the minister, the man having the woman at his left, and all present reverently standing.

¶ The Minister shall say:

DEARLY BELOVED: We are gathered here in the presence of God to join together this man (or, N______) and this woman (or, N_______) in holy matrimony.

¶ The minister shall say, if appropriate:

Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

Answer: I do.

¶ The minister shall ask the congregation to be seated and shall continue, saying:

Marriage was instituted by God Himself in the time of man’s innocency and uprightness. The Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Then God created woman of man’s own substance and brought her to the man. Our Lord Jesus Christ honored marriage by His presence at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. And He confirmed it as a divine ordinance and a union not be severed when He declared, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Furthermore, the apostle Paul set forth the sacred and exalted nature of marriage when he likened it to the spiritual union which exists between Christ and His Church.

The purpose of marriage is the enrichment of the lives of those who enter into this union, the propagation of the race, and the extension of Christ’s Church to the glory of the covenant God.

Let us reverently hear what the Holy Scriptures teach concerning the duty of husbands to their wives and of wives to their husbands:

“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 . . . . So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies.”

“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.”

¶ At this point the sermon may be preached, after which the minister shall say:

These two persons are come to be joined in this holy state of marriage. If anyone can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, let him now declare it, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

I require and charge you both that if either of you know any reason that you may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, you confess it now.

PRAYER:

Most holy and most merciful Father, at once the God of nature and of grace, Creator, Preserver and Redeemer of mankind, fill these Your servants N______ and N______ with a sense of the solemnity of the vows they are about to make. May they look to You for Your assistance, and enter into these sacred obligations in humble dependence upon Your enabling grace. Grant this, O Father, with the forgiveness of our sins, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

EXCHANGE OF VOWS:

¶ (The couple may face each other, joining hands): Then the minister shall say to the man:

N_________, will you have this woman (or, N_________) to be your wedded wife, to live with her after God’s commandments in the holy state of marriage? And will you love her, honor and cherish her, and keep yourself only for her, so long as you both shall live?

¶ The man shall answer:

I will.

N_________, will you have this man (or, N_________) to be your wedded husband, to live with him after God’s commandments in the holy state of marriage? And will you love him, cherish and obey him, and keep yourself only for him, so long as you both shall live?

¶ The woman shall answer:

I will.

¶ Then the man may say, or repeat after the minister:

I, N_________, take you, N_________, to be my wedded wife, and I promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful husband in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live. ¶ Then the woman may say, or repeat after the minister:

I, N_________, take you, N_________, to be my wedded husband, and I promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be your loving and faithful wife in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, as long as we both shall live.

RING CEREMONY:

¶ Then the man shall put the ring on the third finger of the woman’s left hand, and shall say after the minister:

This ring I give you as a symbol and pledge of constant faith and abiding love.

¶ Then the woman shall put the ring on the third finger of the man’s left hand, and shall say after the minister:

This ring I give you as a symbol and pledge of constant faith and abiding love.

¶ In the case of a single ring ceremony, the minister shall say to the woman:

Do you, N_________, receive this ring as a token of your pledge to keep this covenant and perform these vows?

¶ The woman shall answer:

I do.

¶ The minister shall now offer a suitable prayer.

By virtue of the authority committed to me by the Church of Christ and the law of the State, I now pronounce you, N_________ and N_________, husband and wife in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

¶ The minister shall cause the husband and wife to join their right hands, and he shall say:

“What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

¶ The minister may now say to the couple:

“You may now kiss each other.” BENEDICTION: The Lord our God fill you with His grace, and grant that you may long live together in all godliness and holiness. Amen.

¶ A sermon shall be included, and suitable Christian music and hymns are appropriate parts of the wedding service.
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