Charlie and I married June 18, 1988 in a Friends (Quaker) Church. The ceremony was very simple with Scripture readings, a period of silence, and our vows. We had been through nearly a year of once weekly meetings with our minister in marriage preparation. Since each of us had a failed marriage behind us, the preparation for this one was intensive. No stone was left unturned as we discussed finances, children, childhood experiences and previous marriages. The theory was that when a conflict arose in our marriage we would have already talked about the topic with another person. This proved true and I credit that time with the success of our marriage. Although we had yet to live together, we had anticipated much of the adjustment to come.
Our vows were set, alleviating us of the responsibility of coming up with some. The first portion was a question directed by the minister to each of us in turn:”___wilt thou have this woman/man to be thy wife/husband, and wilt thou pledge thy faith to him/her, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her/him, and cherish her/him, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage?” To which we each replied “I will.” The second we addressed to each other, a phrase at a time: ” I___take you, ___, to be my wedded wife/husband, and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband/wife, in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.”
A daunting litany of promises spoken before one hundred friends and family. In the Quaker tradition the community actually affirms the marriage with a certificate signed by all in attendance. So a large paper was signed by us and many others and we went downstairs for cake and punch.
What would all those commitments look like over the next 31 years? I will be writing about it in the next posts.