Author Emily Dietle
My focus is on state-church separation & social issues. I'm an avid reader, and feel that one of our most valuable tools is the free movement of information and ideas. | @emilyhasbooks
Laura & Rob, members of the Houston Atheists, chose to renew their wedding vows this past Saturday afternoon. The beautiful secular ceremony took place at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston and included a dedication to their son.
This celebration of their commitment to each other included realistic vows that recognized the reality of relationships, that they are full of surprises, and that even when you hurt one another, that is not the intent. I was pleased to see the couple in non-traditional wedding attire. There was no veil, no giving away of the bride, and certainly no mention of ’till death do us part’- they focused instead on ‘for as long as the love shall last’.
Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a no person is property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has the blessing of we gathered here today. Laura, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?
A secular wedding or vow renewal digs deeper into the meaning of the relationship, it honors the beauty of the couple’s love of one another, without tying it to superstition or unrealistic goals. Laura and Rob vow to cherish one another and to raise their son to be the best he can, and the ‘congregation’ also vowed their support.
Each child born renews our hope for a good life for all people. Each child holds within him or herself the potential transformation of the world. Each person here who shares in a child’s growing, who nurtures, guides and challenges, protects and applauds, contributes to the way that potential will unfold. We set aside time this afternoon to affirm our commitment to one of these small newcomers in our midst.
And your family and friends, the gathered village helping raise their child, the circle of love and faith helping strengthen their home, do you all pledge yourselves to the continued support of them in their lives as a family? If so please answer we do.
The reception that followed in Channing Hall had a scrumptious array of vegetables and sweets, and the cake was a ‘sacreligious’ Flying Spaghetti Monster. On their fifth wedding anniversary, having grown as individuals and as a couple, Laura & Rob wanted to make promises that would reflect what is true for them- and they achieved this!
Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
Will you together share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
Will you both dream together to create new realities and hopes?
Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?
Will you both seek to never give cause to break that honor?
It is my hope that all people who enter into marriage or choose to renew their vows, do so with the full knowledge of the challenges they will face, and embrace their vows with the same outlook as Laura and Rob have. Also, it is my hope that all people will have the right to legally marry one another, no matter their gender.