The following is a way you can travel through time and “witness” our wedding day as it was back then. It was a perfect afternoon. The air was rich with autumnal scents while friends that I’ve come to love so dearly attended. My sperm donor, now dead and gone, burped and farted while talking over the entire ceremony. Despite his drinking all the booze we had for the reception, the day was perfect. Enjoy!
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the marriage of Benjamin Israel Stotler and Marilyn Martell. Today we have gathered in this place of natural beauty to be joyful, in celebration of the relationship of Benjamin and Marilyn. May the spirit which is in the blue sky, in the blowing wind, in the flowing waters, and in the scent of the Earth–enter your bodies, fill your hearts, and bless your lives.
Benjamin and Marilyn have, at long last, found that special “someone” to love and trust with heart, mind, and soul. They have found that someone special to come home to – after a long search. They have found someone to support them and comfort them in times of trial. They also know they have good reason to be happy together and we rejoice with them in their union.
Marriage is a supreme sharing of experience, and an adventure in the most intimate of human relationships. It is the joyous union of two people whose friendship and mutual understanding have flowered in romance. Today Benjamin and Marilyn proclaim their love and commitment to the world, and we gather here to rejoice, with and for them, in the new life they now undertake together. The joy we feel now is a solemn joy, because the act of marriage has many consequences, both social and personal. Marriage requires “love,” a word we often use with vagueness and sentimentality. We may assume that love is some rare and mystical event, when in fact it is our natural state of being.
So what do we mean by love? When we love, we see things other people do not see. We see beneath the surface, to the qualities, which make our beloved special and unique. To see with loving eyes, is to know inner beauty. And to be loved is to be seen, and known, as we are known to no other. One, who loves us, gives us a unique gift: a piece of ourselves, but a piece that only they could give us. We, who love, can look at each other’s life and say, “I touched his life,” or, “I touched her life,” just as an artist might say, “I touched this canvas.” “Those brushstrokes in the comer of this magnificent mural, those are mine. I was a part of this life, and it is a part of me.”
Marriage is to belong to each other through a unique and diverse collaboration, like two threads crossing in different directions, yet weaving one tapestry together. The secret of love and marriage is similar to that of religion itself. It is the emergence of the larger self. It is the finding of one’s life by losing it. Such is the privilege of husband and wife – to be each himself, herself and yet another; to face the world strong, with the courage of two. To make this relationship work, therefore, takes more than love. It takes trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. It takes dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And it takes faith, to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey.
The true art of married life is in this an inner spiritual journey. It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two endowments, which diminishes neither, but enhances both.
Benjamin, you may offer your vows and the ring that symbolizes them to Marilyn now:
BENJAMIN: What have I to give to you, Marilyn? The promise to take you as my only love from this day forward, to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own. Take this ring and be my wife from this day forward.
Marilyn, you may offer your vows and the ring that symbolizes them to Benjamin now:
MARILYN: I used to be afraid of falling in love, of giving my heart away. How could I trust a man to love me, to give to me all I wanted to give to him? Benjamin, when I met you, I realized how much we could share together. You have renewed my life. You have blessed me with hope. You have opened my heart and my love again to the infinite possibilities of our life together. Today we stand together in front of our family, friends, and our loved ones; I join my life to yours without fear or trepidation. Come what may, the Heavens will always guide me back home to you. Take this ring and be my husband from this day forward.
You are now taking into your care and keeping the happiness of the one person in the entire world whom you love best. You are adding to your life not only the affection of each other, but also the companionship and blessing of a deep trust as well. You are agreeing to share strength, responsibilities and to share love and respect. If this is your commitment, then say:
I welcome you into my life as the companion of my days and nights.
If this is your commitment, you may now seal your vows with a kiss.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you, the new and improved: Mr. and Mrs. Stotler!