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 comradeship and mutual understanding have flowered in romance. Today, ___________ and __________ 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 corner 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.