Declaration of Purpose
We have come together before the face of God to join (name) and (name) in marriage. We seek to honor the will of God for marriage, the concern of the Christian church for its well-being, and the interest of the state in the orderly development of society.

Invocation
God, our Father, we praise you for making and redeeming us to live together in love. We thank you for the love and trust which bring (name) and (name) to this their marriage day. Favor them with the honor of your presence at their wedding. Unite them by your Spirit so that together they may reflect the love of Christ for his church. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Parting from Parents [optional]
Today (name) and (name) leave their parents to establish a new home.
Do you, Mr. and Mrs. [parents of the groom] , give your blessing to them and promise them your continued love and support?
They answer: We give them our blessing, and so promise, God helping us.
Do you, Mr. and Mrs. [parents of the bride] , give your blessing to them and promise them your continued love and support?
They answer: We give them our blessing, and so promise, God helping us.

Institution and Meaning of Marriage
In marriage, as instituted by God, a man and a woman covenant to live together in a lifelong, exclusive partnership of love and fidelity (Gen. 2:18;Matt. 19:5-6). The apostle Paul sees the union of husband and wife as a symbol of the union between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:31-32). If marriage is to be pleasing in the sight of God, those who enter into this covenant of life must share a common commitment to the Lord of life.

In putting his blessing on a marriage, God intended that it would provide:

a context within which husband and wife can help and comfort each other and find companionship;
a setting within which we may give loving and tender expression to the desires God gave us;
a secure environment within which children may be born and taught to know and serve the Lord; and
a structure that enriches society and contributes to its orderly function.

When these purposes are prayerfully pursued in union with Christ, the kingdom of God is advanced and the blessedness of husband and wife assured.

In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul admonishes all Christians to develop a mutual respect and love when he says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." When he applies this to the marriage relationship, he instructs the wife to be subject to her husband as the church is subject to Christ, its head. He also instructs the husband to pattern his love for his wife after the example of Christ's love for his body, the church. Paul says, "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord," and "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." In marriage this requires that the husband and wife serve each other by providing the love, nurture, and faith which will enrich their lives together and build a Christ-centered home.

Our sinful and selfish tendency to break down what God has built threatens marriage with tensions, agony, and even with broken bonds. People who marry in the Lord, however, may trust that he will lead them and graciously provide for their needs when they follow the biblical pattern for love. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Cor. 13:4-8a).

Declaration of Intent
(name) and (name), now that you have heard God's message concerning marriage, do you agree with it and do you commit yourselves to each other in accordance with it?
Each answers: I do.

Exchange of Vows
In the presence of God and before these people I now invite you to exchange your vows.

Groom: I take you, (name), to be my wife and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful husband, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and give myself up for you, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.

Bride: I take you, (name), to be my husband, and I promise before God and all who are present here to be your loving and faithful wife, as long as our lives shall last. I will love you and submit to you, as the church loves and submits to Christ. I will serve you with tenderness and respect, and encourage you to develop the gifts that God has given you.

Exchange of Rings [optional]
Groom: (name), I give you this ring as a symbol of our covenant in Christ.

Bride: (name), I give you this ring as a symbol of our covenant in Christ.

Declaration of Marriage
As a minister of the church of Christ and by the authority which the state has vested in me, I now pronounce you, (name) and (name), husband and wife, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matt. 19:6). Promise of Support optional]

Do you who are present here promise to pray for (name) and (name) and support them as times and circumstances may require?

People: We do, God helping us.

Pastor's Message

Prayer Following a Marriage Ceremony

Father in heaven,
give today your blessing
upon the marriage of (name) and (name).
We thank you for the vows
they have spoken
and the love in which
they are now united.
Keep them faithful and strong
in every trial.
Sustain their joy and affection
for many years.
We pray, Lord Jesus,
that you will be acknowledged
head of their home
and master of their lives.
Equip them, Holy Spirit,
with patient endurance,
sacrificial service, unfailing courtesy,
endless trust, and lasting love.
Grant that their home
will often be a place of laughter;
and in times of difficulty or trouble,
a haven of healing and forgiveness.
May they and their children
give constant praise to you,
eternal Father, who with the Son and the Spirit
is God, blessed and exalted forever. Amen.   

This form, adopted by the Synod of 1979, includes an (optional) concluding prayer adopted in 1981. The vows were revised by the Synod of 1986.