Last summer (July 17, 2021) we enjoyed celebrating the wedding of my daughter, Jessica, to John Holland with a beautiful ceremony officiated by my dear friend, Joyce.

This summer (June 25, 2022) I was so honored to be the officiant for the wedding of Travis and Sam, one of Jessica’s college friends. It was such a joy to walk with them in creating their ceremony and so humbling to be a part of their special day with family and dear friends.

It was a spiritual experience for me to consider again, after 37 years of marriage, what it means to make a marriage commitment—to promise “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death does us part” (Sam and Travis’ vows to each other) and to walk together on life’s journey.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the famous French author of The Little Prince, wrote in Wind, Sand and Stars:

“Love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.”

I shared these words during the wedding ceremony:

“Walking together, in the same direction, is what your marriage commitment will require. The primary reason we commit to relationships, to promise stability, is to be there for the other. In a consumer-driven society, we are encouraged to buy new, better, more but the ancient monastic practice of stability encourages us to stay put. Nathan Oates writes, “Stability doesn’t mean you’re not trying to improve or that you don’t work on the problems. Just the opposite. It means you’re going to work hard, and you expect problems. This isn’t a fairy tale. This is learning how to love.”

Promising to stay, to walk together in all of life’s joys and challenges, is the vow of stability. One’s relationship can grow deep roots, in great love, by understanding that the other will always be there for you.

Selfies with the bride and groom!

In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, we are reminded:Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”

The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised, hoped, and dreamed? Well, I meant it all, every word.” When you love someone, you do not love them all the time in exactly the same way. That is impossible. We forget the ebb and flow of life and of love and of relationships. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity. But as we commit to stability with each other, we know the only stability is in change, in growth, and in freedom. Therefore, what you promise today must be renewed and reaffirmed tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come.”

During the lighting of the unity candle, the song “Walk With Me” was played. Promising stability in marriage, a Benedictine value, is promising to walk through both darkness and light together.

We’re all in this thing together
We’re gonna make it through
If you walk with me
I’ll walk with you

Be there for me
I’ll be there for you
When we’re runnin’ out of hope
When we don’t know what to do

Like a candle in the darkness
Shinin’ bright and true
Be there for me
I’ll be there for you

Everything
Is gonna be alright

Walk with me
I’ll walk with you
I know the rain of today
Will bring tomorrow’s bloom

When we can’t see where we’re going
What the world is coming to
You walk with me
I’ll walk with you

My heart is full having shared this journey with Sam and Travis. May their light shine as they walk together!