The exchange of marriage vows instantly changes your status from separate to conjoined – a fact that is realised in your hearts long before this moment. The pledges made publicly are just the formal marking of inner peace and fulfilment. The pledges that you make to each other are that you will do all you can to prevent the power of this moment from changing:
Recently a couple I married wanted me to elicit this commitment from them as they stood before their witnesses, together :
“ Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, joy and equanimity?”
“ Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other? To take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision for each other’s potential and inner beauty and to radiate this love outwards?”
“ Do you pledge continuously to strive to remember your own Being, as well as the true nature of all living things? To maintain the awareness that all things are temporary, and to remain optimistic that that you can achieve your greatest potential and lasting happiness?”
This excerpt from Edith Aynsley’s “ Marriage Lines” follows well from these questions:
“I love and respect you, not only for what you are to me,
not only for what you will give to me, but for what you will give
The world is our home,
Humankind our family.
We shall possess not each other,
For possession is destruction.
I promise you only to be myself and to help you to be yourself.
To reach our real selves we must grow, develop, change.
I pray I may never use you to inflate my own ego
but encourage you to nurture all that is best in you
for the sake of Humanity.”