Every year I am blessed with the opportunity to perform weddings as an officiant. With the recent changes in the legal definition of marriage and more and more couples redefining what marriage and commitment mean to them I have had more exciting offers to join beautiful non-traditional families for these beautiful occasions.
However, so many of my fabulous feminist partners have difficulty coming up with readings that really work for them. So many parts of this tradition are linked to beliefs and rules that just don't fit every egalitarian loving couple. I mean the institution itself isn't really based in a social justice framework. But isn't reclaiming the ritual on our own terms an activist statement?
I digress....In order to help you get started planning your big event(s), I want to share some of the quotes and readings couples have used in my ceremonies to give you ideas for your own. Congratulations on wanting to commit to a shared life!
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For a translation
I study the conversation
Like a map
'cause I know there is strength
In the differences between us
And I know there is comfort
Where we overlap"
"But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.
To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected." -Madeline L’Engle
"You have to learn to love yourself before you can love me or accept my loving." -Audre Lorde
"Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever." -Audre Lorde
"Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape." -Bell Hooks
"Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment...'dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love -- which is to transform us.' Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling." -Bell Hooks
"Love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect and trust." -Bell Hooks
"To return to love, to get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships, more than any other, will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved." -Bell Hooks
"Love is an action, never simply a feeling." -Bell Hooks
"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." -Louisa May Alcott
Please feel free to share the vows from your feminist ceremony in the comments below. I would love to read more!
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