Recognizing the varied global and cultural contexts regarding marriage, the Church of the Nazarene suggests the following principles:
- Equality between husband and wife
- Covenantal relationship reflecting the covenantal relationship between Christ and His church
- Use of language that is legally and culturally appropriate. This ritual does not eliminate or replace the legal requirements of any country.
The following ceremony is offered as a resource.
At the day and time appointed for the solemnization of matrimony, the persons to be married—having been qualified according to law and by careful counsel and guidance by the minister—standing together, the couple shall face the minister, and the minister shall address the congregation as follows:
Dearly Beloved: We are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together (Name of Groom) and (Name of Bride) in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God in the innocence of Eden, symbolizing the mystical union between Christ and His Church. This holy estate Christ adorned and sanctified with His presence and first miracle that He performed, in Cana of Galilee, and the writer to the Hebrews commended as being honorable among allpeople. It is, therefore, not to be entered into unadvisedly, but reverently, discreetly, and in the fear of God.
Into this holy estate these persons present now come to be joined.
Addressing the couple to be married, the minister shall say:
_________________________ and _________________________, I require and charge you both as you stand in the presence of God, to remember that the commitment to marriage is a commitment to permanence. It is the intent of God that your marriage will be for life, and that only death will separate you.
If the vows you exchange today be kept without violation, and if you seek always to know and do the will of God, your lives will be blessed with His presence, and your home will abide in His peace.
Following the charge the minister shall say unto the man:
_________________________, will you have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, comfort, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her, so long as you both shall live?
Response: I will.
Then shall the minister say unto the woman:
_________________________, will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love, comfort, honor, and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him, so long as you both shall live?
Response: I will.
Then the minister shall ask:
Will you as (parents of the bride and groom, members of the families, and/or members of God’s family) give your blessings to this union?
Response (by parents of the bride and groom, members of the families, and/or members of God’s family): We will.
Facing each other and joining right hands, the couple shall then exchange the following vows:
The man shall repeat after the minister:
I, _________________________, take you, _________________________, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better-for worse, for richer-for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my faith.
The woman shall repeat after the minister:
I, _________________________, take you, _________________________, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better-for worse, for richer-for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my faith.
If desired, a ring ceremony may be inserted at this point. The minister receives the ring from the groomsman and, in turn, passes it to the groom. As he then places it upon the bride’s finger, he shall repeat, after the minister:
This ring I give you as a token of my love and as a pledge of my constant fidelity.
Repeat for double ring ceremony.
The couple then shall kneel as the minister offers the following, or an extemporaneous prayer:
Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life, send Your blessing upon these Your servants, (Name of Groom) and (Name of Bride), whom we now bless in Your name; so they may keep the vow and covenant made between them this hour and may ever remain in love and peace together, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the minister say:
Forasmuch as this man and woman have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and have declared the same by joining of hands, I pronounce that they are husband and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder. Amen.
The minister shall then add this blessing:
God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with His favor look upon you, and fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace. May you so live together in this life that in the world to come you may have life everlasting.
The minister may then conclude with an extemporaneous prayer and/or benediction. (532.7, 533.2, 534.1, 538.19)