photo by Perry Harmon

Our daughter got married Friday night. It was a beautiful wedding (and reception) thanks to the help of family and friends (and the amazing Cyndy). We really like (and are impressed with) our new son-in-law. He came to visit us last February (not the first time we’d met) and went to breakfast with me, showed me the engagement ring he had bought, and asked me if he could propose to our daughter on Valentine’s Day. I was impressed. Since he was with us for the weekend, all of our daughter’s younger sisters got to see the ring before she did! Everybody sat around the telephone on Valentine’s Day waiting for the phone to ring with the CALL from our daughter.

I performed the ceremony (I’ve been ordained since 2000), and used the Anglican Prayer Book Service, with only a few minor edits. The liturgy is beautiful. It does an excellent job of presenting the biblical foundation for marriage and sets the proper solemn tone. I was struck by the fact that there are really three sets of promises that the couple make to each other. The first is called the “Consent” and comes at the beginning of the service. The bride and groom are each asked, “Will you, N., have this woman/man to be your wife/husbandā€¦” The second is the “Marriage Vows” in the traditional formula of “I, N., take you, N. to be my lawful wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.” The third set of promises come with the “Exchange of Rings,” and includes the phrase “with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you.” Each set of promises adds to and enriches all that has come before. As intended, the service caused me to reflect on my own vows to Cyndy, spoken 31 years ago this month, and renewed and strengthened at the wedding of our daughter this past Friday night.

photo by Perry Harmon

I learned two other things this past week. One: Marrying a daughter is different from marrying a son. (can you say, “emotional roller coaster?” me, not her!) and Two: I am Steve Martin.

– Rob Shearer
Director, Schaeffer Study Center
Publisher, Greenleaf Press