Tagged: marriage

Our Vows

These are the vows that Sherri and I made to each other during our ceremony yesterday. I thought it would be nice to share them here (you can also read the text of the entire ceremony).

Shared Vows (based on the Five Grave Buddhist Precepts)

In the practice of our marriage, I vow to affirm, cherish and protect the lives of all sentient beings.

In the practice of our marriage, I vow to be generous with my time, energy and material resources and to take only what is freely given.

In the practice of our marriage, I vow to be aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct and to cultivate my responsibility to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society.

In the practice of our marriage, I vow to manifest truth, to cultivate loving speech and deep listening. I will refrain from using words of discord and will make every attempt to resolve conflict, great and small.

In the practice of our marriage, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming.

Sherri’s Vows

I will always remember seeing you on the first day of 2008. It was merely the third time I had seen you in person, but in the bright light of early afternoon I suddenly knew with certainty that my life was about to change in a significant way.

So it did, and here we are today in front of friends and relations. All of us gathered to honor the power of publicly taking vows to love, honor and cherish one another. It has been a mad dash to get to this dazzling finish, complete with unexpected news, arguments, wild passion, laughter, and tears. I’m told this is perfectly ordinary even though it feels to me rather extraordinary.

In addition to the precepts, which I have vowed to make a fundamental part of the practice of my marriage with you, I offer these vows from my heart:

  • I vow to nurture unbridled joy in equal measure with gravitas.
  • I vow to great each day with loving-kindness.
  • I vow to nourish my health so that we may explore many more years together.
  • I vow to create art, write, sing and cultivate playfulness together with you.
  • I vow to admit when I am wrong.
  • I vow to offer you cheer, humor, deep listening, and wise counsel. Whenever needed.
  • I vow to challenge myself and you so we continue to grow fully into who we can be.
  • I vow to read you poetry.

For my birthday last year you gave me a collection of Rumi’s poetry translated by Coleman Barks; an edition I did not have. It had been an amazing day spent celebrating my birthday and you fell asleep early. I stayed awake longer to read poems and enjoy my cake. One poem in particular really caught me; I knew I wanted to say some of the words from it to you at our wedding. Although I feel rather presumptuous playing with Rumi’s words, I do so as an act of love and from a deep honoring of the original poem, “The Self We Share”. These words especially speak to me of you and of this moment when written in this way:

The Prayer of Each

You are the source of my life.
You separate essence from mud.
You honor my soul.
You bring rivers from the mountain springs.
You brighten my eyes.
The wine you offer takes me out of myself into the self we share.

Doing that is religion.

I am a prayer.
You’re the amen.

Christie’s Vows

My dearest Sherri: You are one of the most generous, compassionate and courageous spirits I have ever met. From the beginning, you opened your heart wide to me and while cautious at first, I have learned to take great refuge in your presence.

In addition the precepts we have already shared, I offer a few of my own vows:

Because our life together will not always be easy, I vow to meet challenges in our relationship with a sense of compassion and adventure.

Because our family is but one piece in a very large puzzle. I vow to live a life of service to you, to our marriage and to our community.

Because while love is not scarce, many resources are, I vow to make sure you always have the things you need most such as food, water, shelter and art supplies. I vow to utilize our resources wisely.

Because I want to spend the most amount of time possible with you and grow old together, I vow to care for my body and mind.

Because play is just as important as work, I vow to cultivate playfulness, laughter and lightness in our relationship.

Because what I was hiding, deep inside, you brought out into the light, and even thought it is terrifying at times, I vow to stand bravely in the light of your love.

My dearest Sherri, You are the first person who made me truly feel loved. I look forward to sharing a life of practice with you and I am truly honored that you are making this commitment with me here today, in front of our friends and family.

Exchange of Rings

May our marriage be nurturing, intimate and supportive throughout the years. May our marriage be a refuge to us as we cultivate kindness and compassion toward all sentient beings. I give you this ring as a symbol of my vows and commitment to you with body, speech and mind. In this life, in every situation, in wealth or poverty, in health or sickness, in happiness or difficulty.

A Note on Prop 8

Note: This post comes from a comment I made on Facebook in response to the a comment on one of my status updates.

In browsing online for reactions to the Prop 8 decision, I’ve noticed several complaints by folks who voted for Prop 8 about having their vote overturned. They seem to think that they had their rights trampled on.

But, no where in the Constitution does it say that the majority has a right to deny rights to the minority.

We do not have a direct democracy. We have a representative democracy on which our founders put in place several checks and balances in order to ensure that no one component of our democracy became too abusive in its power. We have Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary and the People. Each can influence and check the other. This is not a liberal idea. This is a fundamental part of the Constitution.

Furthermore, Judge Walker is a conservative, Republican judge. His decision is based in a conservative reading of the constitution. It was not a liberal, “activist” decision, as I’m sure many will want to label it.

Our Constitution put into place checks so that no one majority would be able to exert tyranny over another minority. That is was Judge Walker corrected yesterday. The system worked as it should. This is not a case of the government taking too much power and intruding in to people’s lives. In fact, it is the opposite.

From the NYTimes[1]:

The judge easily dismissed the idea that discrimination is permissible if a majority of voters approve it; the referendum’s outcome was “irrelevant,” he said, quoting a 1943 case, because “fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote.”

Removing discrimination regarding the State privileges conferred by “marriage” does not, according to any rational argument, threaten those who want to believe that marriage should only exist between a man and a women. You are still free to believe that, to attend a church that abides by that ideal and to teach that to your children. But these are moralistic determinations and, as Judge Walker said in his decision: “Moral disapproval alone, is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and women.”

Moreover, “marriage” is not a fixed idea. It has been changing throughout history and will continue to change as society and people do. Marriage, as we know it now, evolved largely during the advent of agriculture as a way for men to ensure paternity and guarantee the succession of their property through inheritance. Women used to become the property of their husbands after they became married. I doubt “most people” would still want this definition of marriage.

More from the NYTimes:

One of Judge Walker’s strongest points was that traditional notions of marriage can no longer be used to justify discrimination, just as gender roles in opposite-sex marriage have changed dramatically over the decades. All marriages are now unions of equals, he wrote, and there is no reason to restrict that equality to straight couples. The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage “exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage,” he wrote. “That time has passed.”

Someone commented to me on Facebook that: “Most people are more concerned about the maintaining the definition of marriage then preventing people from having equal rights.”

Now, I’m not sure how that person knows what motivated “most people” to vote for Prop 8. Let’s say it is true that they were most concerned with preserving the definition of marriage, as they see it. I get that change is scary. But fear of change does not justify denying rights to others. Enacting Prop 8 and other discriminatory laws does real damage to real people and it’s not okay. Voting simply based on one’s own fears and interests without regard for the effect on others, in my opinion, is not responsible citizenship.

I don’t hate those who vote for laws like Prop 8, but I am disappointed in those decisions. They were either made out of fear, or an outright moralistic determination that there is something wrong with LGBT couples. As I said above, neither is a valid reason for denying rights to others.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/opinion/05thu1.html?_r=1