Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A non-religious marriage speech

I'm honoured to speak at this wedding of these two wonderful people. Before I toast the bride and groom, I want to address them and briefly remind them of the values that they have decided to live by in this partnership. I hope that they will cherish and celebrate these values for the rest of their lives together.

Emphasise love, not duty
Marriage is a partnership, not a hierarchy. Be careful not to fully mould your relationship according to the expectations of religion, your respective families, or society. Although these institutions can be a source of great help, how you define your roles or pursue happiness together should be decided by the two of you and nobody else.

Enjoy sex
The primary purpose of sex is not to have children, or to fulfil some obligation or duty, but simply to have fun. Experiment and explore with each other as much as you like; bring out and excite the passions that form the basis of erotic love.

Keep your promises

But the most important thing in your relationship, dare I say even more important than the concept of monogamy, is trust and honesty.

With regards to trust: protect the marital boundaries that you have negotiated as a couple, by keeping the promises and agreements that you have made to each other.

Remove the power of secrecy
You might find it difficult to be honest with each other. For example, as you live out your married life, it will often happen you will be attracted to other people, and you might even fall in love with someone else. Despite what most believe, being attracted to others outside your marriage is not a reflection of an unhealthy marriage, but rather a reflection of the fact that you are wonderfully human.

But what may be sign of an unhealthy marriage is if you don't tell each other about such feelings and emotions.
You will not achieve anything by keeping secrets from each other on issues that have the potential to affect your relationship. If you both strive towards the value of honesty in your marriage, you will remove the power of secrecy and be able to work through problems as a team.

Change is good
Finally, there should be no absolute rules defining your marriage. As you both change as individuals, so your marriage should change also. In time, you will both feel the need to renegotiate your boundaries and adapt your roles. This is okay. Just remember to do it together.

With these values in mind, will everyone please stand and raise your glasses in a toast. . .

11 comments:

CyberKitten said...

Was that from a wedding you've been to or did you write it for a wedding you're due to speak at?

sunnyskeptic said...

We're getting ready to have a secular wedding with a humanist celebrant. I am excited that we have such total freedom over the ceremony and what it will say. We're individuals, and I don't understand just flowing with traditional vows (or traditional weddings) when there's nothing behind the tradition for you personally... :)

Steve said...

Practical, wise advice - I hope you got to share these remarks at a friend's wedding.

Kevin Parry said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Hi Cyberkitten

The 'speech' isn't for a future wedding, nor is it something I heard. Rather, I kind of wrote this up when I pondered the question: what would some of the values of a non-religous marriage be?

All the weddings I've been to have had a religious element to them, and some of them have emphasised values such as the Biblical roles of husband and wife, and the fact that the marriage can only work if the third person of God is involved, etc, etc,. I'm not saying these values are wrong, but I wondered what would be emphasised at a non-religious wedding.

Thanks for the question. I'm sure other readers were wondering the same thing, and I didn't make it clear in the post.

All the best
Kevin

CyberKitten said...

It'd be a cool speech to give I think..... Maybe something to consider for your next wedding invite?

Lorena said...

Yes, very good advice.

But I disagree with telling the person that we find someone else attractive. We can easily hurt the other person deeply. They would have to own a very high self-esteem and be extremely mature to take it well.

I say keep your fantasies to yourself.

Kevin Parry said...

Hi Lorena

I agree with you: a person has to be quite secure to easily accept the fact that their partner is attracted to someone else. I believe that the problem is not being attracted to other people, it's about dealing with your own insecurities as an individual, and accepting the fact that you have no ownership at all over your partner, even if you are married to him/her.

PhreeThot said...

Sorry, but if sex has a "purpose", it is procreation. Happily, the way that nature ensures we stay in practice is by making it lots of fun.

Man Without a Faith said...

Wow. Well put.

Any chance you want to speak at my wedding?

I'm kidding, of course, but I'm going to ensure that whoever does, they read this first.

CyberKitten said...

PT said: Sorry, but if sex has a "purpose", it is procreation.

Actually I think the purpose of sex is enhanced pair bonding which ensures that both parents care for the (expected) child during its extended dependency.

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