Is a marriage mission statement the vow alternative for you?

Guest post by Djeri
Is a marriage mission statement the vow alternative for you -- as seen on @offbeatbride
Custom Watercolor Ketubah from Aaron Birk

While I adore the myriad of heartfelt, cute, humorous, serious, and geeky wedding vows I've seen all over Offbeat Bride, promises of specific behavior didn't quite fit the relationship philosophies held by my partner and I. Eventually we decided to write a mission statement for our marriage and expand that into something more poetic in lieu of vows. We wanted something that allowed room for the dynamic changes that naturally happen with individuals and with relationships, something broad and philosophical. We wanted a marriage mission statement.

We saw our wedding as a rite-of-passage, an initiation into marriage. We see our relationship as a partnership in life, much like a business partnership but with more cuddles and warm fuzzies. This was a chance to dedicate our relationship to a particular mission and purpose. We talked about what our relationship was about, what it meant to us, what we got out of it, and what was important to us. We discussed our concerns, our ideals, and our shared values.

This is a useful practice even if you're also using more standard vows.

This is a useful practice even if you're also using more standard vows. A relationship is a partnership, and a statement of purpose can reinforce the sense of the relationship as something collaborative and co-created, a joint adventure.

Questions to ask for your marriage mission statement

What do we do? This is the core goal and purpose. What is a central focus of your relationship? What do you want to work on together as a team?

How do we do it? What are the elements that support and sustain your goal? What are the methods you use to work towards our goals?

Whom do we do it for? This is a standard “mission statement” building question, and it may seem a little odd for a relationship — it's yourselves, obviously, right? But some might be focusing on family and children, or a joint project, or their community. Maybe your mission is for multiple people.

What value are we bringing? What is the value of the relationship and the mission? Does it focus solely on the people in the relationship or does it expand outward from them?

Marriage Mission Statement Example

Our mission statement is “growth through stability and support, faring-forth and exploration, communication and connection.” It's for ourselves and to a lesser extent our community. The value we bring is that as we grow into ourselves, we serve to aid the growth of our community and those we come in contact with, rippling outward from there.

But how to say it in the ceremony? We didn't want to do the whole thing in unison, and we didn't want to do a call-and-response. We wanted to alternate lines, but it was important to ensure we each stated a commitment to the whole mission statement. We wanted something poetic enough for a ceremony, and ritualized to fit our Pagan faiths and ceremonial magick practices.

Here it is:

Djeri: I stand here by my Will, a whole person with my own identity, path, and goals, and now I intersect my path with yours.

Nacht: I stand here by my Will, complete in myself, a traveller on my own path, and now I intersect my path with yours.

Djeri: I seek growth. Long ago I dedicated myself first and foremost to self-knowledge and self-growth. I've learned much about what is necessary for growth in years of study and struggle.

Nacht: I am here as someone seeking to grow. For decades now I have dedicated myself to the realization of the Higher Self and have learned much about what is necessary for growth through years of struggle and study.

Djeri: Support is the foundation of growth. Let me provide support to you. Let you provide support to me. Let us each support ourselves and one another in interdependence and love. Let this marriage be a safe container for healing and growth.
Nacht: Growth is unstable, and is more certainly accomplished with a stable root. Let us balance one another, providing support through the unbalanced times.

Djeri: Growth requires faring-forth. Let us fare forth from each other. We will learn together and from one another, and our adventures––shared and separate––shall inspire new growth.

Nacht: Growth stems from exploration. Let us explore the world and our Selves. Through these explorations we will learn the ways of Creation.

Djeri: Communication directs growth. Let me speak my heart and mind to you. Let you speak your mind and heart to me. Let us spin our stories together. May our twined threads guide our path forward.

Nacht: Growth is meaningless without connection. Growth without connection is conceit. May we connect each other to the world and the world to one another.

Djeri: I dedicate myself again to self-knowledge and growth. I dedicate this marriage to growth, and shall seek to uphold the principles of support, exploration, and communication that are necessary for us both to thrive.

Nacht: I again dedicate myself to the realization of the Higher Self. I dedicate this marriage to awakening to ourselves and in doing so awakening the very world.

Both: By my Will, your Will, our Will, so mote it be.

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