Sunday, March 10, 2013

You Are Now Husband and Husband


As both an ordained Presbyterian pastor who has officiated numerous weddings, and a person who has attended many other weddings, I speak and listen carefully to the vows and phrases uttered, hoping that the married couple listen attentively to the promises they make on their wedding day. On the actual wedding day, a couple is usually oblivious to the promises made to one another before God and those assembled around them. That’s why video or aural recordings are helpful reminders for a couple to remember what they said at their wedding as they settle into their marriage.
In the wedding ceremony, after each person has shared their vows, there is a moment in which a couple is presented to all who are assembled. In a more traditional wedding, the minister may state the following: “By the authority vested in me by this State I now pronounce you man and wife (my emphasis) and what God hath joined together, let no man nor woman put asunder.”
“Man and wife” is a traditional statement, reflecting a more-or-less bygone era when a “wife” was seen as the object or property of the man, making her a second-class citizen.

Now in this contemporary age, the usual pronouncement is a bit more egalitarian, with “husband and wife” being presented to the couple, though the first named is most often a “husband” followed by “wife.” This designation is also reflected in marriage licenses that ask for the name of the “husband” and the name of the “wife,” though there are more LGBTQ people challenging these categories of being a couple, even in states where marriage equality is but a dream for the future.

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