When my husband and I got married, we went back and forth for a while about how we wanted to say our vows. It wasn't just about what we wanted to say, but how we wanted to communicate physically and visually what we were saying. There are a lot of options out there and we couldn't get passed the humor of any of them.
There was the unity candle. Two lights are now one. It's a touching and poignant moment in many weddings. Of course, all our stupid little minds could think was, "Yeah, but then, *Puff* it blows out." Not an option.
Next there was the blending of two sands. After messes made making childhood sand art, this was just beyond taking seriously for the two of us. We also kept coming back to the phrase stratified layers. When you pour two colors of sand together they don't really blend, they make layers much like the layers of the earth. Always together, but never the same. Nope. Out.
Can you tell how into metaphors we are?
Finally, we came across the practice--and an ancient one at that-- of using an Oathing Stone. The Oathing Stone is an old Scottish tradition where the bride and groom place their hands upon a stone while saying their wedding vows. It was thought to be the best way to express your solemn promise in physical form as it casts your vow in stone. Taken from the ancient Celtic custom of setting an oath in stone it was very clear to us that this was right for our wedding.
For us, this had a two fold meaning. As Christians, we related the stone to God who is called the Rock many times throughout the Bible. Reference is often made to God as the Rock, Jacob lays his head upon the Rock when he dreams of wrestling with the angel, Moses strikes the Rock in anger which brings forth water, and in the new testament Jesus tells of the wise man building his house upon the Rock. Yes, a rock is firm foundation, but because God is referred to as the Rock, this foundation is the firmest--it is God.
The other important meaning it held to us was that of unchanging, firm, permanence. To each have our hands resting on the rock as we said our vows, we showed in as permanent a way as we could, how firmly we promised our devotion to one another.
Moses was angry at the rock and struck it. In our marriage, we do get angry, not only at one another, but at God and our own beliefs. Still, our union is a firm one in which forgiveness is an integral part. We have built our lives upon each other and a firm foundation.
Happy Valentine's Day!
**What did I write last year for Valentine's Day? I wrote about John Donne here.