Religion, Spirituality and Marriage

I was baptized Christian into the Eastern Orthodox church as a teenager. As I have grown older, my beliefs have evolved. While I still respect and adhere to some of its teachings, I no longer consider myself in communion with the Orthodox church.

I can be best described as an agnostic theist. I believe that the complexity and beauty of the universe points to the existence of God, but that it is folly to assume that any human being could deign to understand its will (I also believe that God transcends gender) if such a will even exists. It is my hope – not my belief – that God merely wishes for each of us to be happy. Therefore, I follow the most generally agreed upon commandments of the world’s great religious traditions: love and be kind to one another, don’t lie, kill or steal, provide succor to those in crisis, and be compassionate, to name a few.

If two people were to take these broad “religious” directives and apply them to their marriage as a purely secular institution, how could it possibly fail? Wherever the bride and groom might fall in the spectrum of spirituality – atheists, practicing and pious members of an established religious tradition or somewhere in between – I attempt to appeal to these sensibilities in each ceremony, while respecting their own beliefs.

The corollary is this: if the bride or groom find that they fundamentally disagree with something that the person performing their wedding ceremony has said during that ceremony… that couple has chosen the wrong person to marry them. It is therefore imperative that the bride and groom understand the spiritual stance of the person they wish to bring them together in matrimony.

(I also believe that God transcends gender.)