Summer comes along with a slew of events. From swimming at the beach to family fun, there’s also another fixture: weddings. This spring, summer and fall are popular seasons for getting married. And if you’re planning to attend a wedding this year, there’s a good chance you’ll hear some Christian wedding vows.
Biblical marriage vows are important to the Christian couple uttering them, but they also serve as a wonderful opportunity for married people in the audience to engage in self-reflection as they better live out the vows they too, once made.
So, let’s explore some Christian wedding vows and some traditional marriage vows. These examples offer guidance, hope and love for couples whether they have long been married or are preparing to walk down the aisle:
Are There Marriage Vows in the Bible?
It might be shocking to some to discover that there are no specific wedding vows in the Bible. Those looking for marriage vows in the Bible can certainly find inspiration from scriptures that speak to the importance of marriage — but traditional Christian wedding vows won’t be found word-for-word in the scriptures.
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her." Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” - Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)
“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." - Mark 10:9 (KJV)
Christian Wedding Vows: Traditional Marriage Vows
Now, let’s take a look at some traditional Christian wedding vows. Again, while there are no marriage vows in the Bible, but there are basic principles of love, devotion and care that come from scripture and that should guide a marriage.
H3: Christian Wedding Vows: Lutheran
Brides.com provides traditional Christian wedding vows that are often said by Lutherans. These particular Christian wedding vows focus on the promise a wife and husband make to one another, they discuss forgiveness and it’s a pledge to work together in life and under God:
I, ______ , take you, to be my (wife/husband), and these things I promise you: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you better to understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and worst of what is to come, and as long as we live.
Marriage Vows Based on the Bible: Husband & Wife
Bible.org also provides a number of potential biblical marriage vows. The following Christian wedding vows are a bit different for the husband and wife, but both carry powerful biblical meaning. While not direct wedding vows from the Bible, these vows do invoke Genesis, among other scriptural themes:
HUSBAND: (Bride’s name), we read in Genesis, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife," and in Proverbs "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing." He has ordained that the husband be the head of the wife. He instructs me, as the one who will be your husband, to love you as Christ loves the Church. It is my desire and delight to follow this scriptural teaching. With all my heart, I make this pledge to you.
WIFE: (Groom’s name), the Lord instructs me as the one who will be your wife to submit to you as unto Him. Our Father created woman to be man's helper. It is my desire and delight to follow this scriptural teaching. With all my heart I make this pledge to you.
Protestant Wedding Vows
Here’s another potential option for Christians (via Brides.com). These traditional marriage vows open “in the name of God” and are relatively simple, pledging to cherish the other person until death do the couple part:
In the name of God, I, (groom/bride's name), take you, (groom/bride's name), to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.
Traditional Christian Wedding Vows: Episcopal
One can also look to The Church of England for examples of religious wedding vows. Traditional Christian wedding vows for the denomination, like other examples given, invoke God. In the derivative seen below, you’ll notice that the biblical marriage vows are made “in the presence of God” and “according to God’s holy law.”
I, (name), take you, (name), to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law. In the presence of God I make this vow.
Christian Wedding Vows for the Bride and Groom
There are some other wonderful Christian wedding vows that were assembled by Jack Wellman. Here are biblical marriage vows for a man and woman:
Minister (to Groom): Will you have this woman as your lawfully wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health; for richer and for poorer, forsaking all others, and keep yourself only to her, so long as you both shall live?
Groom: I do.
Minister (to Bride): Will you have this man as your lawfully wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor, and keep him, in sickness and in health; for richer and for poorer, forsaking all others, and keep yourself only to him, so long as you both shall live?
Bride: I do.
All of these vows offer reminders of the importance of marriage. These Christian wedding vows — whether they are traditional marriage vows or more contemporary examples — offer food for thought for both couples considering matrimony and those who have long been wedded.