GETTING MARRIED IN A UNITARIAN CEREMONY
places great emphasis on individual freedom of belief. We are
concerned that any Unitarian ceremony not violate in any way the values of
those participating. We encourage couples being married to plan their own
ceremonies. This information is intended to help you in that process.
The circumstances under which persons are contemplating marriage vary
considerably. A couple may each have been living with their own families
until now, or may have been living some time entirely on their own. They may
have been living together for a period of time before deciding to marry.
They may have been through the disillusionment that accompany separation and
divorce, or a previous happy marriage that may have been ended by the death
of a partner. They may be excercising the new right of same-gender
couples to be legally married in British Columbia. Whatever the
circumstances, entering upon a marriage relationship is a serious step
and is treated so in our denomination.
It is normally a social occasion; in all times and cultures it has been a
time for the gathering of families and clans, though in this age of mobility
people are far more scattered than once was the case. Wherever possible it
is desirable that a couple exchange their vows amid the good wishes of
family and friends.
A Unitarian ceremony, based as it is upon the personal integrity of the
participants rather than upon institutional forms, may provide a
suitable meeting place for people coming from different religions,
ethical or cultural traditions; or who are embarking on the new
phenomenon of same-sex legal marriage. We try to be inclusive rather
Where differences can pose a hazard to the success of
the marriage as is sometimes the case, this fact needs to be faced
frankly and openly, but the hazards should not be magnified out of their
true proportions. All living is risk-taking, and no marriage can have
it's success guaranteed in advance. A close relationship like that of
marriage needs to be continually reinforced by those who have entered
into it, with the support of others. Some
books on marriage
are recommended on this site, but where couples find difficulties in their
relationships beyond their ability to resolve for themselves, they
should not be ashamed to seek outside help while the problems are still
manageable. Too often it is not until the situation is at or beyond the
point of no return that counselling is sought.
Naturally it is our hope that the couple getting married in a Unitarian
ceremony will wish to find a place within the fellowship of a Unitarian
congregation (Unitarian Universalist in the States), where they can find
the community support which all of us need in cultivating deep and
meaningful relationships in life. But it is entirely contrary to our
principles to put pressure on anyone to become a member.