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A Senior Marriage Ceremony

Some senior couples have a strong preference to get legally married and decide that is the right choice for themselves. However, sometimes legal marriage can create financial issues for seniors in regards to alimony, pensions, social security, inheritances for children, etc., such that it is better to not actually legalize the partnership. If there are financial considerations that make legal marriage inadvisable, a senior couple can simply have a non-legal joining or commitment ceremony to celebrate their love and the merging of their lives. This ceremony is of course just an example and can be modified to suit a given couple’s unique needs. It is written as a legal marriage but can be adapted for use as a non-legal commitment ceremony.

Family and friends, _______ and _______ wish to thank all of you for being here today as they join their lives. ______ and ______ have come to celebrate their love and make a commitment to cherish and nurture that love in the coming years. Please witness as they proclaim their love and aspirations, and exchange the vows they have written.

In order for all of you to be able to fully appreciate how happy I am to be standing here today, I have to talk a little about the years that led up to this day. I did not know if I would be lucky enough to find love again; it was not an easy journey. I had become accustomed to aloneness, though not so accustomed that I did not feel some pangs of envy when I saw an older couple strolling hand-in-hand. But I had a standard in my head of what I was looking for. That standard prompted me to say no to people that I knew in my heart I could not bond with in the deep, satisfying way that I longed for. I realized I preferred to endure loneliness in my aloneness, than to feel the haunting loneliness of an ill-chosen relationship. I began to wonder if was going to be listed on my monthly credit card bill for the rest of my life. I began to resent the $20.00 a month I paid them, as the years ticked by. It wasn’t like I couldn’t afford the $20.00/month. It was just kind of a monthly notice of failure; failure to find the love I had hoped to find. I read profile after profile. I went on a lot of first dates that did not lead to a second. I had some six month relationships that looked promising at the beginning but turned out to have incompatibilities I knew I could not live with. I learned something from each failure, most of all I began to recognize what I was not looking for. I spent a lot of time rewriting my profile to be a beacon for the kind of person I wanted to meet. Meeting you was a wonderful surprise that has put an end to a very long search.

I likewise, spent some years wondering if I would ever meet a person whose values and goals could possibly mesh with an odd duck like myself. But I really didn’t want to stop being an odd duck; my many quirks were based on some pretty deep seated values. Since my divorce, I said no to some relationship offers that would have required me to lose some important parts of me. I sometimes wondered if I was making a mistake. But somehow I held on to a mantra given to me by an unlikely source: To quote Popeye the sailor man: “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” I longed for a woman who could love me for the qualities I feel proud to possess; though they are often a bit at odds with the status quo. I had a couple one or two year relationships. But in both cases the people seemed to be kind of stuck in bitterness and regret about their pasts. I have forgiven myself for my mistakes, and hold no grudges against anybody else. We all did the best we were capable of at the time; I want to cherish the positive memories, and move on from the painful ones. I did not want to live with someone lost in bitterness and negativity. I finally decided to sign up for, I really did not know what to expect. I went on some dates with a few people over the course of a year. But nobody felt right. Then one day, last year I found the beacon you had put out to the universe. The look in your eyes and the smile in your photo jumped out at me. Unlike most of the short, fairly shallow profiles I had been reading, yours was very long, and expressed some very deep values and philosophies; ones that very much resonated for me. So I contacted you and we had that first phone call. You passed with flying colors. And every day that I have spent with you since, you have likewise passed with flying colors!

______, I am very happy to have you to share this chapter of my life with. These are some of the things I hope to share with you in the years ahead:

-- I want us to be a source of comfort and strength to one another when death touches our lives and we lose a friend or family member.

--I want us to help one another maintain a faith and optimism about humanity when the world goes through one of its dark and challenging times.

-- I want us to help one another heal from the sadness and disappointment of broken dreams, and find the courage to build new dreams and goals.

-- I want us to cook healthy meals together so we can maintain our vitality.

-- I want to take long walks in every season, finding rejuvenation in the beauty and rhythms of nature.

--I want to be great grandparents together including challenging ourselves to appreciate our grandkids’ music so we do not lose touch with the vibrancy of youth.

--Perhaps most importantly, I want us to continually remind one another that there is never a excuse for becoming bored with life and disconnected from the world. To me life is a precious gift, and I want to approach it that way for every additional year that I am lucky enough to be given.

______, I feel so grateful to have found in you a traveling companion for these last decades of my life. When I say traveling companion, I do not mean traveling to physical places. I am so excited to have found someone who is more interesting in traveling to new states of mind rather than simply new places. I treasure the thought of helping one another move to places of greater forgiveness, tranquility, acceptance, and spiritual peace. I have lost my way on these journeys many times in my life, but fortunately, I realized I had taken a wrong turn, and readjusted my course. Now I know I can also count on you to tug on me firmly if you see me wandering off the true paths I aspire to walk on during my remaining years.

In my youth I wanted to move mountains, but that didn’t quite happen. I still think there are mountains to be moved in this world, but I have a better sense of how that is done. Now I am more willing to accept that my role may be to help work to get leaders elected who understand that the mountains must be moved a truckload of dirt at a time! Now that we are retired citizens, I look forward to expressing our citizenship in mundane, but oh so important ways, like door to door canvassing, showing up at city council meetings, donating labor to fund-raising events, etc. Now that we don’t have go to work at a job every day, we can go to work directly for our local communities, our country, and our planet.

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