Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mark and Jill

The marriage of

Mark to Jill

Saturday 20th January 2007

Order of Service

Mark and Jill to greet guests as they arrive. (4:30pm)

Welcome and introduction of John Hutchinson.

My name is Marcus Holt and apart from being a taxi driver, my day job is as the chaplain of Busselton SHS. While that gives some idea of why I’m performing this wedding ceremony, the real reason is that Jill and I are old friends, having gone to school together at Carine. It’s an honour to be able to marry her and Mark today. Thank you all for coming.

This is a very special day. All weddings are special but when it’s yours it can become one of the greatest days of your life.

In honour of this special day and our long friendship I arranged a couple of extra things to make it memorable, firstly there was a parade through the streets of Busselton this afternoon with hundreds of people lining the streets,(The Busselton Festival Street Parade) and secondly, I’ve organised a special light show tonight courtesy of Comet McNaught in the south western sky just after sunset. Please accept these as my gifts to you!

Marcus: (to the audience)

To you, the family and friends of Mark and Jill, as you bear witness to this marriage, will you promise to do all in your power to uphold and care for these two in their life together?

Audience: We will

Wedding message: Marcus Holt
See Below

Exchange of marriage vows:


Mark, will you take Jill to be your wife so you can openly share your life together?

Will you give her the honour due to her as your wife and promise to love, protect and support her through all of life’s celebrations and challenges for as long as you both shall live?

Mark: I will


Jill, will you take Mark to be your husband so you can openly share your life together? Will you give him the honour due to him as your husband and promise to love, protect and support him through all of life’s celebrations and challenges for as long as you both shall live?

Jill: I will


Marcus: Please join hands and repeat after me


I, Mark, take you, Jill,

to be my wife and partner from this day forward.

I give you my hand and my heart.

I will be yours in times of sickness and health,

in failure and triumph.

I promise to love and respect you,

care for you and laugh with you

and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.


I, Jill, take you, Mark,

to be to be my husband and partner from this day forward.

I give you my hand and my heart.

I will be yours in times of sickness and health,

in failure and triumph.

I promise to love and respect you,

care for you and laugh with you

and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

Marcus: intro to ring ceremony. (Rings presented by nephews of Mark and Jill)

It is traditional for husbands and wives to exchange rings on their wedding day. Rings are symbolic in a number of ways. They are made of precious metal representing the high value and purity of marriage; are circular, representing eternal things, and mirror one another signifying that both partners have equal responsibility in ensuring a successful marriage. They are intended to be worn at all times, as a sign to the world that the wearer belongs to another, is committed to their partner, and, as a reminder to the wearer, of the promises they have made; to fidelity, to honour and to love.

Mark: Jill, I give you this ring as a seal of my promise

and as a symbol of my love.

Jill: Mark, I give you this ring as a seal of my promise

and as a symbol of my love.

Declaration of Marriage: John

By the authority of the laws of Australia and in the sight of these witnesses, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

Marcus: You may now kiss.

Signing of the register: Music: Nick Cave Into my Arms

Conclusion: by Marcus, including a prayer of blessing.

Presentation: Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present, Mr and Mrs Haydock.

Recessional: Music: Sail Away, David Gray

Message for Mark and Jill's Wedding

There are weddings and there is marriage. Let’s not confuse them. Weddings are big events, there are all sorts of details to organise, dresses and suits and flowers and guest lists and food and drink and cars and photos and politics and presents and so on and so on. Getting to the altar can come as a big relief after all the effort involved in getting here. Weddings can seem like fairytales with the heroes riding off into a golden sunset and living happily ever after, end of story.

Let me share a couple of little secrets with you.

Weddings are the easy part.

And, happily ever after is as rare as a comet blazing a trail across the night sky.

Weddings last a day.

Honeymoons might last a couple of weeks.

But marriages are meant to last a lifetime.

Did you spot the difference?

Marriage is one of the most profound and important institutions in all of human life.

And the reason it is so important is because like a comet, it has it’s origins in the heavens.

When God started life and created the first man and woman, he did it for a reason, so that they would be companions, friends, helpers for each other, lovers, parents, joined as one flesh, life partners.

God put a seal upon the act of marriage that carries his blessing, and his hopes.

It takes a lot of work to organise a successful wedding.

It takes a life time of work to build a successful marriage. Good marriages are no accident.

They don’t just happen. Sure some people are more compatible than others, better suited to living their lives together, yet even they don’t just sail through it without challenge or conflict, and for lesser mortals like me it is a veritable minefield of difficulty.

So, what advice would I give to the two of you as you enter into this commitment of your lives to one another?

I speak as a 20 year veteran who has been wounded in battle and is not certain I’ll have the strength required to last the distance. The first thing I’d say is neither of you should expect to get out of this alive! By that I mean, you should understand that marriage is meant to be for life, that the only way out is death! When you make your vows in a moment, the last line says, “for as long as we both shall live”. They don’t say, “for as long as it feels good” or “for as long as I want until I’m bored or have had enough or have found someone better”. Marriage is meant to last a lifetime.

We all know the reality is that more than 50% of marriages don’t last. Lots of people opt out.

The divorce rate is getting higher all the time, and many people don’t even get married any more.

Here’s something to contemplate: I suggest that 99% of people standing at the altar as you are now believe they will stay married for life, that this is the right one for them and the honeymoon and in love experience will carry them through.

Sadly, it doesn’t work out that way.

The big question is why?

And what can be done to prevent becoming another statistic?

I don’t have all the answers and I can’t make any promises, but I can offer these suggestions.


Commitment to one another and to your marriage, commitment that you won’t give up, that you’ll keep working on it and looking for ways to make it work. Commitment to one another at the exclusion of all others. Commitment to forgive. Unless you are in the tiny minority, you are going to have arguments and there will be times when one or both of you does or says something that hurts the other. At that moment you can either build scar tissue or apply healing treatment. If you forgive one another, laying aside blame and condemnation and retribution and the need to win the argument, as opposed to preserving your marriage, it will grow stronger and closer and more secure. If you hold onto your hurts and bring them out again next time conflict arises you’ll build up so much scar tissue that you’ll end up unable to feel, unable to respond to intimacy.

While I don’t know Jill that well, I have known her for a long time and there are a few things I have observed over that time. I know she is committed and I know that she has courage. When we were at high school together something happened to Jill that could have been devastating. Jill became pregnant. It was a shock to all of us and amazing to see skinny little Jill getting bigger as baby Rebecca grew inside her. Why do I say she has commitment and courage? Because I think most of us would not have made the decision she made. At 17 it would have been so much more convenient to not have a child. But Jill faced the consequences of her actions and accepted responsibility for the life she had helped create and went ahead and had a baby at a time when most kids are just that, still kids. It took commitment to have a child and courage to face up to the undoubted criticism and rumours that came with it. It took courage to be a young single mum, to raise a child, to be a parent, the biggest responsibility any person can ever have. Jill did it, she succeeded. I’m sure there were plenty of struggles and tears along the way but Rebecca stands here today as living testimony to Jill’s commitment and courage. I don’t know much of Mark’s background, whether he fell pregnant as a teenager for instance, but I can tell him this, if he is willing to show the same commitment and courage as his wife-to-be then they are well on the way to a successful marriage. I don’t say these things to accuse or embarrass Jill, I say them to applaud her, to honour her for the things she has done and the way she has dealt with the challenges life has dealt her. Jill, you’ve shown you have the strength and will to handle tough circumstances. Approach your marriage to Mark with that same attitude and you’ll be ok.

Marriage requires communication. Communication is a buzzword. We all know it. There are courses and books to help us improve our communication. We all tend to believe we’re good at it. While some people are better communicators than others, the reality is that there are specific communication skills that we can learn and practise in order to be better at it.

I’m not going to give a lecture on Communication 101, I’m just going to tell you one thing so I hope you’re listening: I hope you’re listening! That’s it, I hope you’re listening.

The myth is that good communicators are good talkers. The reality is that good communicators are good listeners. They take the time to listen, to tune in, to actively seek to understand what the other person is saying. When you stop talking and trying to get your point across and start listening to your partner, how they feel, what they are thinking, what their hopes and fears are you begin to really know them as a person. When that happens and you are less worried about pushing your point of view and more concerned with hearing and understanding you will have broken through a barrier that will open up doors of opportunity for intimacy, growth and love.

Whenever I’ve been involved in a communication skills workshop and done listening exercises aimed at helping people understand the importance and impact of listening I have received a consistent response to the question, “How does it feel to be listened to?”

“It feels good, I feel important, I feel like the listener cares and understands, I feel valued, I feel loved.”

Mark, the challenge for this one is more in your court. You have one basic handicap in life. You’re a man. As such, you’re not naturally wired for listening. It will probably take more of an effort for you. But I give you this guarantee; if you make the effort to truly listen to Jill you will be richly rewarded.

Finally, I want to say this about marriage and I speak from my personal experience. It can be challenging, exciting, difficult, joyful, annoying, fulfilling, infuriating, wonderful, exasperating, and fun.

Let’s face it, trying to live successfully with another person, learning to deal with one another’s foibles and habits, putting up with their weaknesses and fears and coping with their different moods and energies, dreams and desires is a full time job. I can tell you that but for God I would not have survived this long. While capable of good things, I’m inconsistent and fallible. It’s only with the help of God that I have the grace and mercy required to make it work. I rely on him and look to him for the help and strength I need when I can’t cope on my own. Whether you are a believer or not, God wants your marriage to be good, he wants it to last, he wants to bless it and to see it last the distance. Don’t be afraid to ask for his help, he’s more than willing to give it.

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