|Liturgy by TLW|
Weddings: An Order for a Blended Family
by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
I'm sure that you encounter as many second marriages and blended families as I do. Some years ago, while I was in Valparaiso, Indiana, I developed a short Order for a Blended Family that can be used within the Marriage Service that helps to make the joining of mixed families intentional. I commend it to your use.
ORDER FOR A BLENDED FAMILY
To be used when one or both of the marriage partners has children. The Order is inserted after Marriage Blessing and before the closing prayers of intercession.
1. Bride/Groom addresses the spouse with children:
Name , I honor you for your love and devotion to your child/ren, Child/ren's Name(s) . I will assist you in your care and nurture of them in whatever way I can. I will seek to grow in love toward them as I grow in love toward you. Addressing the spouse's child/ren: Name(s), I promise to love and care for you.
2. Child/ren of bride/groom may address the new step-parent: Name , I promise to love/respect and care for you.
Repeat #1 and #2 above if both partners have children. If one partner has NO children, go on to #3 below; otherwise omit #3 and continue with #4 below.
3. Bride/Groom to spouse who has NO children: Name , I am grateful for your willingness to join with me and accept the challenge of child-rearing above the covenant which we make to each other for our marriage. I promise to support you in your care and nurture of my child/ren, even as I have promised to support you in all other ways.
4. A sign of affection may be exchanged by the couple and the children at the end of the Order. The service continues with the prayers, rubric #8. The children may return to their places or remain with the couple, as desired.
The children of a marriage partner may be involved in the wedding procession as desired, or they may be seated with other members of the family.
The children are called forward after the Marriage Blessing. They should stand facing the newly-married couple.
At #2 above, a choice of words should be made by the children, or all words may be used. The word "love" may be a bit strong for some. Allow the children to say what they feel. Do not force feelings upon them. Other variations in this response may be appropriate.
The service continues with the closing prayers of intercession.
The Assisting Minister may wish to add a prayer petition relating to the blending of families.