In doing so, we bring together four people into a new family: me and her, plus our two boys - who are just a few weeks apart in age, so I've started calling them the "step-twins."
We're a little bit of an unconventional family, because we share custody with our boys' other respective parents, so they have other family members who love them, and they need come and go. I joked that we're a family of yo-yos: each of us has other commitments, so we leave from time to time, but our heartstrings are tied together and our yo-yos always come back eventually. (Sometimes we may have to roll up the string by hand, but we do come back!)
In case you missed it, here are some of the special vows we wrote for the ceremony:
Declaration of Consent
___, will you have ___ to be your wife/husband, and will you pledge yourself to her/him in all love, honor, faith and tenderness? To live with her/him, cherish her/him, support her/him, comfort her/him, care for her/him and protect her/him according to the ordinance of God in the holy bond of marriage?
Question to the Boys
___ and ___, what your Mom [said to ___] and your Dad [said to ___] just said to each other affects you too, doesn’t it? They have come here today to make a promise to each other and to God to love each other. And a big part of loving each other is to love both of you and to build a strong, happy and supportive family for both of you to grow up in.
When you leave this church today, you will each have gained a new step-parent and a new step-brother. Your new family members do not replace anyone else, but rather add to the love that surrounds you. And as a family, you will all share that responsibility to love one another and support one another.
___, ___, ___ and ___, will the four of you pledge to be a fair and loving and supportive family?
___, I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to love and cherish you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.
___, this ring is a symbol of my love for you. Let it be a reminder that I will always be a faithful partner to you and a devoted, loving member of our family. With all that I am and all that I have, I give it to you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.