I heard this prayer at a wedding over the weekend and I thought it was absolutely lovely! This prayer shows (I think) the depth of Puritan thinking and meditation that makes their work so edifying:
“Oh, God of love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Yours was the plan and only with You can we work it out with joy. You have said that “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helpmate for him.” Now our joys are doubled since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other. Our burdens are now halved, when we share them, we divide the load.
Dear Father, we would ask that you would bless the [groom]. Bless him as a provider of nourishment and raiment and sustain him in all the expectations and pressures of his daily battles. May the [groom’s] strength be [the bride’s] protection, his character her boast and her pride, and may [the groom] so live that [the bride] will find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs.
And dear heavenly Father, we would ask you to bless [the bride]. Give her tenderness that will make her great, a deep sense of understanding and great faith in You. Give her inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.
Teach [the groom] and [the bride] that marriage is not living merely for each other, it is two uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek the kingdom of God and Your righteousness and the other things shall certainly be added unto them. Loving You best, they shall love each other the more, and faithful unto You, faithful unto each other they will be. May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to You. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s points of comeliness and strength, and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Now make such assignments to [the groom] and [the bride] on the scroll of Your will as will bless them and develop their characters as they walk together.
Give them a little something to forgive every day that they may grow in the grace of longsuffering. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them human, enough failures to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough success to make them sure they walk with You. May they never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “out of all this world, you have chosen me.”
When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then as now, hand in hand still thanking God for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully together until at last one shall lay the other into the arms of Jesus. This we ask through Jesus Christ, the great Lover of our souls.