I have seen a very cool new trend in wedding ceremonies. For years, the unity candle was the traditional choice for a symbol of the new union. Then came the unity sand, where 2 colors of sand were blended in a container. My issue with that was always about the way the sand was poured. It seemed to me that instead of neatly pouring the sand in an artful and decorative way, the sand should have been poured simultaneously and fully blended to represent the blending of 2 lives. As one minister joked at a ceremony, if the new couple ever wanted a divorce, they would need to separate all the sand back into the original containers before they could file. Clever.
I have seen variations on the unity sand using red and white wine that the couple blends and drinks together, or water from rivers in different parts of the country poured together. I have even seen soil brought from the parent’s homes used to plant a tree by the new couple.
The newest trend is by far the most meaningful and practical, especially to anyone who has been married, witnessing it. It involves a bottle of wine, a solid box, and 2 letters. The new couple places a bottle of wine in the box, they each include a letter written to the other stating how they met, what drew them to each other, their hopes for the marriage…a truly heartfelt love letter, then they seal the box.
As they do this, the minister explains that the wine and the letters are for the future. If the couple comes to a time when they feel things are hopeless. When they have nothing more to say and feel that the marriage is in danger of ending, they are to open the box, open the wine and pour 2 glasses, then each take the letter addressed to them and go into separate rooms and read the letter as they drink the wine.
Ideally, the combination of the wine, separate rooms to cool off in, and reading a letter written with love from the spouse you are fighting with, should help you to remember why you got married in the first place. I would take it one step further and at the wedding, include not only a letter addressed to my spouse, but also a copy of that letter for myself to remind myself how I felt that day. Sometimes in a rough patch, that can be the most difficult: remembering when you were happy and why.
If, the couple reaches their 25th anniversary and the box is unopened, then they are to open it on the anniversary and enjoy it.
I really like this new symbol. I believe it something that can truly help a couple work through the difficult times that invariably come in the marriage. So many people don’t realize that marriages are work and while you love your spouse, you might not always like him or her. A wedding should be more than a homily and vows. It should set the tone for the marriage. It should be a solid stepping stone into a new life together.