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Dear family and friends, we are gathered here today in the sight of God and the Department of the Navy, to witness this exchange of vows, and see the love that these two dedicated, loving people have for one another.
Wilt thou, [Groom], take [Bride] as your dependent, to dwell together in so far as the Department of the Navy will permit? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, via the postal service or over the phone, make sure she knows where the commissary, PX, and church are, and what pier your ship is docked at and your department telephone number (so she won't bother the Messenger of the Watch on the quarterdeck) the day she arrives, wherever you are stationed?"
Wilt thou attempt to tell her more than 24 hours in advance that you will be pulling out for two weeks or more, beginning the next morning? This especially applies to the years you will live in Virginia, California,Washington State, and Florida!
Wilt thou [Bride], take this sailor as thy wedded husband, knowing that he is depending upon you to be the perfect (well almost) Navy wife, running the household as you see fit, taking part in established Navy traditions even if no one can explain them anymore, and being nice to the Captain's wife? (though she may remind you of your new mother-in-law.)
Furthermore, you understand that your life with your husband (little that you may have together) will not be normal, that you may have to explain to your children, not once, but twice, and more often in the same day, that mothers do have husbands, and that children do have daddies, and that the picture of the man on the refrigerator is not the milkman, but the same individual who tucks them in at 2200 hours, long after they are asleep. This sailor is their daddy, who loves them very, very much. Wilt thou love, respect and wait for him, preparing his favorite cookies and pictures of yourself and the kids, so he can remember what you look like? And last but not least,always pick him up at the pier when the ship pulls in (or the day after if he is in the duty section) and put on the outside of your door a "Welcome Home" sign?
I, [Groom],Take thee[Bride], as my independent wife, from 1900 to 0430 hours or as long as allowed by my duty section leader (subject to change without notice), for better or worse, earlier or later, near or far, and I promise to look at the letters you send me, but not until after my watch is over, but before I turn the lights out in my rack. I will also send a letter or e-mail (if I am allowed access to a terminal), if time permits, and if not, to somehow, some way, make the time by sleeping even less than operational tasking permits."
I, [Bride], take thee,[Groom]as my husband, realizing that your comings and goings and 0530 musters are normal (although absurd to me) and part of your life as a sailor. I promise not to be shocked or taken by surprise when you inform me that, although we've just arrived at our new duty station, we will be leaving within the month. Yes, I'll have you as my husband as long as while your are away, my allotment comes through regularly, and that you leave me a current power of attorney and the checkbook at all times. I am a family member and proud of it, dependent upon myself and my resources. Although I miss you when you are away, I know I can handle whatever comes across my path and make you proud.
Now then, let no man or woman put asunder what God and the Department of the Navy have brought together. The Navy hereby issues you this lovely, dedicated, independent woman, knowing that she'll be an asset not only to your marriage, but also to the mission of the United States Navy, which is, as you all know, to remain in a state of "Readiness." By the authority vested in the Bible, elaborated in the regulation and subject to current directives concerning the aspects of marriage in the Navy, you are now a Sailor with a Dependent. Best wishes and good luck.