Becoming a Blessed Couple
The purpose of human life is to embody and reflect God’s love. The channel for this love into our lives is our family. Throughout history, our ancestors’ purpose was to create an ideal family, fulfilling the Three Great Blessings (Genesis 1:28). However, their misuse of love brought about the fall of humankind, and separated us from God’s original love and lineage. True Parents, standing on a historical foundation of victory, have restored the mistakes made by our first human ancestors and gained the authority to engraft all humankind into the original lineage of God. Receiving the Marriage Blessing from True Parents is the starting point through which we can establish marriages and families that embody God’s original love.
For those who are first-generation participants*, the process to attend the Marriage Blessing Ceremony and become a Blessed Couple consists of the following five steps.
1. The Holy Wine Ceremony
As a result of the Human Fall, our families have been separated from the love and life that our Heavenly Parent intended. A tradition of false love has been inherited from generation to generation. In the Holy Wine Ceremony we transition spiritually from this fallen lineage and tradition to that of God and True Parents.
This ceremony restores the order of God’s original love, cleansing us of the original sin. As Jesus offered bread and wine, saying, “This is my body and blood,” the Holy Wine represents God’s original lineage through True Parents. In this ceremony True Parents give the wine to the woman first, who then shares it with her future husband, as a symbolic way of restoring the process of the Fall. True Parents’ ultimate desire is that all of humanity share in this communion, renewing our own families and reconnecting ourselves to the one family of humanity.
2. The Blessing Ceremony
The Holy Marriage Blessing traditionally is officiated by the Reverend and Mrs.Sun Myung Moon in their capacity as True Parents, or by an officiating couple representing them. The officiators and their attendants cleanse the couples spiritually by sprinkling them with holy water, which signifies their rebirth into God’s lineage as a blessed couple, leaving past sins behind.The couples pledge to fulfill God’s ideal of creation as an eternal husband and wife. They promise to establish a loving family, maintain fidelity and to raise their children to remain pure until marriage and faithful in marriage. They also determine to love all people of the world as our Heavenly Parent does.The officiators extend their arms and pray for the couples, claiming them as renewed sons and daughters within the realm of God’s original, eternal Blessing. Then True Parents proclaim the completion of the Blessing in front of God.
3. The Chastening Ceremony
The betrayal of the Fall initiated a history of resentment between men and women. We all have experienced, directly or indirectly, the pain of misused love, as have our ancestors. This simple ceremony provides an opportunity for each couple to indemnify any personal sexual past and the historical abuse of each gender by the other. Each partner strikes the other three times upon the buttocks to repent for and resolve the history of sexual immorality and the abuse of our bodies. This is a symbolic ceremony, and any emotional, verbal or physical abuse within the couple is a violation of the Blessing vows and is not acceptable. Completing this ceremony opens the door to our Heavenly Parent’s forgiveness and grace. It is conducted shortly after the Blessing Ceremony as the foundation for the next step.
4. The Forty-Day Separation Period
The number 40 is the biblical period for separating from sin, and holy people of many faiths traditionally have carried out forty days of fasting, prayer and spiritual cleansing. In this tradition, abstaining from sexual intimacy during the first forty days of marriage is meant to separate the newly Blessed Couple from the history of self-centered love between men and women.
It can also serve as a time to heal a painful personal sexual past.The newly Blessed Couple offer their married life to God first and focus upon developing the inner aspects of their relationship through love, trust, commitment and spiritual intimacy. For married couples who are renewing their marriage through the Blessing, this period offers them the opportunity to restart their conjugal relationship with God at the center.
5. Three-Day Ceremony of Renewal
The Three-Day Ceremony has profound significance. You can obtain the detailed instructions for this ceremony from your pastor during the separation period.
Through this final ceremony Blessed Couples begin their conjugal life by reversing what was lost through the Fall by our original ancestors.The couple begin by cleansing their bodies with the Holy Wine that links them to God’s lineage. Then they invite God into their intimate love relationship with a prayer of offering. Through symbolic ceremonial steps, each partner gives spiritual rebirth to their spouse as an original man and woman. With God’s blessing and presence, their conjugal life can develop into one of total freedom in which they can love each other in joyful spiritual and physical oneness.
The Three-Day Ceremony makes salvation a physical reality by renewing the union of husband and wife and, through it, re-establishing the original ideal of love. Thus the Blessing becomes the substantial foundation for the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
This Introduction to the Marriage Blessing video discusses the significance and eternal value of the Marriage Blessing.
By former director of the BFM, Rev. Phillip Schanker.