This is the sixth speech in the wedding ceremony of Ruby & Miranda. See the Sequence introduction for more info. The speech was given by Miranda.

Oliver descends from podium.

Brienne: Ruby and Miranda have been part of this community and shared these values with us for a long time. The purpose of this ceremony is to declare an even stronger bond between the two of them: a partnership. I call upon Miranda to remind us what partnership means.

Miranda ascends podium.


The nearby star-forming region around the star R Coronae Australis.

Miranda commences speech.

What is a marriage? Fundamentally, when two people choose to join forces together, to support and care for each other. In fact, a marriage is a special case of a whole class of situations where humans choose to band together. When two people do this, we call it a partnership. When many people do, we call it a community. We are a social species, a species that forms pair-bonds and alliances and teams. In some sense, this is what we are for. For many people, perhaps most people, the bonds they form with others fill a deep need–for security, comfort, safety, or many other things. The types of unions we know of are myriad. Families. Friendships. But a partnership of two, based on love, might be one of the purest examples–two people held together not by shared genes, not by convenience, not by politics, but by choice.

Why is partnership so valuable? Two people might have the same values; they might care about working hard, or being kind to others, or growing stronger and learning constantly. They might share the same vision of an ideal world. They might have spent years staring at the world’s darkness, the parts that were furthest from their ideals, banging their head against the unsolved problems, and chosen goals–and those might be the same goals. If two people are trying to accomplish the same things with their lives, it makes sense to do it together. 

Why does it make sense to do it together? There are benefits more concrete and direct than the emotional needs met. Skills and personalities complement each other. In a team, whether of two people or of a dozen, division of labor and each person’s comparative advantage can split seemingly insurmountable problems into workable pieces. Two people can each love their work, and be grateful to the other, willing to do the “nasty parts.” Two people can support each other, each being a light for the other during their hardest and most frightening times. They can hold one another accountable, nudging each other back onto the hard projects, the ones that are most tempting to avoid. They can make each other’s lives simpler and easier, leaving more time for the important things. In the past, humans hunted together, because they couldn’t afford not to–the game was too large and dangerous for a single hunter to take down. In the past, humans raised children together, in a world too harsh to raise a child alone. In the present… A nurse and a doctor, their roles written and defined and learned in professional programs, fight together for a patient’s life. Scientists work together to study the world and write papers about it. A CEO works with an assistant as competent and skilled as he is, but in different areas. 

And there are other benefits of partnership. Not just the immediate, object-level ability to do more, faster, together, but the bonus to growth. Someone who works alone can commit to long-term self-improvement, of course–can set personal goals, can push their limits, can resolve to turn their flaws into strengths. But how much easier does this become, and how much more becomes possible, when two people do this together? When a friend can see someone’s strengths and flaws more clearly than they can see themselves? Two people can help change each other’s minds, and realize that their assumptions are in fact assumptions and not simply facts about the world. To know someone else’s mind as well as your own, to take joy in their progress and learning, to push each other forwards towards new heights… This is what is possible. 

This is why we join together. Because humans are pair-bonding animals, and to be loved and cared for is one of our deepest needs. Because we see the same values reflected in each other, and share the same goals and desires and vision for the future. Because together we will accomplish more. Because together, we can help one another to become stronger. We can work together joyfully. This is what a partnership is worth. 

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