SPECIAL READINGS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY

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SPECIAL READINGS TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY One way to personalize your wedding or include others in your ceremony is to select a reading that is meaningful to you. Incorporating a reading or two into your ceremony is a wonderful way to honor a friend or relative who would not otherwise be able to participate in your ceremony. Here is a list of readings to consider including in your ceremony. We have included some of the actual excerpts below, as well.

RELIGIOUS   

  1. Colossians 3:12-14

  2. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

  3. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  4. Ephesians

  5. Genesis 1:26-31

  6. Genesis 2:18-24

  7.  Jeremiah 31:31-34

  8. Mark 10:6-9

  9. Perfect Love ~ Author Unknown

  10. Psalm 128:1-4

  11. Seven Blessings, The ~ From “The New Jewish Wedding” by Anita Diamant

  12. The Jerusalem Bible, Song of Songs – 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a

  13. The Prayer ~ By St. Francis of Assisi

  14. Traditional Irish Blessing

  15. Wedding Prayer ~ By Robert Louis Stevenson

POETRY   

  1. A New Beginning ~ By Gwen Frostic

  2. Bridal Song ~ By John Ford

  3. Dove Poem

  4. Excerpts from 100 Love Sonnets ~ By Pablo Neruda

  5. Fidelity ~ By D.H. Lawrence

  6. Hope is the Thing With Feathers ~ Emily Dickinson

  7. Hindu Marriage Poem

  8. How Do I Love Thee? ~ By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  9. If Thou Must Love Me ~ By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  10. In Love Made Visible ~ By Mary Swanson

  11. Love ~ By Roy Croft

  12. Love Lives ~ By John Clare

  13. Love’s Philosophy ~ By Percy Bysshe Shelley

  14. Marriage ~ By Mary Weston Fordham

  15. My Love ~ By Linda Lee Elrod

  16. My True Love ~ By Sir Phillip Sydney

  17. Passionate Shepherd to His Love, The ~ By Christopher Marlowe

  18. She Walks In Beauty ~ By Lord Byron

  19. somewhere i have never travelled ~ By e.e. cummings

  20. Sonnet 18 ~ By William Shakespeare

  21. Sonnet 116 ~ By William Shakespeare

  22. Sonnet CXVI ~ By William Shakespeare

  23. Sonnet LXIX ~ By Pablo Neruda

  24. Sudden Light ~ By Dante Gabriel Rossetti

  25. ‘Til Death Do Us Part ~ By Carol D. Bos

  26. To Althea, from Prison (Last Stanza) ~ By Richard Lovelace

  27. Touched by an Angel ~ By Maya Angelou

  28. True Love ~ Author Unknown

  29. Why Marriage? ~ Author Unknown

OTHER  

  1. A Gift From The Sea (Excerpt) ~ By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

  2. A History of Love ~ By Diane Ackerman

  3. A Marriage ~ By Michael Blumenthal

  4. Apache Marriage Blessing

  5. Art of Marriage, The ~ Author Unknown

  6. Blessing For A Marriage ~ James Dillet Freeman

  7. Bridge Across Forever, The (Excerpt)  ~ Richard Bach

  8. Country of Marriage, The (Excerpt) ~ By Wendell Berry

  9. Eskimo Wedding Song

  10. Excerpts from “A Song For Hiawatha”

  11. Foundations of Marriage ~ By Regina Hill

  12. I Ching (Excerpt)

  13. I Promise ~ By Dorothy Colgan

  14. Letters ~ By Rainer Maria Rilke

  15. Love ~ Author Unknown

  16. Love Is A Great Thing ~ By Thomas a Kempis

  17. Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love ~ Edmund O’Neill

  18. Most Wonderful Of All Things In Life, The ~ By Sir Hugh Walpole

  19. Never Marry But For Love ~ By William Penn

  20. On Love ~ By Thomas a Kempis

  21. On Marriage ~ From The Prophet By Kahlil Gilbran

  22. Prophet, The (Excerpt) ~ By Kahlil Gilbran

  23. Sound of Silence ~ By Raymond J. Baughan

  24. Speak to Us of Love ~ From The Prophet By Kahlil Gilbran

  25. Symposium, The ~ By Plato

  26. Tuesdays With Morrie (Excerpt) ~ By Mitch Albom

  27. The Velveteen Rabbit (Excerpt) ~ By Margery Williams

  28. What Is Love? ~ Author Unknown

  29. What of Marriage? ~ From The Prophet ~ By Kahlil Gilbran

“Sonnet from the Portuguese” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning How do I love thee?Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday’s Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

TITLE UNKNOWN  ~ By Carl Sandburg ~ I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be. I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little. A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall. The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth. Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and therefore I love you. An excerpt from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Another excerpt from “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.

Cherokee Prayer God in heaven above please protect the ones we love.

We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together.

We honor mother-earth – and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons;

We honor fire – and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts;

We honor wind – and ask we sail though life safe and calm as in our father’s arms;

We honor water – to clean and soothe our relationship – that it may never thirsts for love;

With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together.

Amen.

UNTITLED ~ By Christina Rossetti ~ What is the beginning? Love. What the course. Love still. What the goal. The goal is Love. On a happy hill Is there nothing then but Love? Search we sky or earth There is nothing out of Love Hath perpetual worth; All things flag but only Love, All things fail and flee; There is nothing left but Love Worthy you and me.

The Prayer, St. Francis of Assisi Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love;  Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is discord, union; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, Grant that we may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

“My Luve” by Robert Burns O my luve is like a red, red rose, That`s newly sprung in June: O my luve is like the melodie, That`s sweetly played in tune. As fair art thou, my bonie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a` the seas gang dry. Till a` the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi` the sun; And I will luve thee still my dear, While the sands o` life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only luve! And fare thee weel a while! And I will come again, my luve, Tho` it were ten thousand mile

From the “Song of Solomon”, King James Bible version My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over, and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land. The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away

“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses, And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle, Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool Which from our pretty lambs we pull, Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs, And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning; If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me, and be my love.

“Wedding Prayer” by Robert Lewis Stevenson Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank you for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the hope with which we expect the morrow, for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth. Amen

“My True Love” by Sir Phillip SydneyMy true-love hath my heart, and I have his, By just exchange one for the other given: I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss; There never was a bargain better driven. His heart in me keeps me and him in one, My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides; He loves my heart for once it was his own; I cherish his because in me it bides. His heart his wound receivèd from my sight; My heart was wounded with his wounded heart; For as from me on him his hurt did light, So still methought in me his hurt did smart: Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss, My true love hath my heart and I have his.

“Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman Allons! the road is before us! It is safe–I have tried it–my own feet have tried it well–be not detain’d! Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d! Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d! Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher! Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.

Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law; Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

UNTITLED ~ modification from Walt Whitman’s Song of the Open Road~ I do not offer the old smooth prizes, But offer rough new prizes, These are the days that must happen to you: You shall not heap up what is called riches, You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve. However sweet the laid-up stores, However convenient the dwellings, You shall not remain there. However sheltered the port, And however calm the waters, You shall not anchor there. However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you You are permitted to receive it but a little while Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before you, The long brown path before you, leading wherever you choose. Say only to one another: Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love, more precious than money, I give you myself before preaching or law: Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

“Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love’s sake only. Do not say ‘I love her for her smile–her look–her way Of speaking gently,–for a trick of thought That falls in well with mine, and certes brought A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’– For these things in themselves, Beloved, may Be changed, or change for thee,–and love, so wrought, May be unwrought so. Neither love me for Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,– A creature might forget to weep, who bore Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! But love me for love’s sake, that evermore Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

An Irish Wedding Blessing You are the star of each night, You are the brightness of every morning, You are the story of each guest, You are the report of every land. No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank, In field or valley, on mountain or in glen. Neither above, nor below, neither in sea, Nor on shore, in skies above, Nor in the depths. You are the kernel of my heart, You are the face of my sun, You are the harp of my music, You are the crown of my company

“A Dedication to My Wife” by T.S. Eliot To whom I owe the leaping delight That quickens my senses in our wakingtime And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime, The breathing in unison

Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other Who think the same thoughts without need of speech And babble the same speech without need of meaning.

No peevish winter wind shall chill No sullen tropic sun shall wither The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only

But this dedication is for others to read: These are private words addressed to you in public.

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me ye women if you can. I prize thy love more that whole mines of gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. Thy love is such I can no way repay, The heavens reward thee manifold I pray. Then while we live, in love let’s so persever, That when we live no more, we may live ever.

“The Bargain” by Sir Philip Sidney’ My true love hath my heart, and I have his, By just exchange one for another given: I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss, There never was a better bargain driven: My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

His heart in me keeps him and me in one, My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides: He loves my heart, for once it was his own, I cherish his because in me it bides: My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

Scottish Wedding Prayer Lord help us to remember when We first met and the strong love that grew between us. To work that love into practical things so that nothing can divide us. We ask for words both kind and loving and hearts always ready to ask forgiveness as well as to forgive. Dear Lord, we put our marriage into your hands

“The Art Of Marriage” by Anon A good marriage must be created, In marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say I love you at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together and facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is a common search for the good and beautiful. It is not only marrying the right person – It is being the right partner.

Hindu Marriage Poem You have become mine forever. Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours. Hereafter, I cannot live without you. Do not live without me. Let us share the joys. We are word and meaning, unite. You are thought and I am sound. May the nights be honey-sweet for us. May the mornings be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us. May the earth be honey-sweet for us.

Blessing for a Marriage, James Dillet Freeman May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitement marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.

May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

Marriage, Mary Weston Fordham The die is cast, come weal, come woe Two lives are joined together, For better or for worse, the link Which naught but death can sever. The die is cast, come grief, come joy. Come richer, or come poorer, If love but binds the mystic tie, Blest is the bridal hour.

From This Day Forward, Marianne Williamson From this day forward, You shall not walk alone. My heart will be your shelter, And my arms will be your home

These I Can Promise I cannot promise you a life of sunshine; I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold; I cannot promise you an easy pathway That leads away from change or growing old. But I can promise all my heart’s devotion; A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow; A love that’s ever true and ever growing; A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow. Yes, I’ll Marry You.

Never Marry But For Love, William Penn Never marry but for love; but see that thou lovest what is lovely. He that minds a body and not a soul has not the better part of that relationship, and will consequently lack the noblest comfort of a married life. Between a man and his wife nothing ought rule but love. As love ought to bring them together, so it is the best way to keep them well together. A husband and wife that love one another show their children that they should do so too. Others visibly lose their authority in their families by their contempt of one another, and teach their children to be unnatural by their own examples. Let not enjoyment lessen, but augment, affection; it being the basest of passions to like when we have not, what we slight when we possess. Here it is we ought to search out our pleasure, where the field is large and full of variety, and of an enduring nature; sickness, poverty or disgrace being not able to shake it because it is not under the moving influences of worldly contingencies. Nothing can be more entire and without reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented than such a couple, nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them.

Apache Blessing May the sun bring you new energy by day May the moon softly restore you by night, May the rain wash away your worries And the breeze blow new strength into your being, And all the days of your life may you walk Gently through the world and know its beauty.

Eskimo Love Song You are my <husband/wife> My feet shall run because of you My feet shall dance because of you My heart shall beat because of you My eyes see because of you My mind thinks because of you And I shall love because of you.

Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of its Love, Edmund O’Neill Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent or child.Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life. When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Marriage is the Closest Kind of Friendship

Marriage is the closest kind of friendship. Years of traffic wear away the lines Between two souls with similar designs, Ending more in unity than kinship. Separate actors must play separate parts: They must alone be riveted by need. Far beneath that soil a single seed Roots itself, tenacious in their hearts. In love there is a trust beyond the word. Each finds peace in each, as though the light Needed the tranquility of night, Deeper than what silence can be heard.

To Be One With Each Other, George Eliot What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

Love, Laura Hendricks Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weakness. Love is content with the present.| It hopes for the future and it doesn’t brood over the past. It’s the day-in and day-out chronicle of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don’t have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough, so search for it, ask God for it, and share it!

All My Happiness Goes Out to You, Nicholas Gordon All my happiness goes out to you: Pride and pleasure, joy, sweet tears, and love! Reason, hope, and faith together move In harmony to bless all that you do. Let this beginning be the golden dawn At which all dew-drenched nature sings its glory! Nor should the darkness shrouding every story

Dim the blue-eyed beauty of this morn. More of life will come than you can hold: A flood no mortal witness can withstand. Rest, then, within a quiet, gentle hand, Knowing where love is as you grow old.

On Your Wedding Day, as You Trade Vows, Nicholas Gordon On your wedding day, as you trade vows, No ordinary moment hurries by. You partake, as far as time allows, Of something more than time and Earth and sky. Unknowable, invisible, yet there; Resplendent to the heart if not the face; More than both of you, yet less than air; A transcendental act conferring grace. Reason might say, How can this be true? Return then to the heart, for this is love. In making vows, you make one out of two, A mystery beyond what words can prove. Go then as one flesh, one home, one heart. Each still a whole, yet also now a part.

The Vows I Take Will Be Forever, Nicholas Gordon The vows I take will be forever. I’ll love you all my life. There’s no part way, no holding back Once we are man and wife.The choice is made, and now I swim In a far different sea, The shores of which are bright green hills Raised up for you and me.Our love is like a mountainside Awash in lovely flowers: It is our home, our solid rock, Where all bright things are ours.And though of need we often must Spend our days apart, Our love will always be with us, Held within the heart. I feel it now, so strong and free, So part of every breath That it must live – I swear it will! Even after death.

Marriage is the Union of, Nicholas Gordon Marriage is the union of A greater sum than two in love. Relatives are made by vows, Relating endless fields and plows. In bringing families together, A million lives are changed forever. Go then in joy, yourselves to please: Each love shapes many destinies.

The Vows You Have Just Taken, Pledging Love, Nicholas Gordon

The vows you have just taken, pledging love, Mean far more than words can ever mean. May their gentle spirit in you move.May your years fulfill the beauty of The feelings whose expression we’ve just seen, The vows that you have taken, pledging love.And may you always put these vows above The things that make life smaller and more mean. May their gentle spirit in you move.

May your children know the power of These words to shape a world that’s sane and clean, These vows that you have taken, pledging love.

Thank You For Your Friendship and Love, Nicholas Gordon

Thank you for your friendship and your love. However life may turn, this gift will be A mountain that has made my river bend, Nor will it flow the same way to the sea. Knowing you is something I’m made of.

Years will not this part of me remove. One lives for just a brief eternity, Understanding truths that never end.

i carry your heart with me, e.e. cummings i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

The Art Of A Good Marriage, Wilferd Arlan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family. It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

This Day I Married My Best Friend This day I married my best friend …the one I laugh with as we share life’s wondrous zest, as we find new enjoyments and experience all that’s best. …the one I live for because the world seems brighter as our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter. …the one I love with every fiber of my soul. We used to feel vaguely incomplete, now together we are whole.

Today I Married My Best Friend, Rachel Elizabeth Cooper

Today I married my best friend, Our bond complete, it hath no end, We share one soul, we share one heart, A perfect time – a perfect start. With these rings we share together, Love so close to last forever, This special day – two special hearts, Let nothing keep this love apart.

I Promise, Dorothy R. Colgan

I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give. I promise to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interests, desires and needs are no less important than my own. I promise to share with you my time and my attention and to bring joy, strength and imagination to our relationship. I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams. I promise to grow along with you, to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting. I promise to love you in good times and bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how, completely and forever.

Marriage Advice, Jane Wells

Let your love be stronger than your hate and anger. Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break. Believe the best rather than the worst. People have a way of living up or down to your opinion of them. Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship. The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and kindnesses you bestow on your friends. Please hand this down to your children and your children’s children.

THE KEYS TO LOVE, by Robert M. Millay

The key to love is understanding… the ability to comprehend not only the spoken word, but those unspoken gestures, the little things that say so much by themselves.

The key to love is forgiveness… to accept each other’s faults and pardon mistakes, without forgetting – but with remembering what you learn from them.

The key to love is trust… though dark doubts lie in hollowed thoughts, it must shine brightly on with reassuring radiance that suppresses fear with faith.

The key to love is sharing… facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together; both conquering problems – forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving… without thought of return, but with the hope of just a simple smile and by giving in, but never up.

The key to love is respect… realizing that you are two separate people with different ideas; that you don’t belong to each other, but that you belong with each other and share a mutual bond. “Sudden Light” by Dante Rosetti I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell: I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet keen smell, The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before, How long ago I may not know: But just when at that swallow’s soar Your neck turned so, Some veil did fall—I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before? And shall not thus time’s eddying flight Still with our lives our love restore In death’s despite, And day and night yield one delight once more?

An excerpt from Jazz by Toni Morrison It’s nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point. They reach, grown people, for something beyond, way beyond and way, way down underneath tissue. They are remembering while they whisper the carnival dolls they won and the Baltimore boats they never sailed on. The pears they let hang on the limb because if they plucked them, they would be gone from there and who else would see that ripeness if they took it away for themselves? How could anybody passing by see them and imagine for themselves what the flavor would be like? Breathing and murmuring under covers both of them have washed and hung out on the line, in a bed they chose together and kept together nevermind one leg was propped on a 1916 dictionary, and the mattress, curved like a preacher’s palm asking for witnesses in His name’s sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love. They are under the covers because they don’t have to look at themselves anymore; there is no stud’s eye, no chippie glance to undo them. They are inward toward the other, bound and joined by carnival dolls and the steamers that sailed from ports they never saw. That is what is beneath their undercover whispers.

From “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams “What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

From “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L’Engle But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take…If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation…It takes a lifetime to learn another person…When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

From “Gift From The Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.

An excerpt from “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.

From Plato’s Symposium Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

“She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow’d to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impair’d the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o’er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!

“Roads Go Ever Ever On” By J.R.R Tolkien Roads go ever ever on, Over rock and under tree, By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea; Over snow by winter sown, And through the merry flowers of June, Over grass and over stone, And under mountains in the moon. Roads go ever ever on Under cloud and under star, Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar. Eyes that fire and sword have seen And horror in the halls of stone Look at last on meadows green And trees and hills they long have known.

“To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

“A White Rose” by JB O’Reilly The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud With a flush on its petal tips; For the love that is purest and sweetest Has a kiss of desire on the lips

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee. If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can. I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. Thy love is such I can in no way repay; The heavens reward thee manifold I pray. Then while we live, in love lets so persever, That when we live no more, we may live ever.

“Love Is A Great Thing” by Thomas à Kempis Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good. By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.

It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all wordly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down.

Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.

Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.

“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickenson Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity It asked a crumb of me.

From “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” … Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.

“Hope Is The Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity It asked a crumb of me.

“The Good-Morrow” by John Donne I wonder by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved ? were we not weaned till then ? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly ? Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den ? ‘Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be; If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room an everywhere. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone; Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown; Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres Without sharp north, without declining west ? Whatever dies, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or thou and I Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die

“The Promise” by Eileen Rafter:

The sun danced on the snow with a sparkling smile; As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while. Then he turned and said, with a casual air (though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair), “I think I might like to get married to you.”

“Well then,” she said, “there’s a thought. But what if we can’t promise to be all that we ought? Can you promise me, say, that you won’t rage and shout, If I’m late yet again, when we plan to go out, For I know I can’t promise I’ll learn to ignore Dirty socks or damp towels strewn all over the floor.

So if we can’t vow to be all that we should I’m not sure what to do though the idea’s quite good.” But he gently smiled and tilted his head Till his lips met her ear and softly he said “I promise to weave my dreams into your own, that wherever you breathe will be my heart’s home.

I promise that, whether with rags or with gold I am blessed, Your smile is the jewel I will treasure the best. Do you think then, my love, we should marry – do you?” “Yes, she said smiling, “I do.” An excerpt from “The Master Speed” by Robert Frost Two such as you with such a master speed Cannot be parted nor be swept away From one another once you are agreed That life is only life forevermore Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

Two Fragments by Sappho Love holds me captive again and I tremble with bittersweet longing

As a gale on the mountainside bends the oak tree I am rocked by my love

“He Wishes For Cloths of Heaven” by W B Yeats Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

“To a Stranger” by Walt Whitman Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you; You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking (it comes to me, as of a dream). I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you. All is recalled as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured; You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me; I ate with you, and slept with you–your body has become not yours only, nor left my body mine only; You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass–you take of my beard, breast, hands in return; I am not to speak to you–I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone; I am to wait–I do not doubt I am to meet you again; I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

From “Maud” by Lord Alfred Tennyson There has fallen a splendid tear From the passion-flower at the gate. She is coming, my dove, my dear; She is coming, my life, my fate; The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;” And the white rose weeps, “She is late;” The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;” And the lily whispers, “I wait.”

She is coming, my own, my sweet; Were it ever so airy a tread, My heart would hear her and beat, Were it earth in an earthy bed; My dust would hear her and beat, Had I lain for a century dead, Would start and tremble under her feet, And blossom in purple and red.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along. ‘For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!’

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?

And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Ruth 1:16-17 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

I Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I John 4:7-19 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

We love, because He first loved us.

Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: Oh, no! It is an ever-fixed mark. That looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark, whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle’s compass come; love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

An excerpt from “Love’s Labours Lost” But love, first learned in a lady’s eyes, Lives not alone immured in the brain; But, with the motion of all elements, Courses as swift as thought in every power, And gives to every power a double power, Above their functions and their offices. It adds a precious seeing to the eye; A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind; A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound, When the suspicious head of theft is stopp’d: Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible Than are the tender horns of cockl’d snails; Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste: For valour, is not Love a Hercules, Still climbing trees in the Hesperides? Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair: And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. Never durst poet touch a pen to write Until his ink were temper’d with Love’s sighs; O, then his lines would ravish savage ears And plant in tyrants mild humility. From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive: They sparkle still the right Promethean fire; They are the books, the arts, the academes, That show, contain and nourish all the world: Else none at all in ought proves excellent.

“Sonnet 29” When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d, Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate; For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings

Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds. Or bends with the remover to remove: O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark, That looks on tempests and is not shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom, If this be error, and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. From “Hamlet” Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.

From “The Irrational Season”, Madeleine L’Engle Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling

Desiderata: Max Erhmann Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Love Is Enough, William Morris Love is enough: though the World be a-waning, And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining, Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder, Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass’d over, Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter; The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.

Irish Wedding Blessing May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand. May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children’s children. May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward. May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home And may the hand of a friend always be near. May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you, May pure be the joys that surround you, May true be the hearts that love you.

Letters Raine, Maria Rilke Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two young people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before. Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, – a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.  The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky. …For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey

A Marriage: Michael Blumenthal You are holding up a ceiling with both arms.  It is very heavy, but you must hold it up, or else it will fall down on you.  Your arms are tired, terribly tired, and, as the day goes on, it feels as if either your arms or the ceiling will soon collapse. But then, unexpectedly, something wonderful happens: Someone, a man or a woman, walks into the room and holds their arms up to the ceiling beside you. So you finally get to take down your arms. You feel the relief of respite, the blood flowing back to your fingers and arms. And when your partner’s arms tire, you hold up your own to relieve him again. And it can go on like this for many years without the house falling.

Love’s Philosophy , Percy Bysshe Shelley The fountains mingle with the rivers And the rivers with the oceans,  The winds of heaven mix forever With a sweet emotion; Nothing in the world is single; All things by a law divine In one spirit meet and mingle. Why not I with thine? See the mountains kiss high heaven And the waves clasp one another; No sister-flower would be forgiven If it disdained its brother, And the sunlight clasps the earth And the moonbeams kiss the sea: What is all this sweet work worth If thou kiss not me?

The Blessing Of The Apaches Now you will feel no rain, For each of you will be shelter to the other.  Now you will feel no cold, For each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness for you, For each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, But there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, To enter into the days of your togetherness. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

On Love, Brother Thomas a Kempis Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable. Nothing is sweeter than love, Nothing stronger, Nothing higher, Nothing wider, Nothing more pleasant, Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God. Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength. Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fail. Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle

Excerpt From 100 Love Sonnets, Pablo Neruda I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: Where “I ” does not exist, nor nor “You”, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

A reading from the Book of Genesis 1:26-28, 31a

Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.” God created man in his image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Genesis 2:18-24

The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body. The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Tobit 7:6-14

Raphael and Tobiah entered the house of Raguel and greeted him.

Raguel sprang up and kissed Tobiah, shedding tears of joy.

But when he heard that Tobit had lost his eyesight,

he was grieved and wept aloud.

He said to Tobiah:

“My child, God bless you!

You are the son of a noble and good father.

But what a terrible misfortune

that such a righteous and charitable man

should be afflicted with blindness!”

He continued to weep in the arms of his kinsman Tobiah.

His wife Edna also wept for Tobit;

and even their daughter Sarah began to weep.

Afterward, Raguel slaughtered a ram from the flock

and gave them a cordial reception.

When they had bathed and reclined to eat,

Tobiah said to Raphael, “Brother Azariah,

ask Raguel to let me marry my kinswoman Sarah.”

Raguel overheard the words;

so he said to the boy:

“Eat and drink and be merry tonight,

for no man is more entitled to marry my daughter Sarah

than you, brother.

Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you,

because you are my closest relative.

But I will explain the situation to you very frankly.

I have given her in marriage to seven men,

all of whom were kinsmen of ours,

and all died on the very night they approached her.

But now, son, eat and drink.

I am sure the Lord will look after you both.”

Tobiah answered, “I will eat or drink nothing

until you set aside what belongs to me.”

Raguel said to him: “I will do it.

She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses.

Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven!

Take your kinswoman

from now on you are her love,

and she is your beloved.

She is yours today and ever after.

And tonight, son, may the Lord of heaven prosper you both.

May he grant you mercy and peace.”

Then Raguel called his daughter Sarah, and she came to him.

He took her by the hand and gave her to Tobiah with the words:

“Take her according to the law.

According to the decree written in the Book of Moses she is your wife.

Take her and bring her back safely to your father.

And may the God of heaven grant both of you peace and prosperity.”

He then called her mother and told her to bring a scroll,

So that he might draw up a marriage contract

stating that he gave Sarah to Tobiah as his wife

according to the decree of the Mosaic law.

Her mother brought the scroll,

and he drew up the contract,

to which they affixed their seal.

Afterward they began to eat and drink.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Tobit 8:4b-8

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” Sarah got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. They began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’ Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” They said together, “Amen, amen.” The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates. The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a

Hark! my lover–here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come! “O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, Let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.” My lover belongs to me and I to him. He says to me: “Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire. Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away.” The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16 Blessed the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life. A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the Lord; Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face. A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones; A gift from the Lord is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth. Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste soul. A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace; indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul. Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home. The word of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lamp stand, here it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 22:35-40

One of the Pharisees, a scholar of the law, tested Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 10:6-9

Jesus said:

“From the beginning of creation,

God made them male and female.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.

So they are no longer two but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together,

no human being must separate.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 15:9-12

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 15:12-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 17:20-23

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

“Holy Father, I pray not only for these,

but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

so that they may all be one,

as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

that they also may be in us,

that the world may believe that you sent me.

And I have given them the glory you gave me,

so that they may be one, as we are one,

I in them and you in me,

that they may be brought to perfection as one,

that the world may know that you sent me,

and that you loved them even as you loved me.”

The Gospel of the Lord

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 5:2a, 21-33

Brothers and sisters:

Live in love, as Christ loved us

and handed himself over for us.

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.

For the husband is head of his wife

just as Christ is head of the Church,

he himself the savior of the body.

As the Church is subordinate to Christ,

so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives,

even as Christ loved the Church

and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,

cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,

that he might present to himself the Church in splendor,

without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,

that she might be holy and without blemish.

So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.

He who loves his wife loves himself.

For no one hates his own flesh

but rather nourishes and cherishes it,

even as Christ does the Church,

because we are members of his Body.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,

but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church.

In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,

and the wife should respect her husband.

The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 5:2a, 25-32 (Short Form)

Brothers and sisters: Live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his Body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. The word of the Lord.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews 13:1-4a, 5-6b

Brothers and sisters: Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body. Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you. Thus we may say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. The word of the Lord.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. The word of the Lord.

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