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.