Readings

WEDDING READINGS

WEDDING READINGS

The readings that follow are shared as a resource you may use in whole or in part. If you find a line or two, or a whole reading, that you can use, feel free to use them in your ceremony in ways that are meaningful to you as a couple.

As well, if you come from different cultural, ethnic or religious backgrounds and sense that this is stimulating questions in family members and guests, there may be wisdom in including an introduction that addresses this instead of pretending it isn’t there. If this is your circumstance, perhaps you might introduce your wedding with an introduction designed to encourage support for your decision for your life mate.

A reading after the wedding kiss…
NOW WE’VE DONE IT
© Ray Cross
Now we’ve done it, let’s do it…
Explore our married-life adventure.
Not the end of courtship;
But only it’s beginning…
Now we’ve done it, let’s do it…
Let’s keep our love alive and growing.
Let’s make dating a habit, not a memory.
Let’s build a shared future.
Now we’ve done it, let’s do it…
Express honour and delight,
Thoughtfulness, generosity,
Kindness, courtesy.
Now we’ve done it, let’s do it…
Listen with our heart.
Learn from each other.
Create afterglow memories.
Now we’ve done it, let’s do it…
Hold hands. Cuddle, cherish,
Treasure each other.
Meander together toward the sunset,
Growing old together.
This is our route to happily ever after.
Now we’ve done it, let’s do it!

A reading after the wedding kiss…
WALK IN LOVE
© Ray Cross
Now married-life adventure begins.
Don’t let courtship end here.
Keep your love alive and growing.
Make dating a habit, not a memory.
Build a shared future.
Express honour and delight,
Thoughtfulness, generosity,
Kindness, courtesy.
Create afterglow memories.
Listen with your heart.
Learn from each other.
Hold hands.
Cuddle, cherish,
Treasure each other.
Meander together toward the sunset,
Growing old together.
This is your route to happily ever after.

SAVOUR THE PRESENT; BUILD THE FUTURE

Before I pronounce you married, there is just one more thing to share…

A wedding day seems to fly by. It is a day filled with family, friends, emotion, promises, rings, dining and dances. Despite all the extensive planning that goes into then, weddings move so quickly once they start that couples are carried along by what seems a surprisingly fleeting wedding event. Their wedding day is over before couples know it. So now I want you to take a few moments to look deep into each other’s eyes. Now, together, relish the happiness that you’re feeling right now, in this place, in this moment. Really let the feeling register in your heart and your mind. Now, think—think about your life together—in 20 years—in 30 years. Where are you? What are you doing? How do you feel? Does the touch of your loved one still thrill you? We all know that your visions of the future will not be identical, but they do need to be complementary. If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. John Lennon once said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together—THAT is reality.” That reality for you begins today. But dreams do not materialize unless we build substance into them. Though dreams may set the direction, you still have to drive the highway of life together. Happy marriages that last and, in reality, actually grow throughout your life together, do not just happen by chance; they are built by people who determine to invest what is best in each other no matter what life may throw at you. Indeed, the only pressures that can push you apart are those you allow to come between you. If they don’t come between you they push you together. Invest earnestly, therefore, in your harmony and devotion to each other. Nurture a love that lasts by cherishing each other above all others. Cherish daily the delight of being bound together in a union that makes you stronger and will be perpetually fulfilling and enriching for both of you equally for now, for time and beyond.

 

LOVE  ~ © Rev. Ray Cross
I love you for what you are,
And for what I am when with you.

I love you for what
You have made of yourself,
And for what
You are making of me.

I love you for what you bring out of me;
For passing over the foolish, weak things
To see the potential for good in me,
For seeing beauty others missed
By loving me enough to see me as I could be.

I love you for giving me a vision
For what can be
Through a love that transcends me.

I love you for placing a song in my heart
Our song, our love song, our joy,
Not by means of touch or words —
Merely by being yourself.

MARRIAGE IS AN ART WE BUILD~ © Rev. Ray Cross
For me, my dear,
I choose not to expect our marriage happiness to be automatic.
I will create and nurture our happiness…

By retaining, in the forefront of my mind, the privilege that is mine that you honour me by coming to be mine so beautifully on this day of our wedding,
By, at no time, taking you for granted,
By keeping our courtship alive through all of our years together,
By determining to continue dating you as my sweetheart,
By remembering to say “I love you” at least once daily,
By speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways,
By doing things for you, not out of duty or sacrifice, but in a spirit of honour and privilege,
By treasuring who you are, not who you, or I,  or anyone else thinks you should be,
By searching together for the good and the beautiful,
By standing together as we face the world,
By valuing your opinions even if they disagree with mine,
By cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour,
By harmonizing our sense of values and common objectives,
By forming, with you, a circle of love that gathers together all of our family and friends,.
By respecting you and your uniqueness and
By providing an environment where
– Independence is equal,
– Dependence is mutual and
– Obligation is reciprocal,
By maintaining the capacity to forgive and forget,
By never going to sleep angry,
By giving each other an atmosphere in which we can grow and grow old graciously,

For I recognize, dear, that happiness in marriage is not merely a matter of marrying the right partner:
It is being the right partner.

THE LOVE OF MY LIFE  ~ © Rev. Ray Cross
Meeting you changed me
In ways I could not anticipate.

Ours is the love of a lifetime —
A miracle delivering everything of which I had dreamed,
From one I thought existed only in my imagination.

The happiness I lived without you
Does not compare to the joy I experience with you.

You fill my thoughts.
You inspire my emotions.
You drive my vision.
I believe anything is possible,
With you at my side.

On this, our wedding day,
I thank you for the miracle of you.
You are, and always will be,
The love of my life.

WEDDING BLESSING~ © Rev. Ray Cross
May your need of each other grow out of the fullness you share,
Rather than from individual emptiness.

May you seek praise rather than criticism,
And express your love often.

May you embrace each other without encircling one another.

When quarrels arise, may you have the good sense to take the first step back.

May your delight in each other’s presence ascend to the spiritual,
Exceeding the touch of a hand or walking side-by-side,
Warmed by love that transcends time and space.

May marriage provide all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring,
Always by loving enticement, not compulsion,
With patience and understanding.

May you find happiness in making each other happy.

MY FOREVER FRIEND~ © Rev. Ray Cross
In my innermost being
I long to love one person
With all my heart,
With all my soul,
With all my mind, and
With all my body…

I need a forever friend
To trust with my secrets,
And not hold them against me;

A forever friend who sees and appreciates
The small child in me,
And sees the potential of
Who I might be.

A forever friend I feel blessed to hold
Who thanks God for me,
And never forgets the privilege we share
To be one, as a marriage should be.

RIDE THE TIDE ~ © Rev. Ray Cross
Many days bring happiness,
Many days are sad.
But two hearts, together,
Overcome what’s bad.

For together we ride
On the crest of a tide
Where our joy and pains
Are the source of our gains.

MY DEAREST~ © Ray Cross

It is my perception that the way we age is an accumulation of our life experiences.

If this is true, my dear, it is my intention to build more and more beauty into who you are…

  • Laugh lines
  • Sparkling eyes filled with delight
  • A mouth that smiles as we meet
  • Hands that reach out to clasp mine
  • Feet that delight to walk step by step with me
  • Hair that flows gently through my caressing fingers.
  • Life is a builder of memories, Dear.

I intend that the memories we build will be mostly happy, the kind of memories we will delight to share together into the mists of old age, working together, playing together and building our happiness together.

I intend that our life together be a beauty treatment for your soul as, in small ways and large, I build your sense of worth and expand your horizons.

Together we will be much more than we ever could have been apart.

All my love, a l w a y s.

WITH THESE HANDS ~ © Ray Cross
A reading well placed immediately prior to the exchange of rings.

These hands are my hands;
The hands of your best friend.
They may be young and inexperienced,
But they offer you loving touch
And gentle support that I alone can bring.
As I hold your hands in mine, on this day of our wedding,
I pledge to you all of my love,
today, tomorrow, and forever.

With these hands I will work alongside you,
As we build our future together.
With these hands I will cherish you through the years,
With these hands I will comfort you like no other.
With these hands I will protect you when fear or grief assails.
With these hands I will wipe the tears from your eyes;
Whether tears of sorrow, or, as today, tears of joy.
With these I will tenderly hold our children,
I will partner with you to build the family we are given.
With these hands I will be your strength.

Even when wrinkled with age,
I will, with these hands, still be reaching for yours,
Still giving you the same unspoken tenderness,
With a touch of my hand.

Endlessly
A hit song by Brook Benton, 1959
Words and Music by Clyde Otis & Brook Benton

Higher than the highest mountain
And deeper than the deepest sea
That’s how I will love you, oh, darling, endlessly

Softer than the gentle breezes
And stronger than the wild oak tree
That’s how I will hold you, oh, darling, endlessly

Oh, my love, you are my heaven
You are my kingdom, you are my crown
Oh, my love, you’re all that I prayed for
You were made for these arms to surround

Faithful as a morning sunrise
And sacred as a love can be
That’s how I will love you, oh darling, endlessly

Darling, endlessly
Darling, endlessly

INTRODUCTIONS FOR FAMILY UNITY

Weddings may bring together individuals from a variety of backgrounds. This aspect of the union may stimulate questions in family members and guests. Sometimes it may be advantageous to address this reality rather than try to push by it by pretending it isn’t there. If this is your circumstance, perhaps you might introduce your wedding with remarks such as the following:

GREETING

We have gathered this day to participate in a ceremony that brings together two people, two families and two traditions. This ceremony seeks to respect and present the upbringing and belief structure of both the bride and the groom and their respective families. May it, by its expression this day, be used of God to build unity in the midst of diversity, a unity built on and energized by the love between this couple and the love that has always been so precious to all in their families. May we join in support of _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_’s commitment to each other to build a marriage, a home and a family that is characterized by love and respect for all that is good, and upright and honorable.

 

When we get married, and vow to remain true to each other no matter what life may being our way, we have no concept of what will come our way. A determined focus not to quit when the going gets tough is essential to success in marriage and in life. When the going gets tough the tough get growing, so don’t quit….

DON’T QUIT  – Anonymous

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and its turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When they might have won, had they stuck it out,

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!
From the movie, The Firm, spoken by Abbey to her husband…
   “I’ve loved you all my life, even before we met. Part of it wasn’t even you, just the promise of you.”


Cicero…
“Thus nature had no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate.”
Weddings may bring together individuals from a variety of backgrounds. This aspect of the union may stimulate questions in family members and guests. Sometimes it may be advantageous to address this reality rather than try to push by it by pretending it isn’t there. If this is your circumstance, perhaps you might introduce your wedding with remarks such as the following:

GREETING
We have gathered this day to participate in a ceremony that brings together two people, two families and two traditions. This ceremony seeks to respect and present the upbringing and belief structure of both the bride and the groom and their respective families. May it, by its expression this day, be used of God to build unity in the midst of diversity, a unity built on and energized by the love between this couple and the love that has always been so precious to all in their families. May we join in support of _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_’s commitment to each other to build a marriage, a home and a family that is characterized by love and respect for all that is good, and upright and honorable.


Honoring a deceased loved one:

The loss of a loved one may become especially painful when a wedding represents the hopes and dreams of that missing person. For this reason, recognizing this loss in a few moments of memorial during a wedding ceremony may meet some deep inner needs for a sense of the loved one’s presence by mean of a few moments of memorial introduced by appropriate words such as the following:
Example…
______ would also like all assembled to pause for a moment of memorial to his father, ________, who, along with his Mom, ________, dedicated his life to providing an environment in which _____ could grow into the man that _____ has come to love.

Remembrance
Today, as we celebrate this special day, _____ and ….. would like to pause to reflect upon those who have shaped their character, moulded their spirits and touched their hearts. Although death has separated us physically, faith and love have bound us eternally. Though we cannot see them, we sense their presence. Though we cannot touch them, we feel the warmth of their smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives. Let us not forget the ones that have departed from our world, but not before they graced us with special memories only they could create. May the influence of our loved ones that touched us deeply, but only stayed briefly in our lives, continue with us as we join our lives together as one.

REMARKS FOR REMARRIAGE
Every time a couple commits themselves in marriage, God commits himself to their support. There is therefore great anguish in both heaven and earth when marriages dissolve. Divorce is always wrong and so hurtful, as both of you realize. You have lived in the ashes of disappointment. It is our fervent prayer that God will give you beauty for ashes — a new beginning.

THE KEY TO LOVE —  Author Unknown
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 sharing.
Facing your good fortune 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 giving 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,
You belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.
The key to love is inside us all.
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients.
It is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work..
But the rewards are more than worth the effort.
And that is the key to love!


I WILL BE HERE  — 
Steven Curtis Chapman
If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.
I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.
I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.


WITH GOD AS YOUR PARTNER  — 
Helen Steiner Rice
It takes a Groom, it takes a Bride,
Two People standing side by side…

It takes a Ring and Vows that say
This is our Happy Wedding Day…

But marriage vows are sanctified
And loving hearts are unified

When standing with the bride and groom,
Unseen by others in the room,

The “Spirit of the Lord” is there
To bless this happy bridal pair…

For “God is Love,” and married life
Is richer for both man and wife

When God becomes a partner, too,
In everything they plan and do…

And every home is specially blest
When God is made a “Daily Guest,”

For married folks who pray together
Are happy folks who stay together…

For when God’s love becomes a part
Of body, mind, and soul and heart

Their love becomes a wondrous blending
That’s both Eternal and Unending,

And God looks down and says “well done”…
For now you Two are truly One.


UNTITLED  — 
Author unknown
As you are our special friends
And this our special day
By being here fills us with joy
Much more than we can say
Please don’t bring us any gifts
The only gift we need
Is your presence and your blessings
To make our lives complete.

TO MY DAD   —  Beth Marchand
Today is a special day for us, Dad.
We have closed one chapter of our lives and opened another.
As we walked down the aisle today
it was, for an instant, as though I was a child
again and I was leaning on you for strength
and as usual, you were there for me.
You are my inspiration, Dad.
You taught me right from wrong,
congratulated me when I succeeded and
picked me up when I failed.
You knew when to be my father and
when to be my friend.
I want you to know, Dad, that you are
my hero and I love you.

From “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.

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 and 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 fulfil.


PARENTS RECOGNITION
Will the parents of _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_. please stand.

Many years ago, though it may feel like only yesterday, two children were born into this world. When you first gazed at them, you marvelled at their perfection and you felt truly blessed. In your children you saw infinite potential and you placed great hope in them.

With you they uttered their first words. With you they took their first steps. You rejoiced in their victories; you cried at their sorrows. You guided them, nurtured them, educated them, loved them. You gave them all you had to give, so they would grow up strong and independent, capable of great love, capable of what they are doing here today. Without you, this marriage would not, could not be possible.

Now, today all the love and caring you gave to _(Bride)_ and _(Groom)_., they will give to each other. And it does not end here. For in turn, they will pass it along to their children. In this sense we are immortal as we see firsthand how this sublime torch, this lineage of love, gets passed along from generation to generation. We thank you and honour you.

WEDDING PRAYER  ~ Robert Louis 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


TRADITIONAL IRISH 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.


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.
Amen


LETTERS  — 
Rainer Maria Rilke
To love is good, too: love being difficult.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it.
With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is–solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.
Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate–?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.


UNTITLED  — 
Author Unknown 

From this day forward,
You shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter,
And my arms will be your home.
THIS DAY I MARRIED MY BEST FRIEND  —  Author Unknown

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.

THESE I CAN PROMISE  —  Author Unknown

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

 

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 —  Author Unknown

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!

 

HINDU MARRIAGE POEM   —   Author Unknown 

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.

 

HOW DO I LOVE THEE —  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 every day’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 with a 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

And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever

UNTITLED  —  Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Geniuses of countless nations
Have told their love for generations
Till all their memorable phrases
Are common as goldenrod or daisies.
Their girls have glimmered like the moon,
Or shimmered like a summer moon,
Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,
Now the sunset, now the dawn,
Here the princess in the tower
There the sweet forbidden flower.
Darling, when I look at you
Every aged phrase is new,
And there are moments when it seems
I’ve married one of Shakespeare’s dreams.

THE COLOUR OF MY LOVE  —  David Foster and Arthur Janov
I’ll paint a sun to warm your heart
Knowing that we’ll never part.
I’ll draw the years all passing by
So much to learn, so much to try.

I’ll paint my mood in a shadow blue,
Paint my soul to be with you.
I’ll sketch your lips in shaded tones,
Draw your mouth to my own.

I’ll trace a hand to wipe your tears
And trace a look to calm your fears.
A silhouette of dark and light
To hold each other oh so tight.

I’ll paint the stars in the evening sky,
Draw the light into your eyes,
A touch of love, a touch of grace,
To softly fall on your moonlit face.

And with this ring our lives will start,
Let nothing keep our love apart.
I’ll take your hand to hold in mine,
And be together through all time.


FROM THIS DAY FORWARD  — 
Author Unknown
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  — 
Author Unknown
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.

MOTHER IN LAW
OUR MOTHER  — 
Author Unknown
You are the mother I received
The day I wed your son.
And I just want to thank you, Mum
For all the things you’ve done.

You’ve given me a gracious man
With whom I share my life.
You are his loving mother and
I his lucky wife.

You used to pat his little head,
And now I hold his hand.
You raised in love a little boy
And gave to me a man.


THIS DAY I MARRIED MY BEST FRIEND  — 
Author Unknown
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.


FATHER OF THE BRIDE
AT MY DAUGHTER’S SIDE  — 
Linda Jo
Tomorrow was a lifetime away, now suddenly it’s here.
How did it happen so quickly? This wedding drawing near.
How can I act so happy? How can I act so gay?
When in such a very short time, I’ll give my daughter away.
I wish I could grasp a moment, and make the clock stand still
So I could let my heart catch up, but I know it never will.
All the worries of being a parent, all the battles won,
No one ever warned me about the day the job is done.
Yet, there is another side, where my heart is not as sad.
When I look in my daughter’s eyes, I can’t help but be joyful and glad. This day she has dreamt about, for just about all her life.
She’s going to be such a beautiful bride and a loving, caring wife.
I’ll stand with the congregation as my daughter walks down the aisle And even though there are tears in my eyes, my face wIll bear a smile. For I know that I was very blessed when God lent this child to me. To love and care for and nurture, so she would grow up to be This lovely, bright young woman, who tomorrow will be a bride And as always I’ll be there, with love at my daughter’s side.


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 (1886)
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.


NEVER MARRY BUT FOR LOVE  — 
William Penn (1644-1718)
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.
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.


A GOOD WEDDING CAKE  — 
Author Unknown
4 lb. of love.
1 lb. butter of youth.
1/2 lb. of good looks.
l lb. sweet temper.
1 lb. of blindness for faults.
1 lb. of self forgetfulness.
l lb. of pounded wit.
l lb. of good humour.
2 tablespoons of sweet argument.
1 pint of rippling laughter.
1 wine glass of common sense.
1 oz. modesty.
Put the love, good looks and sweet temper into a well furnished house. Beat the butter of youth to a cream, and mix well together with the blindness of faults. Stir the pounded wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling
laughter and common sense. Work the whole together until everything is well mixed, and bake gently for ever.


APACHE BLESSING  — 
Author Unknown
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  — 
Author Unknown
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’Neil
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.


OUR FAMILY  — 
Author Unknown
Our family is a circle of love and strength.
With every birth and every union, the circle grows.
Every joy shared adds more love.
Every obstacle faced together makes the circle stronger.


WHY MARRIAGE?  — 
Author Unknown
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…

Because of this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.


TO BE ONE WITH EACH OTHER  — 
George Eliot (1819-1880)
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, 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?
BRIDAL SONG  ~ John Ford
Comforts lasting, loves increasing,
Like soft hours never ceasing:
Plenty’s pleasure, peace complying,
Without jars, or tongues envying;
Hearts by holy union wedded,
More than theirs by custom bedded;
Fruitful issues; life so graced,
Not by age to be defaced,
Budding, as the year ensu’th,
Every spring another youth:
All what thought can add beside
Crown this bridegroom and this bride!


DOVE POEM  ~
Author Unknown
Two doves meeting in the sky
Two loves hand in hand eye to eye
Two parts of a loving whole
Two hearts and a single soul

Two stars shining big and bright
Two fires bringing warmth and light
Two songs played in perfect tune
Two flowers growing into bloom

Two Doves gliding in the air
Two loves free without a care
Two parts of a loving whole
Two hearts and a single soul


IF THOU MUST LOVE ME  ~
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
If thou must love me, let it be for naught
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.

LOVE  ~ Roy Croft
I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.


LOVE LIVES  ~
John Clare
Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, and the true
Love lives in sleep,
The happiness of healthy dreams
Eve’s dews may weep,
But love delightful seems.

‘Tis heard in Spring
When light and sunbeams, warm and kind,
On angels’ wing
Bring love and music to the mind.

And where is voice,
So young, so beautiful and sweet
As nature’s choice,
Where Spring and lovers meet?

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, the flowers, and dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, young and true.


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.


MY LOVE  ~
Linda Lee Elrod
When I met you, I had no idea
how much my life
was about to be changed…
but then, how could I have known?

A love like ours happens
once in a lifetime.
You were a miracle to me,
the one who was everything
I had ever dreamed of,
the one I thought existed
only in my imagination.

And when you came into my life,
I realized that what I
had always thought
was happiness
couldn’t compare to the joy
loving you brought me.

You are a part of everything
I think and do and feel,
and with you by my side,
I believe that anything is possible.
(this day) gives me a chance
to thank you for the miracle of you…
you are, and always will be,
the love of my life.

SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY  ~ 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!

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-fix’d 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.


‘TIL DEATH DO US PART  ~
Carol D. Bos
I hope it is decades before death parts us
But I don’t know what God has in mind
I pray that he’ll let us be happy always
But I can’t comprehend plans divine.

It may be that turmoil will dot our landscape
With it’s gray skies and swirling intrusion
It may be that joy will fill both our hearts
And we’ll think pain is just an illusion.

But I think it’s likely we’ll see some of each
As we walk on this pathway together
I promise you now: I will give all I have
From my mouth you’ll not hear the word “Never.”

With so much uncertainty, crime, and abuse
That exists, everywhere, all around us
More than ever we need to hold fast to the truth
Of our marriage…Life will not confound us.

Time together is fleeting; it is too scarce to waste
My goal is to make my life-mission
A beautiful tapestry highlighting “us”
Sewn with threads from our human condition.

I want to explore the full spectrum of life
Before we’re too close to its leaving
I want to embrace vast explosions of joy
That make both our hearts strong and heaving.

I know I will love you for all of my life
No matter the time we are given.
I’m your till death parts us-left all alone-
Until God reunites us in heaven.


TO ALTHEA, FROM PRISON — 
Richard Lovelace
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.


TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL  — 
Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

TRUE LOVE  ~ Author Unknown
True love is a sacred flame
That burns eternally,
And none can dim its special glow
Or change its destiny.
True love speaks in tender tones
And hears with gentle ear,
True love gives with open heart
And true love conquers fear.
True love makes no harsh demands
It neither rules nor binds,
And true love holds with gentle hands
The hearts that it entwines.
UNTITLED  ~ 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.
Modified version of 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?
WHY MARRIAGE?  ~ Mari Nichols-Haining
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…

Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.


FROM “THE GIFT FROM THE SEA”   ~
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, mot 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.


A HISTORY OF LOVE  — 
Diane Ackerman
Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble, fueled national scandals, bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings. How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of one syllable?…Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days…..

The heart is a living museum. In each of its galleries, no matter how narrow or dimly lit, preserved forever like wondrous diatoms, are our moments of loving and being liked.
APACHE MARRIAGE BLESSING
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.
THE ART OF MARRIAGE  ~ Wilfred A. Peterson
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 all 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 in 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 expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
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.
BLESSING FOR A MARRIAGE  ~ James Dillet Freeman
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a 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. So let it be with you and you.

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.
Excerpt from THE BRIDGE ACROSS FOREVER  ~ Richard Bach
A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.
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.
Excerpt from “A SONG FOR HIAWATHA”
Come join us in celebration, those who love sunshine on meadow
Who love shadow of the forest,
love the wind among the branches and the palacades of pine trees,
and the thunder in the mountains whose innumerable echoes flap like eagles in their eries.

Listen to this song of marriage. How, from another tribe and country came a young man, “give me as my wife this maiden, and our hands be clasped more closely, and our hearts be more united.

Thus it is, our daughters leave us, those we love and those who love us. When a youth with flaunting feathers beckons to the fairest maiden.

From the sky the sun benignant looked upon them through the branches, Saying to them, “oh, my children life is checkered shade and sunshine.”

The two figures man and woman Standing hand in hand together, with their hands so clasped together that they seem in one united. And the words thus represented are, “I see your heart within you.”

Sing them songs of love and longing
Now, let’s feast and be more joyous.


FOUNDATIONS OF MARRIAGE  — 
Regina Hill
Love, trust, and forgiveness are the foundations of marriage. In marriage, many days will bring happiness, while other days may be sad. But together, two hearts can overcome everything…In marriage, all of the moments won’t be exciting or romantic, and sometimes worries and anxiety will be overwhelming. But together, two hearts that accept will find comfort together. Recollections of past joys, pains, and shared feelings will be the glue that holds everything together during even the worst and most insecure moments. Reaching out to each other as a friend, and becoming the confidant and companion that the other one needs, is the true magic and beauty of any two people together. It’s inspiring in each other a dream or a feeling, and having faith in each other and not giving up… even when all the odds say to quit. It’s allowing each other to be vulnerable, to be himself or herself, even when the opinions or thoughts aren’t in total agreement or exactly what you’d like them to be. It’s getting involved and showing interest in each other, really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be. Exactly three things need to be remembered in a marriage if it is to be a mutual bond of sharing, caring, and loving throughout life: love, trust, and forgiveness.


I CHING  ~
Excerpt
When two people are at one
in their inmost hearts,
they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.
And when two people understand each other
in their inmost hearts,
their words are sweet and strong,
like the fragrance of orchids.

THE PLEDGE- from “I promise” by Dorothy Colgan
_(Groom)_ and _(Bride)_, do you come here today, in the presence of these witnesses, with love in your heart and a conscious desire to be united in marriage? / I do.

Do you promise to give each other the best of yourselves and to ask no more of each other than he or she can give?
Do you promise to respect each other as their own person and to realize that their interests, desires and needs are no less important than your own?
Do you promise to share with each other your time and your attention and to bring joy, strength and imagination to your relationship?
Do you promise to keep yourselves open to each other, to let them see through the window of your world into your innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams?
Do you promise to grow along with each other, to be willing to face changes in order to keep your relationship alive and exciting?
Do you promise to love each other in good times and in bad, with all you have to give, and all you feel inside, in the only way you know how?
Completely and forever? / I do.
I PROMISE  —  Dorothy 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 in bad,
with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how.
Completely and forever.

LOVE  ~ Author Unknown
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!
LOVE IS A GREAT THING  ~ Thomas a 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 worldly 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.
THE MOST WONDERFUL OF ALL THINGS IN LIFE  —  Sir Hugh Walpole
The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things inlife.


ON LOVE  — 
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 “THE PROPHET”  —  Kahlil Gibran
Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you with hold the “aye.” And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart; For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth; and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


SPEAK TO US OF LOVE  —  From “The Prophet”,  — 
Kahil Gilbran
Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.

And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said: When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

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 upon your lips.
Excerpt from TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE  —  Mitch Albom
“Still,” Morrie said, “there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.
“And the biggest one of those values, Mitch?”
Yes?
“Your belief in the importance of your marriage.”
He sniffed, then closed his eyes for a moment.
“Personally,” he sighed, his eyes still closed, “I think marriage is a very important thing to do, and you’re missing a lot if you don’t try it.”

He ended the subject by quoting a poem he believed in like a prayer: “Love each other or perish.”


UNTITLED  ~
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.
UNTITLED  ~ Author Unknown

You can give without loving,
but you can never love without giving.
The great acts of love are done by those
who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.
We pardon to the extent that we love.
Love is knowing that even when you are alone,
you will never be lonely again.
And great happiness of life is the conviction
that we are loved.
Loved for ourselves.
And even loved in spite of ourselves.
UNTITLED  ~ Author Unknown
Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”

Excerpt from THE VELVETEEN RABBIT  ~ 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 all 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.”
WHAT IS LOVE?  ~ Author Unknown
Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favourite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love.

MARRIAGE IS AN ART ~ Adapted

A good marriage must be created.
In marriage little things are big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” daily.

It is not going to sleep angry.
It is having shared values and common objectives.

It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a love circle that includes the whole family.

It is expressing appreciation in thoughtful ways.
It is demonstrating the capacity to forgive and forget.
Giving each other an opportunity to grow, even from our mistakes.

It is search together for what is good and beautiful.

Not only marrying the right person – it is being the right partner.

FUTURE VISUALIZATION
The Celts believed that the way you view your future actually shapes it. I now ask everyone here to take a moment to visualize a future for the Bride and Groom. As a group let`s think of the happiness in store for ….. and _____ and the family they will have their young family.

BLESSING OF THE HANDS, revised by Rev. Daniel L. Harris
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and as in today, tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Followed by the wedding VOWS

 

If together we build our marriage…
Possibilities are limitless,
When we, as two whole people, augment each other.
Rather than expecting another to make us whole…
Marriage means opportunity to keep growing in love.
For marriages do not fail, people fail
I, therefore, promise to take full responsibility — I create me.

All moments of marriage won’t be exciting or romantic. Sometimes worries and anxiety overwhelm. Yet, what sustains marriage dynamic is two accepting hearts finding comfort together. Memories of past joys, delights, even pains and struggles faced together are glue that holds us together even during the worst and most insecure moments. Reaching out to each other as a friend, becoming the needed confidant and companion that the other needs, is the true magic and beauty of marriage. This the dream of marriage, to share such faith in each other that we don’t give up … even when the odds say quit. By this couples learn to be vulnerable, to be themselves, even when their thoughts or opinions aren’t in total agreement or exactly what they’d like them to be. It’s getting involved and showing interest in each other, really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be. Three essential attitudes that are roots to these life sustaining caring and sharing experiences are love, trust and forgiveness for our inevitable failings along the way.

From “The Irrational Season”, by 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.”

“Love Is Friendship Caught Fire”, by Laura Hendricks

“Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles 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 do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough.”

From “The Art of a Good Marriage”, by Wilferd Arlan Peterson

“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 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 the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person — it is being the right partner.”

“Time In A Bottle”, by Jim Croce

“If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day ‘till eternity passes away, just to spend them with you. If I could make days last forever; if words could make wishes come true; I’d save every day like a treasure and then, again, I would spend them with you. If I had a box just for wishes, and dreams that had never come true; the box would be empty, except for the memory of how they were answered by you. But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. I’ve looked around enough to know that you’re the one I want to go through time with.”

“I Am Love” 

“Some say I can fly on the wind, yet I haven’t any wings. Some have found me floating on the open sea, yet I cannot swim. Some have felt my warmth on cold nights, yet I have no flame. And though you cannot see me, I lay between two lovers at the hearth of fireplaces. I am the twinkle in your child’s eyes. I am hidden in the lines of your mother’s face. I am your father’s shield as he guards your home. And yet… Some say I am stronger than steel, yet I am as fragile as a tear. Some have never searched for me, yet I am around them always. Some say I die with loss, yet I am endless. And though you cannot hear me, I dance on the laughter of children. I am woven into the whispers of passion. I am in the blessings of Grandmothers. I embrace the cries of newborn babies. And yet… Some say I am a flower, yet I am also the seed. Some have little faith in me, yet I will always believe in them. Some say I cannot cure the ill, yet I nourish the soul. And though you cannot touch me, I am the gentle hand of the kind. I am the fingertips that caress your cheek at night. I am the hug of a child. I am love.”

“Looking For Your Face”, by Rumi

“From the beginning of my life I have been looking for your face, but today I have seen it. Today I have seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that I was looking for. Today I have found you, and those who laughed and scorned me yesterday are sorry that they were not looking as I did. I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty, and wish to see you with a hundred eyes. My heart has burned with passion and has searched forever for this wondrous beauty that I now behold. I am ashamed to call this love human, and afraid of God to call it divine. Your fragrant breath, like the morning breeze, has come to the stillness of the garden. You have breathed new life into me. I have become your sunshine, and also your shadow. My soul is screaming in ecstasy. Every fiber of my being is in love with you. Your effulgence has lit a fire in my heart, and you have made radiant for me the earth and sky. My arrow of love has arrived at the target. I am in the house of mercy, and my heart is a place of prayer.”

“Friendship”, by Judy Bielicki

“It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life—it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic. True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential. (Bride) and (Groom) came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.”

“The Magic of Love”, by Helen Steiner Rice

“Love is like magic, and it always will be,
For love still remains life’s sweet mystery.
Love works in ways that are wondrous and strange,
And there’s nothing in life that love cannot change!
Love can transform the most commonplace
Into beauty and splendor and sweetness and grace.
Love is unselfish, understanding and kind,
For it sees with its heart, and not with its mind.
Love is the answer that everyone seeks;
Love is the language that every heart speaks.
Love can’t be bought, it is priceless and free.
Love, like pure magic, is life’s sweet mystery!!”

“Sonnet XLIII”, from “Sonnets 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 every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
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.”

“Sooner or Later” (anonymous)

“Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines, and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favourite memories, and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all — one known only by those who love.”

“Hug O’ War”, by Shel Silverstein

“I will not play at tug o’ war. I’d rather play at hug o’ war, where everyone hugs instead of tugs, where everyone giggles, and rolls on the rug, where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”

“Sonnet 17”, by Pablo Neruda

“I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom, and carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers, and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I know no other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you; so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.”

“The Promise”, by Heather Berry

“Within this blessed union of souls, where two hearts intertwine to become one, there lies a promise. Perfectly born, divinely created, and intimately shared, it is a place where the hope and majesty of beginnings reside. Where all things are made possible by the astounding love shared by two spirits. As you hold each other’s hands in this promise, and eagerly look into the future in each other’s eyes, may your unconditional love and devotion take you to places were you’ve both only dreamed. Where you’ll dwell for a lifetime of happiness, sheltered in the warmth of each other’s arms.”

“Desiderata”, by Max Erhmann (1927)

“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. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 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.”

From “Any Husband or Wife”, by Carole Haynes

“Let us be guests in one another’s house, with a deferential “No” and courteous “Yes.” Let us take care to hide our foolish moods behind a certain show of cheerfulness. Let us avoid all sullen silences. We should find fresh and sprightly things to say. I must be fearful lest you find me dull, and you must dread to bore me any way. Let us knock gently at each other’s heart, glad of a chance to look within—and yet let us remember that to force one’s way is the unpardoned breach of etiquette. So we shall be host and hostess, until all need for entertainment ends. We shall be lovers when the last door shuts. But what is better still, we shall be friends.”

“Sonnet 18“, by William Shakespeare

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou are 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 ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade
Which in eternal lines to time thou grow’st
So long as men can breathe and eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

“The Merchant of Venice”, Act 4, Scene 1 (spoken by Portia), by William Shakespeare

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, [Jew,]
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.”sandberg

From “The Hymn of the Universe”, by Teilhard de Chardin

“Only love can bring individual beings to their perfect completion, as individuals, by uniting them one with another, because only love takes possession of them and unites them by what lies deepest within them. This is simply a fact of our everyday experience. For indeed at what moment do lovers come into the most complete possession of themselves if not when they say that they are lost in one another? And is not love all the time achieving – in couples, in teams, all around us – the magical and reputedly contradictory feat of personalizing through totalizing? And why should not what is thus daily achieved on a small scale be repeated one day on world-wide dimensions?

Humanity, the spirit of the earth, the synthesis of individuals and peoples, the paradoxical conciliation of the element with the whole, of the one with the many: all these are regarded as utopian fantasies, yet they are biologically necessary; and if we would see them made flesh in the world what more need we do than imagine our power to love growing and broadening, till it can embrace the totality of human beings and of the earth?”

“On Love”  by Khalil Gibran

“Then said the student Almitra, Speak to us of love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said: When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.”

“On Marriage”,by Khalil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the 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.

“On Children”, by Khalil Gibran

“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, ‘Speak to us of Children.’ And he said, ‘Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies, but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth. The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness, for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.’”

“You Were Born Together”, by Khalil Gibran

“You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spades in your togetherness. And let the winds of the 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 of you be alone, even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the land 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.”

“The Invitation”, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of you fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being a human. It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy. I want to know if you can see the beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!” It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children. It doesn’t interest me who you are, or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

“Put Another Log On The Fire”, by Shel Silverstein

“Put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tire.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire babe,
And come & tell me why you’re leaving me.

Now don’t I let you wash the car on Sunday?
And don’t I warn you when you’re gettin’ fat?
Ain’t I a-gonna take you fishin’ with me someday?
Well, a man can’t love a woman more than that.
And ain’t I always nice to your kid sister?
Don’t I take her driving every night?
So, sit here at my feet cuz I like you when you’re sweet,
And you know it ain’t feminine to fight.

So, put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tire.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire babe,
And come & tell me why you’re leaving me.”

From “The Hungering Dark”, by Frederick Buechner

“Matrimony is called holy, because this brave and fateful promise of a man and a woman, to love and honor and serve each other through thick and thin, looks beyond itself to more fateful promises still, and speaks mightily of what human life at its most human and most alive and most holy must always be. Every wedding is a dream, and every word that is spoken there means more than it says, and every gesture – the clasping of hands, the giving of rings – is rich with mystery. And so it [is that] we hope with every bride and groom, that the love they bear one another, and the joy they take in one another, may help them grow in love for this whole world where their final joy lies.”

 

My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose. – Burns

0′ my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June.
0′ my luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie 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.

Desiderata, Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)

Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 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 this not 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 imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & 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 labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Sonnet CXVI — Wm. 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 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 ev’n to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Gather ye Rosebuds While Ye May – Herrick

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.
Colossians 3:12-16. 

You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against another, just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts.

I Love You This Much  (author unknown)

I Love You This Much

Enough to do anything for you, give my life, my love,
my heart and my soul to you and for you.

Enough to willingly give all of my time, efforts, thoughts, talents,
trust and prayers to you.

Enough to want to protect you, care for you, guide you, hold you,
comfort you, listen to you, and cry to you and with you.

Enough to be completely comfortable with you, act silly around you,
never have to hide anything from you, and be myself with you.

I love you enough to share all of my sentiments,
dreams, goals, fears, hopes, and worries, my entire life with you.

Enough to want the best for you, to wish for your successes,
and to hope for the fulfilment of all your endeavours.

Enough to keep my promises to you
and pledge my loyalty and faithfulness to you.

Enough to cherish your friendship,
adore your personality, respect
your values and see you for who you are.

I love you enough to fight for you,
compromise for you, and sacrifice myself for you if need be.

Enough to miss you incredibly when
we’re apart, no matter what length

Enough to believe in our relationship, to stand by it through the worst of times,
to have faith in our strength as a couple, and to never give up on us.

Enough to spend the rest of my life with you,
be there for you when you need or want me,
and never, ever want to leave you or live without you.

I love you this much.
I Promise ~ Dorothy R. Colgan

I promise to give you the best of myself and ask of you no more than I can give.

I promise to respect you as your own person and to realise that your interests,
desires and needs are no less important than my own.

I promise to share with you my time and attention and to bring you 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 in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside the only way I know how.

Completely and forever.
Solomon’s Song –  Chapter 8 verses 6 and 7
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemned.

“Blessing of the Hands”, revised by Rev. Daniel L. Harris

“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and as in today, tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”

COUNSEL TO COUPLE- “Foundations of Marriage” by Regina Hill
Love, trust, and forgiveness are the foundations of marriage. In marriage, many days will bring happiness, while other days may be sad. But together, two hearts can overcome everything. In marriage, all of the moments won’t be exciting or romantic, and sometimes worries and anxiety will be overwhelming. But together, two hearts that accept will find comfort together. Recollections of past joys, pains, and shared feelings will be the glue that holds everything together during even the worst and most insecure moments. Reaching out to each other as a friend, and becoming the confidant and companion that the other one needs, is the true magic and beauty of any two people together. It’s inspiring in each other a dream or a feeling, and having faith in each other and not giving up… even when all the odds say to quit. It’s allowing each other to be vulnerable, to be himself or herself, even when the opinions or thoughts aren’t in total agreement or exactly what you’d like them to be. It’s getting involved and showing interest in each other, really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be. Exactly three things need to be remembered in a marriage if it is to be a mutual bond of sharing, caring, and loving throughout life: love, trust, and forgiveness.

UNITY THROUGH LOVE~ © Rev. Ray Cross
One of the things I enjoy about weddings is the sense of unity they create among even diverse peoples due to the fact that weddings give honour to the universally treasured virtue of love – love that has the power to not only join individuals, but extended families as well.

What is more wonderful than the joining of a man and a woman who, because they  love each other, desire to become one for the rest of their lives! What can be more inspiring than to witness a man and woman publicly declaring undying love for each other? What is this love that would create such profound commitment? How does this love express itself? What does it look like? How can we recognize it?

World renowned composer Arthur Hammerstein speaks of love not as something we have and keep, but as something that must be shared, when he writes…

A bell is not a bell unless you ring it
A song is not a song unless you sing it.
Love in the heart is not there to stay.
Love is not love until you give it away.

Similarly, the book of I Corinthians, in the Bible, describes love in terms of the way we act…

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. … 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The Biblical book of Colossians, chapter 3, continuing in this vein states…

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord.

All who marry and desire a household filled with love and devotion know that these qualities in love are essential.

Is it any wonder a modern song writer penned that “Love makes the world go round”?